Official disclaimer: ESTA.UK is privately owned and operated. This is an information website with outgoing links to a privately owned third-party website that offer ESTA assistance for an added fee. All visitors may apply for ESTA directly using the US government website without assistance.
The ESTA application that grants travel authorisation to the USA is easy and can be done within ten minutes, as well as it does not require you to visit the American Embassy or Consulate. It is also possible to apply for multiple travel authorisations with the online application if you are travelling with your spouse/husband and children. All members of the family will need to fill out and submit their own ESTA application. It is important to remember that by obtaining a travel authorisation does not automatically allow you to enter the US – as the final decision will be made by a border control officer. You can apply for ESTA by clicking the green button.
Not looking for ESTA, but a travel visa? Acquiring a US visa depends on what you are going to do in the USA. Do you want to live permanently in the US? Or are you just travelling as a tourist, or visiting your friends or family? There are different types of USA visa available, for example tourist visa, business visa, student visa, work visa and so on. The different US visa vary in requirements and approaches in acquiring them. The electronic travel authorisation is different than other USA visa that the United States offer because it can be applied for online. In all correctness – ESTA is not the same a Visa.
The online application only accepts payment online. The U.S. Government has a mandatory fee for all applications which is $14 USD. There are private companies that specialize in processing ESTA applications that will in some cases charge an extra fee for their service. The ESTA cost is a charge for receiving permission to attempt to enter The United States of America. Once you have obtained an approved travel authorisation, it is valid for two years if your passport does not expire or if you do not have any legal changes made to your passport. You can check your ESTA validity here and verify that everything is up-to-date. We recommend that you do not take any chances if you are unsure. As you might not be able to board the plane or cruise ship you plan to travel with.
An ESTA renewal (or extension) is needed if your passport or previous travel authorisation has expired. Other reasons for renewing may relate to any legal changes in your passport. Examples of changes that result in a need of renewal a travel authorisation are legal changes to name, citizenship or gender. By renewing your travel authorisation, you make obsolete your previous one if it has not expired. The same documents you prepared the last time you applied are needed for this application.
In some cases you might want to check or update your travel authorisation. There are only two parts of information that can be updated: Email address and your accommodation in the United States. In other cases, you might have lost your ESTA number or need to check if it is still valid. It is not possible to do an ESTA update if you are in transit. It is recommended to always keep your travel authorisation as up-to-date as possible before travelling.
An ESTA is required not merely to visit the United States, but also if you are transiting through United States ports or airports to another destination. Transit through the United States is common, but not required, when travelling to Canada, Mexico, or selected destinations in the Caribbean or South America.
Any traveller from a Visa Waiver Program country planning transit through the United States should initiate an ESTA application process early in their travel plans, as arrival at an American port without a valid authorisation could result in being barred from travel under the Visa Waiver Program. If your travel plans include transit through the United States with a final destination in a separate country, ensure you answer correctly to the ESTA application question: "Is your travel to the U.S. occurring in transit to another country?" As always, a travel authorisation does not guarantee entry or transit through the United States of America.
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) has made it easier for people to travel to the United States. Every year, the US Visa Waiver Program contributes to a very large part of the United States’ tourism. The program allows citizens of participating countries to travel to the USA without a visa for a maximum of 90 days. Prior to travelling to the US, travellers must be a citizen of a VWP country and have a valid ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). The United Kingdom is part of the US Visa Waiver Program. If you are a citizen of the United Kingdom, you are eligible for travel to the US with an electronic travel authorisation. If you are arriving in the U.S. by air or sea, you must have an approved travel authorisation. You may also need a round trip ticket, indicating travel back to your country or further travel outside the US.
In 1986, the US Congress passed legislation to implement the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), with the goal of enabling tourism and short-term business visits to the United States. The United Kingdom was the first country to join the Visa Waiver Program in July 1988. In 2006, the US Government introduced their plans for an “Electronic Travel Authorization” for VWP countries. It was developed so that VWP travellers could inform the United States about their upcoming trip to the US, and in return receive a travel authorisation for entry. However, the travel authorisation does not guarantee entry to the USA, but rather give persons from VWP countries a chance to enter. It is the immigration officer when you arrive that decides if you can enter or not. The travel authorisation is officially named “Electronic System for Travel Authorization” and often referred to as its shortened version: ESTA.