The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) has been introduced via the Internet for citizens and eligible nationals of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries to apply for advance authorization to travel to the United States under the VWP.
What is ESTA?
ESTA is the ‘Electronic System for Travel Authorization’ issued by the US Department of Homeland Security, which allows citizens of certain countries to travel under the Visa Waiver Programme.
It is mandatory for all guests visiting the US under the Visa Waiver Programme to apply in advance for travel authorization from the US Customs and Border Protection's Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
How to apply for an ESTA?
Log on to the ESTA web site and complete an online application. Travelers are encouraged to apply early. The web-based system will prompt you to answer basic biographical and eligibility questions typically requested on a paper I-94W form.
Please ensure that you submit accurate data into the on-line application system at the time of seeking ESTA approval and avoid typo errors. Any incorrect data would cause result in an invalid ESTA approval that may inhibit your travel.
Applications may be submitted, at the latest, 72 hours prior to travel. In most cases, you will receive a response within seconds:
- Authorization Approved: Travel authorized
- Travel Not Authorized: Traveller must obtain a non-immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate before traveling to the U.S.
- Authorization Pending: Traveller will need to check the ESTA website for updates within 72 hours to receive a final response.
Tips for successfully acquiring an ESTA
Based on errors that are commonly made by ESTA applicants, we’ve put together some tips to help you through the process.
- Your passport citizenship and country of issue must be the same as each other.
- Remember to enter zeros and the letter ‘O’ correctly as all numbers and letters must match absolutely.
- If you originally applied for an ESTA some time ago, and have since changed your passport, you will need to apply for a new ESTA.
- If you have more than one passport, you need an ESTA for the passport you use to travel to the U.S.
What do I do once I’ve applied for an ESTA?
- You will be given a reference number confirming your application, which you should keep for your own reference.
- You will not be asked to provide this to us, it is automatically verified when you check in.
Click here for FAQ's on ESTA.