ESTA is an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). ESTA became mandatory by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in January 12, 2009. All nationals or citizens of VWP countries who plan to travel to the United States for 90 days or less for temporary business or pleasure under the VWP will need to receive an electronic travel authorization prior to boarding a U.S.-bound airplane or cruise ship. For details on the visa waiver program, please see here.
If you are a national of one of the above countries who has traveled to Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen on or after March 1, 2011, or if you are a national of one of the above countries who is also a national of Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria, please click here for further information.
All Visa Waiver Program travelers must pay the $14 ESTA fees when applying for ESTA. The fees are collected when travelers apply for the ESTA online.
Note: VWP travelers should be aware that unauthorized third-parties have established Web sites, which charge additional fees for information about ESTA and for submitting ESTA applications to DHS on behalf of the traveler. These businesses and Web sites are not endorsed by, associated with, or affiliated in any way with DHS or the United States Government. Use of a private service to apply for travel authorization via ESTA will not expedite the granting of approval.
ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel, though it is recommended that travelers apply as soon as they begin preparing travel plans or prior to purchasing airline tickets. Once approved, authorizations are generally valid for multiple entries into the U.S. for up to two years or until the applicant’s passport expires whichever comes first. If you have acquired a new passport or have had a change in name, gender, or citizenship, or if the answers to any of the “yes or no” ESTA questions have changed, a new application must be submitted. Travelers with an approved ESTA do not need to pay the ESTA fees when updating non-critical information on an ESTA application. However, travelers with new passports and re-applying for an ESTA need to pay the ESTA fees.
Inquiries on ESTA
The Embassy is not able to check the status of an ESTA application or provide details about ESTA denials or resolve the issue caused by the ESTA denial. Travelers with general questions regarding the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, ESTA, can find answers to frequently asked questions on the Customs and Border Protection website at https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/list/kw/esta/. Travelers can also use this website to submit their own questions which will be answered by e-mail.
- DHS Announces Further Travel Restrictions for the Visa Waiver Program (February 18, 2016)
- United States Begins Implementation Of Changes To The Visa Waiver Program (January 21, 2016)
- News Release: DHS, CBP Announce Interim Final Rule For ESTA Fee (August 6, 2010)
- ESTA information on CBP.gov