An ESTA application can take a maximum of 72 hours (three days). Are you in urgent need of an ESTA? Select the option "urgent delivery" in the application form. The ESTA is then generally granted within an hour. However, no guarantees can be given whatsoever regarding delivery times of urgent applications. That is why you should apply for an ESTA as soon as you decide to travel to the United States.
At what moment does the ESTA check take place?
The government of the United States of America has agreements with all airlines that offer flights to the USA. Part of these agreements is that the airlines already check travellers for a valid visa or ESTA during check-in. This means you already need to have your ESTA when arriving at the airport. Only after your ESTA has been approved can you check in, hand over your luggage and make it past customs. You are also unable to check in online if your ESTA application has not yet been approved.
Problems at the (online) check-in? Take action right away!
It is a daily occurrence that travellers cannot check in for their flight to the USA due to troubles surrounding their ESTA. Almost always, this is due to wrongly filled in passport information in the application form. A single wrongly filled in letter or digit can already result in an airline being unable to track down the ESTA in the database of the immigration service. Even providing proof of an approved ESTA will not help, because while the ESTA was indeed granted, it is invalid. Similarly, an approved ESTA cannot be corrected.
The only way to still check in after making a mistake like this is by applying for an entirely new ESTA, possibly with an urgent delivery. Because you can only check in once the corrected application has been submitted, it is important to take action as quickly as possible if you are unable to check in. Do not wait until you are at the airport, but submit an urgent application right away.
I have already submitted a "normal" application, can I still submit an urgent application?
No. Never submit an urgent application for an ESTA if another application is pending. Even if that application was submitted through a different website. Rather than speeding up the process, it can in fact cause more delays.
What is the difference between an urgent application and the normal procedure?
To submit an urgent application for an ESTA, the standard application form on this website can be used. Here, you can check the option "urgent delivery". For urgent deliveries, an added fee of £17.50 per person is charged, on top of the standard cost of the ESTA (£29.95). After the form has been fully filled in and the costs have been paid for (through Visa, MasterCard, American Express or PayPal), the application is processed almost immediately. This happens 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and on average results in an approved ESTA travel permit within an hour. This is substantially faster than if the "urgent delivery" option is not selected; those applications are often only granted the next day. While the risk analysis of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency often does not take longer than an hour, no guarantees can be given whatsoever that each urgent application will be approved within an hour.
The best alternative to an urgent application
U.S. Customs and Border Protection recommends applying for an ESTA as early as possible, as soon as it is known ((with great likelihood) that a trip to the United States will be made in the next two years. This can even be done if no exact travel information or accommodations in the United States are known. If you suspect that you will be travelling to the USA in the next two years, do not postpone arranging your ESTA. Should you decide to then travel to the USA at the last moment, you will not need to apply for an urgent ESTA.
How do I receive the ESTA?
Right after the application is approved, this is confirmed by e-mail and text message. It is not necessary to print these confirmations. Similarly, the ESTA does not need to be presented when boarding your plane. During check-in (online or at the gate), your passport information will be used to check whether the ESTA is valid and the traveller is allowed on board.
Even when urgent: pay attention!
In urgent need of an ESTA? The application procedure can be run through quickly. If you have all the required information at hand, you can submit an application in five minutes. However, mistakes are easily made and can have serious consequences. If, in your hurry, you answer even a single question wrongly, this can mean that your ESTA is denied or declared invalid. This can in turn lead to you not being allowed on your plane to the USA.
Read it and agree? Submit an urgent ESTA application now
An urgent ESTA application can be easily submitted through e-Visa.co.uk. Do not forget to check the option "urgent delivery" in the application form and make the payment right away. In rare cases, the American immigration service can take longer to perform their risk analysis; in these cases, even an urgent application can take longer. Regardless, ESTAs submitted through the urgency procedure are generally granted within an hour.
Apply for urgent ESTA