News report | | 02-09-2020 | ±4 minutes reading time

2020 is the year of the presidential elections in the United States. On 3 November, the country will vote on whether the current president Donald Trump will remain in charge, or whether Democratic nominee Joe Biden will take over the most influential position in the world. One sector for which the consequences of the elections will be great is tourism, and by extension, visas.

US visas

The United States has perhaps the most comprehensive visa system in the world. The North American country has more than 185 different types of visas. These can roughly be divided into two types: immigrant visas and non-immigrant visas. The first type concerns visas for people who want to stay in the US for a longer period of time or who want to emigrate to the country permanently. The visas for non-immigrants are, as the name suggests, visas for travellers wishing to go to the USA temporarily. These may be for tourism or business travel, and everything in between. It is therefore not surprising that each year, a great deal of attention is paid to the announcements of changes to the US visa system. After all, millions of travellers from all over the world travel to the country each year.

The presidency of Donald Trump

During his presidential campaign in 2016, Donald Trump had already promised to crack down on immigration. With the slogan “America First”, Trump promised that he would prioritise domestic issues before even looking at foreign issues. And Trump has kept his promise in various ways. Firstly, there was the controversial decision to introduce a travel ban on travellers from a number of Islamic countries. Other countries have also suffered as a result of Trumpʼs strict policy. For example, the number of travellers from Nigeria to the USA fell by no less than 21% as a result of President Trumpʼs new rules.

Democrats or Republicans

Now, the whole world is looking forward to the upcoming presidential elections. After four years, countries know what to expect in terms of visas and immigration if Trump and his Republican Party remain in power. It is likely that the countries for which Trumpʼs policies had a negative influence are hoping that the Democratic Party will win the elections. Compared to Trump and the Republicans, the Democrats are more open when it comes to immigration. Prominent Democratic Party members have often criticised what they believe is Trumpʼs “inhumane” treatment of migrants.

UK and EU travellers: what will change?

The USA is a popular travel destination for UK and EU travellers. Whether it concerns tourism or business travel, numerous trips from the UK and EU to the USA are made each year. In theory, Uk and EU citizens need not worry too much about the results of the American elections in 2020. After all, travellers from these countries do not need a visa to travel to the USA. Both the UK and Ireland fall under the so-called “Visa Waiver Program”. This is a special programme for countries with which the United States has close ties.

Travellers from these countries do not need a visa to travel to the US. Instead, they can use an ESTA for a flight to the US. The abbreviation ESTA stands for Electronic Travel Authorization. It is a digital travel authorisation to travel to the US, similar to a visa. Compared to a visa, however, applying for an ESTA is a lot easier and, more importantly, a lot cheaper. All that is needed is to fill in the online ESTA form, which can be done in a matter of minutes. The ESTA confirmation is sent to the traveller by e-mail after approval, often on the same day. However, it does not have to be printed out. Once the ESTA has been issued, the traveller is registered in the digital databases of the US immigration service. Simply by presenting the passport, airlines can thus check whether a traveller is in possession of a valid travel authorisation.

ESTA Rules and Requirements

However, the ESTA is not an unconditional travel authorisation: like the visa, it has its own rules and conditions. It is important to read these criteria carefully before applying for the ESTA. Many travellers have run into problems because they did not read the ESTA requirements properly. For example, you are not eligible for an ESTA if you have been to a number of specific countries from 2011 onward, such as Iran or North Korea. The trip must also have a clear tourist or business purpose. In other words, it must be a holiday or business trip, or a transit. Under no circumstances can you enter into employment with an American employer. In addition, an ESTA allows a traveller to stay in the United States for a maximum of 90 days. For longer stays, a visa is required.

Please note: this news article about the ESTA for the USA is more than one year old. It might contain outdated information and advice, and no rights can therefore be derived from this article. Are you going on a trip soon and do you wish to do know what rules currently apply? Read all about the up-to-date information about the ESTA for the USA. is a commercial and professional visa agency, and supports travellers in obtaining, among others, the ESTA USA. acts as an intermediary and is in no way part of any government. You can also apply for an ESTA directly with the immigration service (21 USD per ESTA, via However, not with our level of support. If you submit your application via, our support centre is available to you 24/7. In addition, we manually check your application and all the documents you provide before submitting it to the immigration authorities on your behalf. If we suspect any errors or omissions while doing so, we will personally contact you to ensure that your application can still be processed quickly and correctly. To use our services, you pay us 21 USD in consular fees, which we pay to the immigration service on your behalf, as well as € 30,52 in service fees as compensation for our services, including VAT. Our services have saved many travellers from major problems during their trip. Should an application be rejected despite our support and verification, we will refund the full purchase price (unless an application for a previous ESTA USA was rejected for the same traveller). Read more about our services here.