US ESTA Requirements
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US ESTA Requirements

USA visa requirements can seem complicated for travellers. However, if you meet the ESTA visa requirements, our ESTA checking and application service can make the process simple.

An ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) is required for travellers from eligible countries entering the United States by sea or by air. This automated system determines in advance of travel whether someone will be eligible to travel to the United States under the VWP (Visa Waiver Program).

Since 12th January 2009, any traveller who is a citizen or national of an eligible country and attempting to travel to the United States under the US Visa Waiver Program must have an approved ESTA travel authorisation. It is important that you check whether you are eligible for an ESTA before you apply.

If you already have a valid visa you will still be able travel to the United States for the purpose for which that visa was issued. You do not need a US ESTA if you already have a valid USA visa.

The American ESTA is not a visa and you do not need to travel to a US embassy or consulate to acquire one. Our checking and application service can help you complete the whole process online, and you will receive confirmation by email.

Why do I need an ESTA?

The purpose of the USA ESTA is to allow the DHS (Department of Homeland Security) to check in advance whether travellers are eligible to enter the United States and determine whether any such travel poses any law enforcement or security risk. It began on 1st August 2008 to increase the security of the Visa Waiver Program.

Who is eligible for an ESTA Visa?

Travellers intending to travel to the United States under the VWP (Visa Waiver Program). The Visa Waiver Program, administered by the Department of Homeland Security, allows citizens and nationals of certain countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa. The Visa Waiver Program is intended for occasional, short visits to the United States.

If you intend to travel to the United States under the US Visa Waiver Program, you must apply in advance to determine your eligibility to travel to the United States. You must receive this authorisation in advance of boarding a plane or ship to travel to the United States. Our ESTA application checking service can help you with this process.

Which countries are part of the US VWP (Visa Waiver Program)?

The countries which are part of the US Visa Waiver Program are:

 

Andorra France Lithuania Slovakia
Australia Germany Luxembourg Slovenia
Austria Greece Monaco South Korea
Belgium Hungary Netherlands Spain
Brunei Iceland New Zealand Sweden
Chile Ireland Norway Switzerland
Czech Republic Italy Portugal Taiwan
Denmark Japan Republic of Malta United Kingdom
Estonia Latvia San Marino
Finland Liechtenstein Singapore

 

If you are a citizen or national of one of these countries, you may meet the ESTA requirements. Our checking and application service can help you apply.

Please note that although an ESTA qualifies you for travel and is a necessary part of the process for travel to the United States, it does not necessarily guarantee you entry. Once you disembark in the United States, you must pass through immigration where entry is at the discretion of a Customs and Border Protection officer.

Are children required to have an ESTA?

Yes, both accompanied and unaccompanied children travelling to or transiting through the United States, regardless of age, require an ESTA. Children must have their own passport in order to apply for an ESTA visa. Our checking and application service can be used by the whole family.

Do transit passengers require an ESTA?

Yes, transit passengers require an ESTA. The United States no longer has a Transit Without Visa program, and eligible travellers who are nationals or citizens of VWP countries planning to pass through the United States must apply for an ESTA. Our checking and application service can also help you if you are travelling through the United States in transit and meet the ESTA requirements.

When should I apply for an USA ESTA?

ESTA requirements states that you may apply for an ESTA any time in advance of travelling. You are not required to have all your travel arrangements booked and confirmed before you can apply for an ESTA, so you can apply as soon as you start planning your trip. In most cases if your application is submitted correctly and you meet the ESTA requirements, your eligibility to travel to the United States will be determined very quickly. However, we recommend that you apply for an ESTA at least 72 hours before you plan to travel.

How long is an ESTA valid for?

An ESTA is valid for up to two years. The expiry date will be given upon approval of the ESTA. You may use an ESTA for multiple visits to the United States during the period in which your ESTA is valid. However, please be aware that there is a limit of 90 days after passing through immigration on each visit. If you are planning to stay in the United States longer than 90 days, you may need a visa.

If within that two year period you acquire a new passport, you must apply for a new ESTA with the new passport. If your passport is valid for less than two years, your ESTA will be valid until the expiry date of your passport. If you change your name, gender, or country of citizenship during the two year validity period, a new ESTA will be required. You will also need to apply for a new ESTA if you experience a change to your legal or medical situation which affects your ESTA authorisation.

What information does the ESTA Require?

Our checking and application service can help you provide the correct information to apply for an ESTA. You will need to make sure you have key biographical data such as name, date of birth and the number of the passport you intend to travel on for the application.

Your passport must be valid for the entire duration of your proposed trip. Since 1st April 2016, you must have a passport with an integrated chip (an e-passport) to apply for an ESTA.

Mistakes on the ESTA application may require a new application to be submitted, which can delay your authorisation to travel to the United States. Our checking and application service helps you minimise the risk of errors on your application and makes the process quick and easy for travellers.

What language is the US ESTA application in?

The ESTA application form is in English and must be completed in English. Our checking and application service can help you complete the form correctly in the case of any language difficulties.

Do I need an American ESTA if I am travelling to the United States via Mexico or Canada?

If you are travelling by sea or air to enter the United States, you need a US ESTA regardless of where you are travelling from or via. This includes travelling from or via Mexico and Canada.

However, if you are travelling from Mexico or Canada by land (for example, driving), you do not need an ESTA visa before you arrive at the border. Always check USA visa requirements in advance of travel.

For more information on the requirements for the ESTA and US visas, visit our FAQ’s page where we try to answer all questions related to the US ESTA & Visa Waiver Program.