ESTA stands for the Electronic System for Travel Authorization: a joint, web-based program administered by Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security.
ESTA prescreens travelers who are planning short-term travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver program (trips of 90 days or less, for either business or tourism) to make sure they are not a security or law enforcement risk. It was implemented to meet American legislative requirements to boost the security of the VWP.
ESTA was implemented on August 1, 2008, and became mandatory for all travelers coming from Visa Waiver program countries on January 12, 2009.
You can apply for ESTA authorization on our website. Follow the instructions and answer the questions posed in our application form to make your application.
Information you will need to make an ESTA application includes your passport information; history of communicable disease; criminal history, if any; any other names in use or aliases; your history regarding visa admissions to the United States; parents' names; city of birth; national identification number, if any; contact information; and a credit card number.
If you receive an ESTA authorization, it means you qualify to travel under the Visa Waiver program, but it does not necessarily mean you will be admitted to the United States. Admission to the United States is based on inspection by a Customs and Border Protection officer once you disembark in the United States.
Citizens of Visa Waiver program countries planning to enter the United States by air or sea are eligible to use the ESTA program.
Travel must be on an approved carrier. Travelers must have a valid passport and a round-trip ticket, with their trip ending outside the United States, to be eligible for ESTA. Each traveler must apply, including minor children under 18, and all eligibility conditions of the Visa Waiver program (such as ensuring your passport will not expire within six months of your planned return date from the United States) must be met.
The Visa Waiver program (and through it, the ESTA program) is available to citizens of Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.
|...I am also a lawful permanent resident of the United States?||No|
|...I am also a dual citizen with US citizenship?||No - citizens must use their American passport when entering the United States.|
|...I am also a landed immigrant of Canada, and traveling to the United States by land?||No|
|...I am also a landed immigrant of Canada, and traveling to the United States by sea or air?||Yes|
|...I am also a lawful permanent resident of the United States?||If you are flying under your VWP passport and using the VWP, yes. If you are traveling under your non-VWP passport and a visa, you are not eligible for the ESTA.|
|...I have a valid visa at the time of travel?||No|
|...I am traveling to the United States by land via Canada or Mexico, under a green I-94 card?||No|
|...I am traveling to the United States by sea or air via Canada or Mexico?||Yes|
|...I am transiting through the United States only, and not staying there?||Yes
|...I am a minor under the age of 18 traveling under the VWP?||Yes|
|...I am traveling for a short-term stay to the U.S. Virgin Islands or Puerto Rico?||Yes|
As soon as you decide to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, it's prudent to apply for your ESTA authorization, but one can apply up to 72 hours before your date of travel. You do not need to have committed to travel information or accommodations before applying.
There's no penalty if you apply early and your ESTA expires while you are still in the United States: You can still depart for your country of origin as planned.
Most of the time, the results of your ESTA application will be available almost instantly (inside a minute). However, you will need to check the status of your application in your email inbox. We send the ESTA number through an email to our customers.
You can apply for another person, or have a third party submit an application on your behalf, but ultimately, the person traveling is responsible for the truthfulness and completeness of any information provided on the ESTA application.
Group applications are also easy to do: After submitting your application— simply fill out the application form again with the new details of the applicant. Just click the button that tells you to submit a new application on the 'Thank You Page'.
In case of errors, only certain information on your ESTA application can be corrected: your email address, your phone number, and your travel information. No passport-related information can be adjusted. This means that you have to be precise when filling out the application form.
An ESTA authorization is valid until your passport expires or for two years from the date when you are approved to travel (whichever date is earlier).
If your application is denied, you can still travel to the United States, but you will need to apply for a visa through a U.S. Embassy or Consulate to do so.
Your ESTA authorization permits you unlimited entries into the United States, provided it is still valid.
No; all current ESTA authorizations will remain valid, but the additional information will be requested when that current authorization expires.
Before embarking on travel to the United States, it's important to print out your ESTA number received in a PDF and carry it with you in transit. United States border officials will have the electronic record of your ESTA approval, but your airline or carrier may require the printout when you check in for your flight.
If your ESTA authorization expires and you wish to travel to the United States, you can renew it by submitting a new application any time. Unfortunately, ESTA authorizations do not have a renewal process at this time.
Otherwise, you should apply for a fresh ESTA authorization if you: