FAQ United States Travel Visa
What exactly is the ESTA?
ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization. It is an online automated application system which determines whether a citizen from a Visa Waiver Country is allowed to travel to the United States and apply for admission to enter. ESTA is only related to traveling, it is not a visa requirement. You do not have to go in person to a U.S. embassy or consulate.
I've already submitted my application for a Travel Authorization, but I made a mistake. How can I fix it?
We do not have access to ESTA applications already submitted to the U.S. government. We cannot help update incorrect passport numbers, misspelled names, wrong birth dates, retrieve any missed ESTA Application Numbers, or confirm any applications already submitted.
I have a passport from a Visa Waiver country. Do I need to apply for ESTA?
It depends. You are required to apply for ESTA if you intend to enter the United States by air or sea, under the Visa Waiver Program. However, ESTA is not required if you are entering by land. If you plan on staying in the United States for more than 90 days or have been previously denied entry into the country, you must apply for U.S. visa. There are several other reasons why you might not be eligible to enter the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program.
Do I need to have any specific plans before I apply for a Travel Authorization?
No. You can apply for ESTA anytime as long as your passport is machine readable and you hold citizenship from a Visa Waiver country.
What happens if I do not get an approval for the Travel Authorization?
According to recent statistics published by the Department of Homeland Security, over 99% of all ESTA applicants are approved within 5 seconds. However, if you application is denied, will be required to apply for a United States visitor visa, such as a B-2 Tourist Visa.
What happens if I need to update my Travel Authorization after I am approved?
You will be able to change any itinerary on a current Travel Authorization. ESTA is designed so that you can update a valid Travel Authorization. It is not necessary to have a flight booking or hotel reservation to initially apply for a Travel Authorization.
Why is ESTA required?
Section 217(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) requires DHS (Department of Homeland Security) to enhance the current Visa Waiver Program security features. ESTA is one of several measures taken to fulfill the security requirement.
Is an ESTA Travel Authorization the same as a Visa?
No. A Travel Authorization is only necessary for a visitor traveling on the Visa Waiver Program. ESTA is only a travel requirement. A U.S. visitor visa must be obtained in advance by individuals not eligible to enter on the Visa Waiver Program. If you already hold a valid U.S. visitor visa, you should not apply for ESTA.
How far in advance is it recommended to obtain an ESTA?
You should at least allow yourself 72 hours (3 days). However, if you are planning to visit the U.S. it is recommend to apply as early as possible. If your Travel Authorization is denied you will have to apply for a visitor visa at a US embassy or consulate. Sometimes, appointment slots are difficult to attain, and may take weeks.
Can I re-apply for a Travel Authorization if I was not approved the first time?
Yes, but you must wait at least 10 days and your circumstances must have changed. Note that applying for a Travel Authorization with false information will make you permanently barred from ever visiting the United States. A US embassy or consulate cannot help you to get an approved Travel Authorization.
I have a valid B-1/B-2 visitor visa. Do I need a Travel Authorization?
No. As long as your visa is valid you do not need a Travel Authorization.
Do I still have to complete Form I-94W, the green form?
Yes. Until ESTA is fully implemented travelers to the U.S. must still complete Form I-94W. A Travel Authorization (ESTA) is applied for in advance while Form I-94W is completed on the airplane or at the U.S. port of entry.
How long does it take to process ESTA application?
Process the permit application and review the information immediately from our professional staff to submit an application ESTA. In most instances, esta-gov.org provides our customers with application results within two business day from the submission.