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Information about the ESTA
- What is an ESTA?
ESTA stands for "Electronic System for Travel Authorization". An ESTA is a travel authorisation that is required to fly or sail to the United States of America without a visa. An ESTA is easier, quicker and cheaper to obtain than a US visa.
In 1986, the American government established the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). This is a collaboration between the USA and 39 close allies. This includes the United Kingdom, Ireland and many other European countries. Citizens of these countries can travel to the USA without a visa. Starting 12 January 2009, however, they must possess a valid ESTA.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) introduced the ESTA in response to the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. Prior to its introduction, travellers from VWP countries without a visa were only screened upon arrival in the United States. By means of the ESTA application procedure, an important part of the screening now already takes place before departure.
By order of the DHS, every ESTA application is checked by US Customs & Border Protection (CBP). This involves comparing the data filled in on the application form with a large number of databases, including databases of (international) law violations, search warrants and the database of stolen and missing Interpol passports.
Does Customs & Border Protection find no reason to suspect that a traveller poses a risk? Then the ESTA application will be approved. Transportation companies, such as airlines and shipping companies, may only transport passengers with a valid ESTA or visa to American territory. They will therefore check before departure whether each traveller has a valid visa or ESTA. This check is made using the passport number.
A valid ESTA does not guarantee entry into American territory. An approval only means that the data entered in the application form did not ring any alarm bells. Upon arrival in the United States, a US Customs & Border Protection employee will once again make an assessment of the risks that a traveller may pose. If the employee suspects that the traveller may pose a risk, as described in the Immigration and Nationality Act § 212, the traveller will be expelled from the USA without needing to provide a reason.
- Do I need an ESTA or visa?
Are you travelling to the United States of America by airplane or by ship? Then you need an ESTA.
You also need to apply for an ESTA for:
• A transit in the USA; even if you will not be leaving the airport
• Children travelling along; they each need their own passport and their own ESTA
• A trip to Alaska, Hawai, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Marianas or the American Virgin Islands
Apply for an ESTA now
Flying or sailing to the USA without an ESTA is only possible if you have a passport that was issued by the United States or Canada or if you have a US visa which was issued for this purpose.
The American immigration service recommends that you only apply for a visa if you do not meet the requirements of the ESTA. Applying for an ESTA is cheaper, quicker and easier than applying for a US visa. To apply for a visa, an appointment must be made at the embassy, where fingerprints will be taken and an interview is conducted. Applying for an ESTA can be done entirely online with the digital application form. It takes about fifteen minutes to complete. If you opt for an urgent delivery, your ESTA will usually be granted within one hour.
Are you travelling to the USA by land from Canada or Mexico? Then it is not mandatory to apply for an ESTA. However, an ESTA allows you to skip an extensive check-up and you no longer need to fill in forms at the border post.
- How long is an ESTA valid for?
An ESTA is valid for a maximum of two years. This validity period starts as soon as the application has been approved. When the passport with which the ESTA has been applied for expires, the validity of the ESTA expires alongside it.
Maximum length of stay per trip
The fact that an ESTA is valid for two years does not mean that you can also stay in the USA for two years. Each stay in the United States of America may last up to 90 consecutive days. However, an ESTA allows you to travel to the USA an unlimited number of times. The ESTA only has to be valid upon arrival, not during the entire stay. Would you like to stay in the USA longer than 90 days? Then you can apply for a US visa. There are several US visas available.
Leaving the USA for a short time in between
Will you be briefly visiting another country in between two visits to the USA? Then a US Customs & Border Protection employee will decide upon your arrival if and how long you may stay in the USA. This prevents travellers from leaving the USA for a short period of time solely in order to extend the maximum length of stay.
Are you travelling from the United States to Canada, Mexico or a nearby island, and from there back to the United States? In that case, the maximum duration of stay in the USA will continue from the previous stay. The period you spend in Canada, Mexico or a nearby island will therefore be deducted from the maximum stay of 90 days in the United States. Nearby islands are: Anguilla, Antigua, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Barbuda, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curaçao, Dominica, Dominican Republic Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haïti, Jamaica, Marie-Galante, Martinique, Miquelon, Montserrat, Saba, Saint-Barthélemy, Sint Eustatius, Saint Christopher and Nevis St. Lucia, Sint Maarten/St Martin, Saint Pierre, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
To Guam or the Northern Marianas
Are you travelling with an ESTA to Guam or the Northern Mariana Islands? Then the maximum length of stay is not 90 days, but 45 days.
The validity of your ESTA can expire before two years
If you start using a new passport, move to another country, change your name or gender or can no longer answer all security questions at the bottom of the ESTA form with “”No”, the validity of the ESTA expires immediately.
For a further explanation of the above, read the page about the validity of the ESTA.
- What requirements do I have to meet?
To submit an ESTA application, you need a passport stating that you have the nationality of the United Kingdom, Ireland or one of these other countries. Do you have a Taiwanese passport? Then it must have a Personal Identification Number. Do you have a British passport? It cannot say British Subject, British Dependent Territories Citizen, British Overseas Citizen, British National (overseas) Citizen or British Protected Person.
You must take this passport with you when you travel and it must be valid throughout your stay in the United States. Your passport must also contain a chip. All normal passports have one, but emergency passports usually do not, and the German Kinderreisepass never does. Your (emergency) passport only has a chip if it contains the logo below, and can therefore be used to apply for an ESTA.
You can use an ESTA for business and tourist trips, to visit family or friends, to make a transfer or undergo medical treatment. You may also perform paid work during your stay in the United States, but only if you are doing so for an employer based outside the United States. This means you can also visit clients, suppliers, conferences and other gatherings.
An ESTA does not allow you to be employed by an American organisation. You also cannot start an organisation in the USA, take one over or invest in one. You also cannot travel as an artist, cabine personnel (airplane or ship), religious worker, journalist, media representative, government representative or treaty negotiator. You also cannot apply for a residence permit in the United States after arriving with an ESTA. Finally, you cannot attend an education or internship in the USA with an ESTA.
Your trip to the United States
When applying for an ESTA, you do not need to have booked anything yet. However, when checking in for your flight to the USA, you must already possess a booking confirmation of the onward or return flight. Are you travelling with a private airline or private boat? Then an ESTA does not suffice and you must apply for a visa.
You may not pose a risk to security
In order to apply for an ESTA, you must declare that you do not pose a risk to the safety and security in the USA. You do this by truthfully answering all security questions with “No” at the bottom of the ESTA form, and consenting to the statement of agreement. This is only possible if you meet the following criteria, both at the time of applying and during the entire trip:
• You do not have a physical or mental condition that is dangerous to your surroundings
• You have never committed a crime that resulted in serious property damage or injury
• You do not use drugs and you have never broken a drug-related law
• You are not a terrorist, spy or saboteur
• You have never violated a US visa-related law
• You have never been denied a US visa application (a rejected ESTA application is not a problem)
• You have never been denied entry to the United States or expelled from the country
• You have not been to Iraq, North Korea, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and/or Yemen after 1 March 2011
• You do not have the nationality of Iraq, North Korea, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and/or Yemen
I meet the requirements and want to apply for an ESTA
I do not meet the requirements and want to apply for a visa
For a further explanation on the above, read the page about the requirements of the ESTA USA.
- I have a criminal record or traffic fine, what now?
Travellers with a criminal record or traffic fine can in many cases apply for an ESTA as normal.
Start your application
Only if you have been convicted of a crime that led to serious material damage, serious injury to another person, or damage to a government facility, will it no longer be possible to apply for an ESTA. In order to still travel to the USA, you will need to apply for a U.S visa.
- I do not have a normal passport, what now?
Do you not have a passport? Then you cannot apply for an ESTA. First, apply for a passport at the designated facility. You can only apply for an ESTA after you have received your passport.
Are you unable to get a passport because you are an asylum seeker? If you are a refugee and only have a residence permit with which you can stay in the UK or other European countries, you cannot apply for an ESTA. You can, however, try to apply for an American visa.
Applying for an ESTA is only possible if you have a passport with a chip. This contains biometric data. If you do not have a normal passport, it might be possible that your passport does not have a chip. For example, the German Children Travel Pass does not have it. Likewise, emergency passports often also do not have a chip. Your passport only has a chip if it contains the symbol below, and can therefore be used to apply for an ESTA:
- Do I need to stop by somewhere for my application?
No, the application procedure for an ESTA happens entirely online. You can use the online application form for this. If you need any help with that, read the explanation about the ESTA form.
Open the ESTA form and submit an application
- Will the coronavirus impact my travel plans?
Starting 2020, there has also been an outbreak of Covid-19 in the United States. This may impact your travel plans to the USA. For up-to-date information, you can check the page about travelling with an ESTA during coronavirus times.
All you need to know about Covid-19 in the USA
Receive an email when you can travel again
The online application procedure
- How can I apply for an ESTA?
Applying for an ESTA USA is simple and does not need to take more than 15 minutes of your time. You only need to have your passport ready.
Open the application form for the ESTA
Fill in the form top to bottom. You are first asked for your contact information, followed by your travel plans, which do not need to be definitive. Finally, you are asked for your personal information. Here, you fill in your passport information and answer a few remaining questions. Further explanation can be found on the page regarding the ESTA form.
After filling in the application form, you can pay for the cost of the ESTA. This can be easily and safely done with Visa, MasterCard, American Express or PayPal.
The immigration service will now get to work on your application. If everything is in order, your application will be approved after about three days. If you submitted your ESTA application with urgency this often even happens within one hour. You will receive a text message and an e-mail. Once you receive this message, you can check-in at the counter or website of your airline. You do not need to print anything.
- Can I apply for an ESTA for someone else?
Yes, that is possible. However, you need to have been granted permission by this person. You also need to read out the application form for the ESTA to the concerning traveller after filling it in. He or she must then provide verbal confirmation that the filled in information is complete and correct. Are you submitting an application for an underage child? Then one of the parents must confirm to you that the filled in information is complete and correct.
You can also submit an application for multiple persons at once. This is done with the same ESTA form, by clicking the button “add a traveller” at the bottom. This comes with the benefit that you do not need to fill in all of the contact and travel information each time.
- Do I need to have already booked my flight ticket and overnight stay?
No, you do not need to have booked flight tickets. You also do not need to have established an accomodation, and no itinerary is required. You can already apply for an ESTA once you have decided to travel to the USA. This is because an ESTA is valid for two years, for an unlimited number of trips.
Submit your ESTA application here
In the application form for the ESTA USA, you are asked for an expected date of arrival. This can be an estimate. It does not matter how much the actual date of arrival deviates from this, as long as it falls within the validity term of the ESTA. In the ESTA form, you are also asked for the address of your accomodation, a point of contact in the USA and an emergency contact in or outside of the United States. Do you not have them? Then you do not need to fill them in.
Once you start making travel plans at a later date, you do not need to pass on this information to the immigration service.
- What information and documents do I need for the application?
No documents need to be submitted when applying for an ESTA USA. Not by post, not at a desk and not online via the website.
However, you must be able to fill in the questions in the online ESTA form. You do not need to have made an itinerary yet to do this. An arrival date has to be filled in, but it is no problem if you decide to arrive later on another day. You also do not need to have a contact person, emergency contact or accommodation address yet. However, you do need your passport information when applying for an ESTA. Donʼt have your passport at hand? If you have a copy or scan, that is also sufficient. If you have or had a passport with a second nationality, you will also need to fill in information on that as well. Do you have a job? If so, you must fill in the name and address details of your employer when applying for your ESTA.
Starting 2020, it is also mandatory to fill in your social media user name when applying for an ESTA. Previously, this was asked for, but answering this question was not mandatory. You are not asked for a password. This means that the immigration service can only see your public profile, and not your protected private data. If you do not want to share anything with the immigration service, you can set up your social media to prevent strangers from getting any insight into your information.
- How long does it take for my application to be approved?
ESTA applications are approved after 72 hours on average. An application for which an urgent delivery has been selected is approved after one hour on average.
US Customs & Border Protection (CBP) recommends submitting your application as early as possible. This will give you enough time to apply for a visa, should your application for an ESTA be rejected.
The delivery times mentioned above are explicitly averages and not maximum delivery times. In many cases, the inspection will take place sooner. But processing can also take longer than the average delivery time. This may be the result of planned or unplanned maintenance to technical systems that are part of e-Visa.co.uk or the Customs and Border Protection agency. It can also be the result of a random background check. Delivery times of the ESTA can never be guaranteed. Not even if an urgent delivery has been selected. e-Visa.co.uk can in no way influence the speed with which applications are processed by the CBP. However, it is guaranteed that the average delivery times, as stated on this website, are also achieved on average.
The difference between “normal” applications and urgent applications is that e-Visa.co.uk processes urgent applications faster; always within 24 hours, but usually within 10 minutes, including at night, on the weekends and on public holidays. In that case, the application is first checked for frequently made errors. Your application will then be forwarded to the immigration service in the USA, where it will be checked whether you pose a security risk. If no reason for rejection is found, the ESTA will be issued after one hour on average. You will receive a confirmation by e-mail and text message.
The immigration service handles all ESTA applications individually. So not per group, but per person, even if you filled in several travellers in a single application form. Sometimes, there can be a lot of time between the first and the last approval within a group application. This is normal and is due to the fact that applications are always assessed per person. For example, the immigration service can carry out a random background check for an individual traveller in a group application. An application that remains pending for a longer period of time has no greater chance of being rejected.
Do you have American nationality? Then you must travel to the USA with your American passport. In that case, you will not be able to apply for an ESTA with a passport of a possible second nationality; that application will never be approved. Do you have American nationality but no US passport? Apply for a US passport at the embassy.
- What does an ESTA cost and how can I pay?
The cost of an ESTA USA is £29.95 per person. The price per person is the same if you submit a group application. You can also choose for an urgent delivery; a surcharge of £17.50 per person applies to this. All prices on this website include consular costs which are charged by the immigration service, service costs of e-Visa.co.uk and the required taxes.
If so desired, you can also choose for a voluntary CO2 compensation and/or an optional registration with the embassy. The costs of these optional things depend onf the country from which you are travelling and your nationality. You can check these extras in the application form, which also states the exact costs.
Paying can be safely, quickly and easily done with Visa, MasterCard, American Express or PayPal.
Right after making the payment for the ESTA USA, a receipt can be downloaded on the status page of the application. After the application has been fully processed, the invoice can also be downloaded there.
- Is there an 0 or an O in my passport number?
A British passport number is solely made up of digits. This means that the letter O can never appear in a British passport number. It will always be the number 0.
Are you submitting your application for an ESTA USA with e-Visa.co.uk? Then it will always be checked if you did not accidentally switch up the letter O and the number 0. If this error is found, it will always be corrected for you right away. This way, you can still go on your trip without any problems.
Did you submit an ESTA application through another website? Then this error will likely not be corrected, and your ESTA might be invalid. It is not possible to change the passport number, you will need to apply for a completely new ESTA.
- Do I still have the nationality of my country of birth?
Were you not born in the country of which you hold the nationality according to your passport? Then it might be possible that you still have the nationality of your country of birth as a second nationality. This can also be the case if you did not live in your country of birth for a long time, or if you never noticed anything of your second nationality. With some countries, you automatically lose the nationality if you receive a passport from a different nationality. With other countries, you can only lose the nationality if you renounce it yourself. There are also countries of which you can never lose the nationality.
It is important to know if you have a second nationality, because you have to fill it in on the ESTA form. If you do not fill it in despite having a second nationality, your application will be rejected.
Check with the countryʼs consulate or high commission in the UK to find out about that countryʼs laws on dual nationality
After submitting the application
- How will I receive my ESTA and do I print it?
It is not necessary to print the confirmation of your approved ESTA application. During your trip to the USA, you will not be asked to show a confirmation of approval. However, it can be handy to keep a print for your own administration.
The airline will check if you have a valid ESTA. This usually happens when checking in, though sometimes only when boarding. This check will take place through your passport number. That is why you do not need to hand over a printed confirmation.
As soon as you receive a text message, your application has been approved. If your application is approved, you can check in. You will also receive an e-mail. This contains a link to your personal status page. On that page, you can see if the application has been approved. You can also download a confirmation of approval there.
It is wise to check the confirmation of approval closely. This contains the passport information as you filled it in on the application form for the ESTA visa. Is the passport information not 100% correct on the confirmation of approval? Then the ESTA is not valid. You can only correct this by submitting a completely new application. This will need to be paid for again as well.
- I did not receive an ESTA or e-mail, what now?
After you have paid, you will receive an e-mail right away. This states that the payment for your ESTA USA has been received, with a link to your personal status page. On this page, you can check at any time what the status of your application is.
Has you ESTA not been granted within the expected term? Read on the status page if it is wise to contact us about this. This website mentions average delivery times, never maximum delivery times. No guarantee whatsoever can be given that an ESTA application is approved within a certain time. The immigration service can, for example, perform a random background check which can delay the application. An application which remains in processing for longer does not have a higher chance of being rejected.
Sometimes, there can be a great deal of time between the first and last approval in a group application. That is normal, and is due to applications always being assessed per person.
Did you not receive an e-mail yet? First check the folder with unwanted messages in your e-mail program, the spam box or junk folder. Are you unable to find an e-mail there with the subject “ESTA application USA received”? Then you can look up the status of your application via the website.
- Do I need to pass on changes or corrections, and how do I do that?
Right after you have completed the payment for your ESTA application, your application will be processed. From that moment on, it is no longer possible to pass on changes or corrections. It will also no longer be possible to cancel your application. This is often not necessary.
In these cases, the ESTA remains valid and you do not have to pass on any changes:
• Your arrival date in the USA has changed
• The address where you will be staying or your point of contact in the USA has changed
• Your employer or your emergency contact has changed
• Your address information is not correct (anymore), but the country of residence is still correct
• You applied for an ESTA during a previous trip, and you want to use it again
• You applied for an ESTA for a transfer, but you also want to spend the night in the USA
• You applied for an ESTA for a business trip, but you want to travel as a tourist, or vice-versa
In these cases, your ESTA is not valid and you will have to apply and pay for a new one:
• Your passport information is not 100% correct on your ESTA
• You are arriving more than two years after the granting of your ESTA
• You have acquired a new passport
• You have moved to another country
• Your first names have changed
• Your last name has changed
• Your gender has changed
You can submit a new application for an ESTA here
Has something happened which makes it so you can no longer truthfully answer all of the safety questions at the bottom of the ESTA form with “no”? Then your ESTA is likewise no longer valid. However, in that case, you can also no longer apply for an ESTA. You can, however, apply for a US visa.
Also keep in mind the validity term and maximum length of stay, and the other requirements of the ESTA USA.
- My national identification number is not on my ESTA, what now?
The confirmation of approval of your ESTA USA application will state in bold "National Identification Number". Underneath it is a number, or the text “UNKNOWN”.
Do you have the nationality of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, France, Austria, Poland or Switzerland? Then you do not have a national identification number that is recognized as such by the US immigration service. If you have the French nationality, this therefore does not refer to the INSEE number. In these cases, it is normal that this field will say "UNKNOWN".
Do you have the nationality of the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, Greece or the Czech Republic? Then you likely do have a national identification number. This number is asked for in the application form of the ESTA. It might also be the case that you do not have a national identification number, for example if you picked up your passport at a foreign consulate. In that case, it is also not a problem if it says “UNKNOWN” at the national identification number.
Read more about this on the page about the National Identification Number on the ESTA.
- My name has been spelled wrongly on the ESTA, what now?
Do you have an accent or punctuation mark in your name, such as ü, ä, ö, ç, é, è, ê, ñ or ß? Then this is probably due to an automatic correction. Special characters in the name, such as umlauts and trema, are not accepted by the immigration service system. The name is therefore converted as it appears in the machine-readable part of the passport. These are the two lines that contain the "<<<" symbols, at the very bottom of the information page in your passport. The top of these two lines contains your name (directly after the country code). Is your name spelled here as it is on your ESTA? Then everything is in order and you can travel to the USA without any problems.
Does the spelling error have nothing to do with a punctuation mark? Then you probably misspelled your name yourself, and the ESTA is invalid. Is the name of another person listed on your ESTA, or is part of your name missing? Then this might be the result of the automatic fill-in function of your browser. You yourself are responsible for checking whether all the information has been filled in correctly, prior to making the payment. The only way to correct this is to apply for a completely new ESTA.
- I cannot check in, what now?
Has your ESTA application been approved and are you still unable to check in with your airline? If so, your passport information was not filled in correctly when you checked in or applied for your ESTA.
This mainly concerns the date of birth, start date, expiry date, full name and passport number. British passport numbers never contain the letter "o". Always enter the number "0" at check-in.
Does your passport information appear correctly on the ESTA? If so, contact your airline directly. They will be able to link the correct passport details to your flight ticket so that you can still check in.
Does your passport information not appear correctly on the ESTA? Then you will need to apply for a completely new ESTA. This application also has to be paid for anew. It is not possible to make any changes to an approved ESTA.
Are you sure that your passport information is correct on the ESTA, and has been correctly passed on to the airline? Then the cause of the problem probably lies with the passport information of a fellow passenger who is trying to check in at the same time. If a traveller is unable to check in due to problems with their passport information, then sometimes the fellow travellers are unable to check in either.
- My application was rejected, what now?
It is rare that an application for an ESTA USA is rejected. The American immigration service never indicates the reason for a rejection.
Reasons that may lead to the rejection of your application:
• You (also) have the American nationality
• You have (unknowingly) not filled in your second nationality
• You are suspected of a criminal offence
• Your name appears in an Interpol database
• You are travelling with a passport that has been reported missing or stolen
• You may pose a risk to the safety in the USA
• You are inadmissible under the Immigration and Nationality Act § 212
• You tried to break a visa-related law before
• You have been denied entry to the USA before, or been expelled from the country at some point
• You have at some point stayed in the USA for longer than was allowed
• You have been denied a visa application for the USA in the past
• You have been to Iraq, North Korea, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and/or Yemen after 1 March 2011
• You have the nationality of Iraq, North Korea, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and/or Yemen
• You do not meet one of the other requirements for travelling with an ESTA visa
What you can do if your application is rejected
First check whether your passport information was filled in correctly in the application form. If your passport information was filled in incorrectly, you can try to apply for an ESTA again. But usually, the cause lies somewhere else. If your passport information was filled in correctly, applying for a new ESTA is no use. That ESTA application will be instantly rejected again.
However, you can always apply for a US visa. You need to make an appointment at the embassy. It often takes a few weeks before you can find a spot. Fingerprints will be taken, and an interview will be conducted. You may hear in that interview what the problem was with your ESTA application. You can then give an explanation of your situation. If everything is in order, you will be granted a visa and you will still be able to travel to the United States.
If your application has been rejected, you will receive a full refund of the purchase price. This does not apply to travellers for whom an ESTA application has previously been rejected. e-Visa.co.uk cannot be held responsible for any damage resulting from a late or rejected visa application. You can read more about this in the general terms and conditions.
- My ESTA has almost expired, can I extend it?
No, it is not possible to extend an ESTA. Do you want to travel to the USA after the expiry date of your ESTA? Then you need to submit a new ESTA application.
Apply for a new ESTA here
- Can I cancel my ESTA application?
It is possible to cancel your application for an ESTA USA until it is processed by US Customs & Border Protection. This generally happens within ten minutes after your payment has been received. Afterwards, it is no longer possible to cancel your application.
Most travellers want to receive their ESTA as soon as possible. That is why we do not wait until a certain reconsideration or revocation period has passed. This is also mentioned in the general terms and conditions. Before you made the payment, you agreed to these terms.
Other frequently asked question
- I am travelling with children, what do I need to take into account?
Children also always need to have their own passport and their own ESTA to travel to the USA. All information in the frequently asked questions on this page applies to travellers from all ages. This therefore includes babies and (underage) children.
Is a child travelling without both parents? Then a permission slip must be able to be provided throughout the entirety of the trip, written in English. This must be signed by both parents, or by the person or persons with parental authority. Sometimes, a copy of the passport of a person with parental authority is also required, or an international birth certificate or excerpt from the civil registry. More explanation on travelling abroad with children can be found here.
Does a child only have a German Children Travel pass and not a normal passport? Then you must first apply for a normal passport. A Children Travel pass does not have a biometric chip, which is required to travel to the USA with an ESTA.
- Is a granted ESTA a guarantee that I can enter the USA?
No. You are only allowed entry to the USA if US Customs & Border Protection decides that you do not pose a threat to the safety of the USA and its inhabitants.
There are two moments when this is assessed. Firstly, when applying for the ESTA. But this is also done when you arrive in the United States of America. If an employee of the American immigration service suspects that you pose a threat, you will not be allowed entry as described in the Immigration and Nationality Act § 212.
The assessment when arriving also applies if you are travelling with a visa instead of an ESTA.
- Do I need vaccinations for my trip to the USA?
If you are going on a trip, it is always wise to check if you need vaccinations. The best way to find out which vaccinations you need is to check with your local physician.
- Can I bring my medication along to the USA?
Certain medications cannot be brought along when going abroad, or only if you have a special license to do so. Read more about this on the page about carrying medicines into the United States.
- Should I register my trip at the embassy?
Certain countries have made it possible to register your trip at their designated embassy in the USA. Registering your trip at the embassy is seperate from your ESTA application. Your ESTA application is processed by the American government, while your embassy registration is handled by your own government. Applying for an ESTA is mandatory, registering your trip at the embassy is not.
Why should I register my trip?
If your government knows your are in the United States, the local embassy can contact you if a crisis situation should present itself. You are also kept informed about the travel advice for the USA by e-mail. This way, you will at all times know what the current safety situation is. For example, during the coronavirus crisis, new updates are communicated to the traveller, such as repatriation flights, or flight numbers of commercial flights that are taking travellers back home.
How can I register my trip?
This can be done in two ways. You can submit your registration directly with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of your country. But you can also combine your registration with your ESTA application. With the latter, you will not need to fill in all of your personal information and travel details again. These are copied from the ESTA form.
- Is my personal information handled with care?
This website processes a lot of personal data. This concerns very sensitive and special personal information, such as passport numbers, social security numbers and passport photos. You naturally expect this to be handled with care.
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