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Visa for Denver, Colorado USA

Updated: Aug 25, 2023  | Tags: ESTA, USA Visa

Information on visiting Denver and applying for an ESTA or visa.

Denver, the capital of Colorado, offers a unique blend of urban sophistication and outdoor adventure. Known as the "Mile-High City" due to its elevation of 5,280 feet above sea level, Denver is a perfect destination for tourists looking to explore both nature and culture. Before you can relish the Rocky Mountains or dive into Denver's bustling art scene, you'll need to navigate the legal prerequisites for entering the United States. Here, we'll discuss how to apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) or a visa and also touch upon Denver's main tourist attractions.

ESTA or Visa: What Do You Need?

Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)

If you're a citizen of one of the 41 Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries, including most of Western Europe, Australia, and Japan, you're in luck. Instead of going through the complex Visa process, you can apply for an ESTA. This simplified system allows you to visit the United States for tourism or business purposes for up to 90 days without a Visa.

How to apply for an ESTA

  1. Eligibility Check: Before you apply, make sure you meet the ESTA requirements. This includes having a passport from a VWP country that is valid for at least six months from your planned departure date.
  2. Online Application: Complete the online application form. The application will ask for personal information, passport details, and travel plans.
  3. Application Fee: You'll need to pay the government fee using a credit card, debit card or PayPal.
  4. Wait for Authorization: You will usually receive a response within minutes, although the recommendation is to apply at least 72 hours before travel.
  5. Final Checks: Once authorized, your ESTA will be automatically linked to your passport. Remember that an ESTA doesn't guarantee entry; final approval is at the discretion of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.

Tourist Visa

If you're not from a VWP country, you'll need to apply for a B-2 tourist visa.

How to apply for a Visa

  1. Form DS-160: Complete the Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application form, DS-160.
  2. Pay Visa Fees: There's a non-refundable fee of $185, which is paid before you can schedule the embassy interview.
  3. Schedule Interviews: You'll need to book and attend a visa interview at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
  4. Attend the Interview: Bring all required documents, including your DS-160 confirmation, a passport photo, and financial proof demonstrating you can support yourself during your stay.
  5. Wait for Processing: Visa processing times can vary greatly, so it's best to apply well in advance of your intended travel date.

What's the difference between ESTA and visa?

The most noticeable difference between ESTA and visa is that the application process for a visa is much more stringent and expensive, requiring an in-person interview at a U.S. consulate or embassy. On the other hand, if you're a citizen of any country which is a part of the U.S. visa waiver program you can avoid all this hassle by applying for ESTA instead. An ESTA is then valid for two years and can be used for multiple trips, allowing you to stay in the U.S. for a total of ninety days. If you wish to visit the U.S. for more than ninety days you'll need to apply for a visa instead, even if you're a citizen of a country in the Visa Waiver Program. ESTA applications are normally processed automatically so you should receive your ESTA immediately, however if your application is unsuccessful you'll need to get a visa for Denver. It's recommended that you should enter your ESTA application at least three days before you plan to travel. If you've forgotten to get an ESTA it can be possible to apply for one at the airport, but it's advisable to apply in advance since if your application is denied you won't be able to get a visa for Denver at such short notice.

Denver's Main Tourist Attractions

Once you've sorted out your entry requirements, you can look forward to exploring Denver's myriad attractions.

Nature and Adventure

  1. Rocky Mountain National Park: About 1.5 hours from Denver, this national park offers hiking, camping, and stunning vistas.
  2. Red Rocks Park and Amphitheatre: Famous for its natural acoustics, this is a concert venue like no other, set between 400-foot high red rock formations.

Cultural Attractions

  1. Denver Art Museum: One of the largest art museums in the West, it offers an impressive collection of American Indian Art and over 70,000 diverse artifacts from around the world.
  2. Downtown Aquarium: A perfect family-friendly venue, this aquarium offers an interactive approach to marine life, featuring over 500 species.

Nightlife and Dining

  1. 16th Street Mall: A bustling mile-long pedestrian thoroughfare, offering a range of shopping, restaurants, and entertainment options.
  2. Denver Beer Trail: The city is famous for its craft beer culture. You can take a self-guided tour through some of Denver's best breweries.

Historic Spots

  1. Union Station: A hub for the city's public transportation, it's also a beautiful historic building offering dining and shopping.
  2. Molly Brown House Museum: This Victorian house, once the home of Titanic survivor Margaret "Molly" Brown, offers a glimpse into the life of one of Denver's most colorful residents.


By tackling the travel authorization prerequisites and planning your itinerary, you'll be well-prepared to make the most of your Denver experience, seamlessly blending urban and natural adventures. Whether you're there to hike the Rockies or indulge in the city's art scene, Denver is a destination that promises not to disappoint.