American officials have now told tourists to plan ahead when they're organising trips to the States, as applications for the ESTA visa are about to get much harder.

The Department of Homeland Security has issued a reminder to anyone planning a visit, warning potential visitors to; "Apply for ESTA no later than 72 hours before departing for the United States."

The ESTA visa grants you access to enter the USA, but now the process is totally changing, maybe not for the better…

It was, until recently, possible to apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) until basically the last second, with real-time approvals achievable.

Now, you will need to apply for a visa at least 72 hours before you travel in order to gain the documentation in time. The old service is no longer available.

Without an ESTA visa, you cannot gain entry into the United States;

“Real-time approvals will no longer be available and arriving at the airport without a previously approved ESTA will likely result in being denied boarding.”

Just as the Christmas travel rush has started, holidaymakers and business travellers will have to change the way they visit the USA.

US authorities have always advised applicants to carry out the documentation at least three days in advance, most people could get their ESTA almost instantly.

The DHS also warn: “Upon arrival in the United States you will be inspected by a Customs and Border Protection officer at a port of entry who may determine that you are inadmissible.”

The DHS recently added a query regarding the applicant's social media activities to the form, but it's optional.

“If an applicant does not answer the question or simply does not hold a social media account, the ESTA application can still be submitted without a negative interpretation or inference.” 

Stronger security measures are expected over Christmas and the New Year, when 41 million passengers are expected to travel through American checkpoints nationwide.

Take note, globetrotters.