ESTA FAQ - ESTA Questions Answered

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Travellers visiting the United States have questions about the Electronic System for Travel Authorization and the VWP, and we aim to answer them, and demystify the application process with our ESTA FAQ. Here are common ESTA questions and answers about the application.

Could a travel authorization (ESTA) be revoked?

Yes, a travel authorization can be revoked at any time after the approval is granted.

Could a travel authorization (ESTA) application be denied?

Yes, a travel authorization can be denied if you do not qualify for the Visa Waiver Program or other reasons. You will need to apply for a B-1 or B-2 tourist visa at a United States Embassy or Consulate.

Would I be approved for a new travel authorization if I was previously denied?

If a traveller has been denied a travel authorization and their circumstances have not changed, a new application will be denied as well.

Could a travel authorization be refused?

Yes, the ESTA system evaluates the eligibility of applicants. If you do not qualify for the Visa Waiver Program, your travel authorization will be refused.

Could a travel authorization permission be extended?

Travel authorizations cannot be extended but you can submit a new application.

Would it be possible to extend an ESTA?

No, ESTAs cannot be extended. You must reapply.

Do I need to get a new ESTA if I have a new passport?

An ESTA travel authorization is not transferable. If you obtain a new passport you will be required to apply for a new travel authorization.

Can I enter the United States more than once with the same ESTA?

Yes, your ESTA is valid for multiple travels for the validity period.

Can a travel authorization change status from approved to not authorized?

Yes, in certain cases, the CBP may change the status of your travel authorization. Travelers should check the status of their travel authorization before making reservation, and again before leaving for the airport.

Does the Visa Waiver Program check criminal records?

Extensive checks are done prior to your entry to the United States. Travel would not be granted if you do not pass the Electronic System for Travel Authorization.

Do I need an ESTA travel authorization for Business Travel?

Yes, an ESTA travel authorization allows visitors to travel to the United States for business purposes.

Can a travel authorization be reused?

Yes, you can reuse the travel authorization for the period that was granted, for multiple entries.

Is ESTA valid for multiple travels?

Yes, unless revoked, an ESTA is valid for multiple visits.

Could a travel authorization be cancelled?

Yes, a travel authorization can be cancelled at any time after the approval is granted. We recommend that all travelers check the ESTA status prior to any travel to the United States.

Can I pay my travel authorization with a debit card?

Yes, all major credit and debit cards are accepted. Switch and Solo cards are not accepted.

I submitted a travel authorization application. How long does it take for ESTA approval?

ESTA applications may take up to 72 hours to be approved. You should apply at the time of booking your trip and no later than 72 hours prior to departure.

Where can I find my ESTA application?

You can find your ESTA in your email or you can check the status here.

Where can I apply for a travel authorization?

In order to apply for a travel authorization, go to our homepage. The entire application process is carried out online.

Where can I find my travel authorization number?

A travel authorization number is shown in the upper left corner of you ESTA document.

I submitted a travel authorization application. Where can I find out if my ESTA is approved?

Once a travel authorization application has been successfully submitted online, travellers will receive an email within 72 hours (if they used a third-party website).

Where can I check the validity of my travel authorization?

To check your ESTA status, go here and follow the steps to verify the validity of your travel authorization.

What documents do I need if I want to apply for an ESTA travel authorization?

You will need an electronic passport with specified security features. Read more about ESTA requirements here.

What is the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)?

The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is an automated system used by the Department of Homeland Security to determine the eligibility of citizens or nationals under Visa Waiver Program to travel to the United States for tourism, business purposes for stays of 90 days or less or transit travel to another country without obtaining a visa.

What does ESTA approval mean?

Electronic System for Travel Authorization gives you permission to travel to United States of America without a visa, but it does not necessarily grant you entry into the country. The final decision regarding your entry will be made by a Customs and border Protection officer at the port of entry.

What website should I use to apply for a travel authorization?

You may use the official government website or a third-party service provider to apply for a travel authorization.

Which ESTA website to use If I’m from the UK?

You may use the official website or a third-party provider for processing assistance.

Which countries can visit United States using the Visa Waiver Program?

Citizens or nationals of the following countries are currently eligible to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program:

  • AndoraAndorra
  • AustraliaAustralia
  • AustriaAustria
  • BelgiumBelgium
  • BruneiBrunei
  • ChileChile
  • Czech RepublicCzech Republic
  • DenmarkDenmark
  • estoniaEstonia
  • FinlandFinland
  • FranceFrance
  • GermanyGermany
  • GreeceGreece
  • HungaryHungary
  • IcelandIceland
  • IrelandIreland
  • ItalyItaly
  • JapanJapan
  • LatviaLatvia
  • LichtensteinLichtenstein
  • LithuaniaLithuania
  • LuxembourgLuxembourg
  • MaltaMalta
  • MonacoMonaco
  • NetherlandsNetherlands
  • New ZelandNew Zeland
  • NorwayNorway
  • PortugalPortugal
  • San MarinoSan Marino
  • SingaporeSingapore
  • SlovakiaSlovakia
  • SloveniaSlovenia
  • South KoreaSouth Korea
  • SpainSpain
  • SwedenSweden
  • SwitzerlandSwitzerland
  • TaiwanTaiwan
  • United KingdomUnited Kingdom

Do I need to pay a fee to apply for an ESTA Travel Authorization?

Yes, the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) may cost $14-90 per application depending on which service you use (official website or a third-party provider).

How long does it take for an ESTA travel authorization to be approved?

An ESTA travel authorization processing request may take up 72 hours to be approved.

Is there a free ESTA?

No, you will be charged at least $14 for every successful application. The charge may be up to $90 if you use third-party provider.

What is a Visa Waiver country?

A Visa Waiver country is a country that have met all the requirements to be part of the Visa Waiver Program. Travelers with citizens from these countries can travel to United States without a visa.

Why would an ESTA travel authorization be in pending status?

Applicants who received Authorization Pending status should expect to wait until the DHS has finished reviewing the information provided on the form.

What should I do if my ESTA travel authorization runs out while in United States?

ESTA travel authorizations only needs to be valid on the date you entered the United States.

Will the ESTA travel authorization application be delivered by Email when approved?

If you used a third-party provider, you will most likely receive an Email with your ESTA application as soon as it gets approved. It is recommended to check the Spam folder of your Email.

Will Brexit affect ESTA travel authorizations?

Brexit will most likely not affect The UK’s participation in the Visa Waiver Program.

When do you need to show a printed copy of the ESTA application?

It is not required to present a printed copy of the approved ESTA application. However, it is recommended that you print a copy for your records.

Do I need a ESTA travel authorization if I am planning to go on a cruise?

You will need an ESTA travel authorization for your Cruise if you leave from or arrive at an American port or if you have a layover on an island that’s a protectorate of the United States.

How to complete a travel authorization form if I’m retired?

The ESTA application form includes the mandatory question: “Do you have a current or previous employer?” if you are retired, you may state “retired”.

What is a United States point of contact?

The address and point of contact are optional fields, if you do not have a U.S. point of contact, you may complete this question by answering “unknown.” If you have travel plans, you may enter the information of a person, your hotel or cruise ship.

Why is the United States asking for social media information in the ESTA application form?

The Department of Homeland Security ask about social media information as a part of an expanded effort to spot potential threats.

Is the application form available in different languages?

Yes, the application form can be completed and processed in different languages.

Do I have to use the “Upload your Passport” feature again if the image is not successfully uploaded?

No, you have the option to enter your passport information manually.

Is ESTA needed for transit?

Yes. If your trip includes transit through the United States, then an ESTA is needed for transit (for travellers with a passport from a VWP country).