The ESTA is an automated system used to establish rights to travel authorization to the U.S. within the Visa Waiver Program.
In order to travel to the U.S. without a visa, a VWP citizen has to receive an approval from the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, hereinafter – ESTA.
In order to apply for the ESTA approval, you have to fill-in and submit an application on a web-site offering such a service. Then you have to follow instructions to answer all the necessary questions.
Each traveller to the United States for business or tourism have to receive an electronic travel authorization in the ESTA system prior to departure.
Children also, regardless their age, have to receive a separate ESTA approval.
Children, regardless their age, have to receive a separate ESTA approval.
Each traveller has to provide biography data in English, including name, surname, birth date and passport date, and in case the travel information is already known, then also flight number and destination address in the U.S. He/she also has to reply to questions regarding rights to travel within the VWP, regarding infectious diseases, arrests and conviction on particular crimes, as well as on previous history regarding possible previously rejected U.S. visa or deportation, and other questions.
You can travel to the U.S. within the Visa Waiver Program only for business and tourism purposes. In case you travel to the U.S. for another purpose, for example, to study or work, then you have to turn to the U.S. Embassy and request a visa.
The application for the ESTA can be submitted at any time before the travel to the U.S., but it is advised to do so not later than 72 hours before departure. Unless it is cancelled, the travel authorization is valid for two years from the approval date or until the expiry date of the traveller’s passport, if it is in less than two years. Should after the ESTA approval changes occur to the destination address or route of the applicant, then this information has to be renewed on the ESTA system web-page. Considering that the ESTA application may also be declined, it is advised to plan the travel in due time, several weeks before the planned trip, foreseeing also additional time for receipt of the U.S. visa, in case it becomes necessary.
Traveling to the U.S. with the VWP is open to citizens of Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Malta, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom.
The ESTA is requested and received electronically. You don’t have to submit a visa request in a U.S. embassy*
*in case your ESTA application is denied and you are willing to travel to the U.S., you can turn to the U.S. embassy with a visa application.
Similarly as a valid U.S. visa, also a received ESTA approval does not fully guarantee that a person can enter the U.S. In any case entry into the U.S. is decided by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Service (CBPS) officials at the U.S. border control points.
Before application to the ESTA, it is not necessary to know the precise time of travel to the U.S. An approved ESTA is valid for two years or until the expiry of the applicant’s biometric passport, whichever occurs first.
As soon as the traveller has successfully filled in the ESTA application and submitted it to the system, the application is verified in the databases. In most cases a response is given within 4 to 24 hours.
There are three possible responses to the application in the ESTA system: “Authorization Approved”, “Authorization Pending” and “Travel Not Authorised”.
The applicants receiving an approval are entitled to travel to the U.S. within the VWP.
The applicants receiving an “Authorization Pending” response, have to wait additional response within 72 hours to receive the final response.
The applicants receiving response “Travel Not Authorised”, may turn to the U.S. Embassy with a visa application.
Yes, ESTA application, regardless the selected program language, has to be filled in in English, the same as the paper form I-94W has to be filled in in English (Nonimmigrant Visa Waiver Arrival/Departure Form) before entering the U.S..
Yes, in specific cases a new ESTA authorization has to be received. Usually the ESTA is valid for repeated use until it expires. Each time before entry into the U.S. you will have to renew information on the destination address and route.
However, in case of passport change, expiry or name and/or surname change, the ESTA application has to be submitted anew. In this case an ESTA fee will have to be paid again.
If the traveller receives a new biometric passport, he/she has to apply for a new ESTA.
You can stay in the United States without a visa for 90 days.
in case your ESTA application is denied you can turn to the U.S. embassy with a visa application.
Yes, ESTA approval is required also in case an individual is only transiting the United States.
Yes, an ESTA approval is needed also in case the U.S. border will be crossed by land, arriving from Canada or Mexico.