Applying for an ESTA is mandatory to travel to the United States. ESTA is a digital travel authorisation which states that the United States grants permission to enter the country.
This ESTA can be easily applied for online. It is mandatory to possess an ESTA document when you are at the airport of departure. When boarding, you will be asked for identification as well as a valid ESTA. If a passenger cannot present it, the airline cannot transport them. It is very important that you pay extra attention to digits and letters during the ESTA application.
Digits and letters in the passport number
To travel to the USA, you need to fill in an ESTA form. This makes it possible to travel to the United States without a visa. ESTA is therefore not a visa, but a digital proof that that you can travel to the USA. With the ESTA application, the traveller is registered as a visitor of the United States.
It is important during an ESTA application to correctly write down the passport information. There have been numerous cases where a traveller made a mistake writing down the passport information, forcing them to cancel their plans to travel to the USA. Some passport numbers use a combination of letters and digits, others have only digits or letters. British passport numbers, for example, are exclusively made up of digits. However, it still frequently occurs that travellers mistakenly fill in the letter O instead of the number 0. Irish passport numbers start with the letter P or L, followed by another letter and 7 digits. Like all other passport numbers, mistakes are frequently made here as well.
The passport number on a British passport
The passport number on an Irish passport
Writing down your passport number correctly is also important when booking your trip and flight ticket. That is why more and more transportation companies use an app, with which the traveller can scan their passport. This way, any confusion can be avoided.
Validity of the ESTA
Before travelling to the United States, it is important that all of the required documents are valid. The passport needs to be valid for the entirety of your stay in the USA. If the passport with which you plan to travel expires, the ESTA expires alongside it right away. You will then first need to apply for a new passport before applying for a new ESTA. You cannot simply apply for a new ESTA; not until you have acquired a new passport. British and Irish passports are generally valid for 10 years (adults) or five years (minors). If you notice the expiry date is imminent, apply for a new passport on time to avoid any trouble with your ESTA.
Validity of the passport
The validity date of the passport is always indicated on the document. Check under the text “date of expiry”.
When applying for an ESTA, avoid commonly made mistakes like writing down an "o" instead of a "0". It is extremely important that all the information is fully and correctly written down for an ESTA application to get processed properly. Failure to do so will lead to the ESTA being declared invalid. An ESTA application costs £29.95 per person. The application takes about five minutes. Airlines check beforehand whether the passport and the ESTA are valid. If either of them are invalid, the airline cannot take the traveller along to the USA. In that case, the traveller has to book a new flight. Avoid problems like that and double-check all the information on the passport and the ESTA application.
Take note: this news article about the ESTA for the USA is more than one year old. It might contain outdated information and advice, and no rights can therefore be derived from this article. Are you going on a trip soon and do you wish to do know what rules currently apply? Read all about the up-to-date information about the ESTA for the USA.