The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) was introduced in 2009 as part of the Visa Waiver Program. It is used to determine the admissibility of travellers from certain visa-exempt countries to the U.S. The ESTA is not a visa; it is an automated system that once approved is electronically linked to your passport.
While the ESTA allows you to travel to the U.S., it does not guarantee entry to the U.S.; entry into the U.S. is determined by the Customs and Border Protection.
An approved ESTA allows visitors to travel to the U.S. via air or sea for the purpose of tourism, business or transit.
An approved ESTA is valid for two years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. It allows for multiple travels to the U.S., and stays for up to 90 days at a time. Travellers are advised to allow a reasonable to time between trips to avoid suspicion that they intend to live in the U.S.
You do not need to re-apply for re-entry as long as your ESTA is valid.
Citizens, including non-ticketed infants, from one of the following countries included in the Visa Waiver program require an ESTA:
NorwayPortugalSan MarinoSingaporeSlovakiaSloveniaSouth KoreaSpainSwedenSwitzerlandTaiwanUnited Kingdom
To apply for an ESTA, simply click on the Apply NOW button and complete the application by providing all requested information. It is advisable to have your passport available when completing your application.
You may apply as an individual or as a group by clicking on the Add Application button. Upon completion you must review your information for all applicants to ensure accuracy then make your payment. Once payment is made your application will be automatically submitted to the U.S. government as is for processing. A final decision will be rendered by the U.S. government.
An ESTA is valid for two (2) years once issued, or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.
If your ESTA was revoked, it is no longer valid.
No, you do not need to print your ESTA confirmation letter as proof of a valid ESTA.
If you wish to have a copy of your personal records, you may print and retain a copy.
If you a citizen from an eligible countries under the Visa Waiver Program, an ESTA is required if you plan to enter the U.S via air or cruise ship.
If you plan to enter the U.S via land vehicle, you do not need an ESTA. However you may need to complete the necessary paperwork at the border crossing in order to enter the U.S.
If you plan to enter the U.S via ferry from either Vancouver or Victoria, BC, Canada, you do not need an ESTA.
If you are entering the U.S. via a private ship or boat, you do not need an ESTA but you will need to ensure that you have the correct visa prior to arriving.
If you have one of the following medical conditions, you should answer Yes on the application:
- Tuberculosis, infectious
- Yellow Fever
- Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers, including Ebola, Lassa, Marburg, Crimean-Congo
- Severe acute respiratory illnesses
- Syphilis, infectious
If you have a communicable disease, CBP will determine if you pose a threat to the welfare of others and if you are admissible to the U.S.
If your application was denied, you may try reapplying if your circumstance has changed. DO NOT enter false information in hopes of qualifying as this may result in you being deemed permanently inadmissible under the Visa Waiver program.
If the results of your ESTA application is Travel Not Authorized, this may not mean that you are inadmissible to the U.S. Instead you may need to apply for a non-immigrant visa, e.g. tourist or business visitor visa.
If you need to travel immediately, you will need to contact your nearest embassy or consulate.