VISA USA ONLINE - ESTA FOR PORTUGUESE PASSPORT HOLDERS
Portuguese passport holders who are planning to visit the United States may complete the Visa USA online application (ESTA). The ESTA system allows citizens of Portugal, which participate in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) to apply for Visa USA online. The VWP enables travelers to visit the U.S. for business or pleasure, as well as medical purposes and short-term study programs for up to 90 days. The ESTA is a travel authorization to enter the United States, and should not be confused with a regular travel visa. If you hold a Portuguese passport, you may apply for a travel authorization. However, if your application is not approved, you may have to apply for a B-1 or B-2 visa at the US Embassy in Lisbon.
The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) was introduced in 2008 and became mandatory in 2009, and is still a requirement for Portuguese nationals to this day. The processing of your application may take up to 72 hours. It is recommended to apply at least 72 hours before departure. Approved ESTA authorizations are valid for two years, and travelers are required to fly with a signatory carrier. TAP Air Portugal is a well-known Portuguese airline and is a signatory carrier.
Portugal joined the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) in 1999, as the only European country to join the program that year. Since 1999, it has become easier for Portuguese citizens to travel to the United States for business or pleasure. Between October 2013 and October 2014, 177,873 Portuguese nationals used the VWP to enter the United States.