What kind of information is needed to complete the ESTA application?
You should have all of the below information ready when starting the ESTA application:
- Full name and date of birth
- Passport information (passport number, country of issue, expiry date)
- Credit card information (card number, expiry date, CVV)
Do I ever need to re-apply for a travel authorization?
You may consider submitting a new application if any of this is true in your situation:
- My passport has expired, and I have received a new passport
- I have changed my legal name
- I have changed my legal gender
- I have changed my citizenship
- My life circumstances have changed in a way that would make any of your previous ‘yes’ or ‘no’ responses to ESTA questions no longer applicable
- Your previous ESTA authorization expires, either because your passport has expired or because two years have elapsed since your authorization was granted
What is a travel authorization for the United States?
The United States developed an electronic travel authorization system for its Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The ESTA system ensures that visa-free travel is more secure and allows nationals of countries that participate in the VWP to obtain their travel authorization online.
Who may apply for ESTA?
If you plan to visit the United States as part of the VWP by air or by sea, you may apply for a travel authorization. All travelers who have not secured a visa (infants included) should obtain an authorization before traveling to the United States. You may apply by utilizing a third party on any traveler’s behalf to obtain the ESTA.
Is a Visa and the ESTA the same thing?
The ESTA authorization is not a visa. It is a pre-clearance to travel under the VWP, which is designed to allow travelers to bypass the time-consuming visa process. The ESTA authorization is not equivalent to a United States visa by any means, and cannot be substituted for a visa in situations where a visa for travel is required. You do not need an ESTA if you already possess a valid visa.
Can I apply for an ESTA without access to the Internet?
ESTA is an online system, and Internet access is needed. However, travelers without Internet access can engage a third party (a service agent, travel agent, relative, or friend) to submit their ESTA application on their behalf. No matter the case, you are still the legally responsible party for any answers submitted on your behalf
What is the ESTA application process to obtain a US travel authorization?
Step 1 is to complete an ESTA application.
Go to the ESTA website and fill out the application provided with the required information: The list above as well as your current travel arrangements, your credit card information, and all the security questions. An application must be submitted for all members of your party who do not have a visa. This includes minors.
Make payment for the ESTA Application Fee.
Make a payment for utilizing our review and processing services of $89.00 USD. The cost includes the mandatory US government fee of $4.00 USD processing fee (that is outlined in the Travel Promotion Act, 2009), and $10.00 USD if your application goes through successfully and is approved.
Receive your ESTA by e-mail.
You will normally receive your ESTA travel authorization within a few hours. However, the reviewing, and the processing of an application may take longer. In this case, you can expect your travel authorization emailed to you within at least 72 hours.
You can only receive one of three total application statuses:
- Approved. The system will provide a printable PDF document of your approval and a receipt for your payment card records, and you are authorized to travel under the Visa Waiver Program. However, an ESTA authorization does not guarantee admission to the U.S. A Customs and Border Protection officer will inspect you before entering the U.S., who will determine your eligibility to enter the United States.
- Not Authorized. In this case, you have not been authorized to utilize the Visa Waiver Program to travel to the United States. This is not a denial of entry into the United States, or that you cannot travel to the U.S., but simply that you are not eligible for the Visa Waiver Program. You may visit the U.S. Embassy to discuss how to obtain a visa.
- Pending. If your status is “Pending”, it means that an immediate determination cannot be made by the system, and your travel authorization is under further review. In this case, you will receive the necessary information to check your application status after 72 hours.
Do I have to bring a paper printout of my travel authorization to the airport?
You are not required to bring a paper printout of your ESTA status with you on your trip. The DHS will have an electronic record of your authorization. However, it is recommended that you have your printout available if any questions should arise during your trip.