Applicants to ESTA should know the right time to fill the request form. If it is approved, their ESTA shall be issued for two years or until their passport expires. Therefore, if you are planning several short stays in the United States for a period of two years, it would be more appropriate to choose a date near to that of the first departure.
Is there a Limitation Period for Applying for an ESTA?
As with any administrative document, the Electronic System Travel Authorization for the USA is no exception to the rule and requires deadlines to respect. Thus, there are deadlines for completing the application before departure, but also deadlines for obtaining the ESTA. It is therefore better to know perfectly the regulations in force so that you can do it on time, not too late and not too early. It would be a regrettable to miss your departure to the land of Uncle Sam just because of a bad timing about the ESTA application.
Unlike traditional USA visa, this electronic travel authorization for the United Stated is generally granted in a fewer time. You may as well take the online application a fortnight before your departure or in the week before you leave. Nothing in the legal texts requires you to respect a lapse of time. You are free to apply when you want. However, it is necessary to know the delivery time to better anticipate the situation and avoid being caught unprepared. In a nutshell, the most important thing is to have your ESTA before boarding a flight to the United Stated.
ESTA Online Application: the Response Time
At worst, an ESTA is granted 72 hours after the submission of the filled form. In general, the approval is obtained within a few hours if you fulfill all the required conditions. Do not forget that your application is taken into account by US authorities once you validate your application form and pay the fee. It is also advisable to pay by credit card to reduce the processing time. A payment by check is possible but it will extend the duration of the processing.
If you are planning a single trip to the United States within the next two years, there is no rush and you can apply for your ESTA at any time. Prefer to do it some weeks before your departure to the USA just in case the application will be pending or denied for whatever reasons.