Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has announced implementation of the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), a new fully automated, electronic system for screening passengers before they begin travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).
ESTA screening became mandatory for VWP travelers on January 12, 2009.
ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel to the United States, and VWP travelers are encouraged to apply for authorization as soon as they begin to plan a trip to the United States.
To access and complete the ESTA registration, please visit the ESTA website at the following address: www.cbp.gov/esta
Please note that starting on September 8, 2010, travelers from Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries will be required to pay a fee of $14.00 when applying for an electronic travel authorization (ESTA- Electronic System for Travel Authorization).
All payments for electronic travel authorization applications must be made by credit card or debit card when applying for or renewing an ESTA at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov on or after September 8, 2010.
ESTA authorizations approved before September, 8, 2010 will be valid until their expiration date and can be updated in the meanwhile at no charge. With a new passport, instead, it is mandatory to ask for a new ESTA authorization and pay $ 14.
In most cases, ESTA will provide an almost immediate determination of eligibility for travel under the VWP:
- Authorization Approved: travel authorized
- Travel Not Authorized: Traveler must obtain a nonimmigrant visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate before traveling to the U.S.
- Authorization Pending: Traveler will need to check the ESTA website for updates within 72 hours to receive a final response.
An approved ESTA travel authorization is:
- Valid, unless revoked, for up to two years or until the traveler’s passport expires, whichever comes first;
- valid for multiple entries into the U.S. As future trips are planned, or if an applicant’s destination
- not a guarantee of admissibility to the United States at a port of entry. ESTA approval only authorizes a traveler to board a carrier for travel to the U.S. under the VWP. In all cases, CBP officers make admissibility determinations at our ports of entry.
Learn more about ESTA and other VWP changes on:
- the DHS Customs and Border Protection (CBP) ESTA webpages (in English)
- the State Department Visa Waiver Program webpages (in English)
Important note: If your passport has ever been reported lost or stolen to the authorities and then recovered, please do not attempt to use it for travel to the United States. If you input the passport details into ESTA, your application will be denied. Please consider replacing your passport, if applicable, or seek a visa.
After January12, 2009, VWP travelers who do not apply for and receive travel authorization via ESTA prior to travel may be denied boarding, experience delayed processing or be denied admission at a U.S. port of entry.
Visa Waiver Program Countries:
Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and The United Kingdom.