FAQ

Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) Online Help

Travel Authorization

What is a travel authorization?
Who is required to have a travel authorization?
Does a travel authorization guarantee me admission to the United States?
Is a travel authorization a visa?
How long is my travel authorization valid?
When do I need to apply for a travel authorization?
Can prospective travelers apply to ESTA for a travel authorization without specific travel plans if they want to be able to travel to the United States on short notice?
Do nationals or citizens of countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program require a travel authorization if they are only transiting the United States in route to another country?
Can a Visa Waiver Program traveler with more than one passport travel to the United States on the passport that he or she did not use when applying for a travel authorization?
If a Visa Waiver Program traveler has received a travel authorization approval through ESTA, does he or she need to fill out an I-94W?
What should I do if I am not approved for a travel authorization?
Why is authorization under ESTA required for United States-bound travel under the Visa Waiver Program?

Visa Waiver Program

What is the Visa Waiver Program?
Which countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program?
Who is eligible to apply for admission under the Visa Waiver Program?
What are the passport requirements for travel under the Visa Waiver Program?
When must I obtain a visa to travel to the United States?
Are there disadvantages to using the Visa Waiver Program?
What if a Visa Waiver Program applicant is found to be inadmissible?
How do I get more information on the Visa Waiver Program?
Why is authorization under ESTA required for United States-bound travel under the Visa Waiver Program?

Applying for a Travel Authorization

How do I apply for authorization to travel to the United States?
What information do I need to complete the application?
Do travelers need to bring a paper printout of their travel authorization to the airport?
Is this Web site secure and private?
What does my computer need to use the ESTA to submit an application for authorization to travel to the United States?
Does a traveler ever need to reapply for a travel authorization through ESTA?
My travel authorization is valid for travel to the United States but will expire before I depart. Do I need to apply for a new one before my trip?

Updating a Travel Authorization

What information can I update?
What should I do if the information on my passport has changed?
How can applicants correct a mistake on their application?
How can applicants correct a mistake on Passport Issuance Date or Passport Expiration Date after completing their travel authorization application in ESTA?
What if I want to update my application and do not have my Application Number?

Payment Required for a Travel Authorization

Is there a fee for a travel authorization?
How do I pay for my travel authorization?
Can I pay for two or more applications with one payment?
How many applications can I submit for one payment?
Can I submit an application or applications and pay for them at a later time?
Is the credit card information I use for payment secure?

Multiple Application Process

When I submit the payment for group of applications with multiple applications, will I receive the ESTA status for all of the applications at the same time?
How do I submit a group of applications?

ESTA Data Privacy

How does the U. S. government protect the privacy of ESTA data and who has access to it?
How long is the travel authorization application data stored?
Does DHS share ESTA data with others?

Travel Not Authorized

What should a traveler do if he or she is not approved for travel through ESTA?
Should a traveler not authorized for travel through ESTA reapply?
How can a traveler find out the reason a travel authorization was denied?
If a traveler was denied approval and needs to travel immediately, is it possible to get an emergency visa appointment at a United States Embassy or Consulate?

Troubleshooting

What if I want to update my application and do not have my Application Number?
What does my computer need to use the ESTA to submit an application for authorization to travel to the United States?

 

Travel Authorization

What is a travel authorization?

To strengthen the security of travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, requirements to travel visa-free have been enhanced. Nationals of Visa Waiver Program countries will still be eligible to travel without a visa but will have to obtain an approved travel authorization prior to their travel to the United States.

Here is how the travel authorization process works:

The Department of Homeland Security and the United States Customs and Border Protection have provided a secure public Web site with an automated form for you, or a third party, to complete in order to apply for a travel authorization. Once you enter the required biographic, travel, and credit card information on the secure Web site, your application is processed by the system to determine if you are eligible to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program without a visa. The system will provide you with an automated response, and prior to boarding, a carrier will electronically verify with the United States Customs and Border Protection that you have an approved travel authorization on file.

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Who is required to have a travel authorization?

All passengers traveling under the Visa Waiver Program are required to have an approved travel authorization prior to traveling to the United States by air or sea. Even non-ticketed infants are required to have an approved travel authorization, if they do not have a visa for travel to the United States. An application may be submitted by a third party on behalf of a Visa Waiver Program traveler.

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Does a travel authorization guarantee me admission to the United States?

If your electronic travel authorization is approved, this approval establishes that you are eligible to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, but does not guarantee that you are admissible to the United States. Upon arrival in the United States you will be inspected by a Customs and Border Protection officer at a port of entry who may determine that you are inadmissible under the Visa Waiver Program or for any reason under United States law.

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Is a travel authorization a visa?

No, an approved travel authorization is not a visa. It does not meet the legal or regulatory requirements to serve in lieu of a United States visa when a visa is required under United States law. Individuals who possess a valid visa will still be able to travel to the United States on that visa for the purpose for which it was issued. Individuals traveling on valid visas are not required to apply for a travel authorization.

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How long is my travel authorization valid?

Unless revoked, travel authorizations are valid for two years from the date of authorization, or until your passport expires, whichever comes first. The Authorization Approved screen displays your travel authorization expiration date.

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When do I need to apply for a travel authorization?

Applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel to the United States. The Department of Homeland Security recommends that travel authorization applications be submitted at least 72 hours prior to travel. Unless revoked, travel authorizations are valid for two years from the date of authorization, or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.

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Can prospective travelers apply to ESTA for a travel authorization without specific travel plans if they want to be able to travel to the United States on short notice?

Visa Waiver Program travelers are not required to have specific plans to travel to the United States before they apply for a travel authorization. If a traveler’s destination address in the United States is unknown when he or she completes the application in ESTA for the travel authorization, the traveler should enter the name of the hotel or approximate location he or she intends to visit. Travelers may update this information when their plans are finalized, but they will not be required to update their destination addresses or itineraries should they change after their travel authorization has been approved. DHS recommends that applications for travel authorization be submitted in ESTA as early as possible, as soon as, or even before travel is planned. ESTA will accept applications from last minute and emergency travelers – those Visa Waiver Program travelers that arrive at the airport without an approved ESTA.

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Do nationals or citizens of countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program require travel authorization if they are only transiting the United States in route to another country?

Eligible nationals or citizens of countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program require either a travel authorization or a visa to transit the United States. If a traveler is only planning to transit through the United States en route to another country, when he or she completes the travel authorization application in ESTA, the traveler should enter the words “In Transit” and his or her final destination location in the address lines in the Address While In The United States field on the application.

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Can a Visa Waiver Program traveler with more than one passport travel to the United States on the passport that he or she did not use when applying for a travel authorization?

No. Each Visa Waiver Program traveler must have an approved travel authorization for the passport they plan to use before they travel to the United States. If a traveler obtains a new passport, they must submit a new travel authorization application in ESTA using the new passport. A processing fee will be charged for each new application submitted.

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If a Visa Waiver Program traveler has received a travel authorization approval through ESTA, does he or she need to fill out an I-94W?

The implementation of the ESTA program allowed DHS to eliminate the requirement that Visa Waiver Program travelers complete an I-94W prior to being admitted to the United States. CBP has transitioned to paperless processing for Visa Waiver Program travelers arriving by air or sea who have obtained a travel authorization. Most carriers are now capable of receiving and validating messages pertaining to the traveler’s ESTA status as part of the traveler’s boarding status. Travelers entering the United States under the Visa Waiver Program who have an approved travel authorization will no longer be given a green I-94W departure coupon in their passport.

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What should I do if I am not approved for a travel authorization?

If you receive a Travel Not Authorized response to your travel authorization application, but wish to continue with your travel plans, please visit the United States Department of State Web site at www.travel.state.gov for additional information about applying for a visa. The denial of a travel authorization only prohibits travel under the Visa Waiver Program and is not a determination of eligibility for a visa to travel to the United States. In the event you are not approved for a travel authorization, no court shall have jurisdiction to review an eligibility determination under ESTA.

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Why is authorization under ESTA required for United States-bound travel under the Visa Waiver Program?

The “Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007″ (9/11 Act) amended Section 217 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), requiring that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implement an electronic travel authorization system and other measures to enhance the security of the Visa Waiver Program. ESTA adds another layer of security that allows DHS to determine, in advance of travel, whether an individual is eligible to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program and whether such travel poses a law enforcement or security risk.

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Visa Waiver Program

What is the Visa Waiver Program?

The Visa Waiver Program allows foreign nationals from certain countries to travel to the United States for business or pleasure, for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. Travelers admitted under the Visa Waiver Program must agree to waive their rights to review or appeal, as explained in the Waiver of Rights section of the Application screen. See Who is eligible to apply for admission under the Visa Waiver Program? for further information.

For further information refer to § 217 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1187, and 8 C.F.R. § 217.

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Which countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program?

Andorra Estonia Ireland Monaco Singapore Taiwan[1]
Australia Finland Italy Netherlands Slovakia United Kingdom
Austria France Japan New Zealand Slovenia  
Belgium Germany Latvia Norway South Korea  
Brunei Greece Liechtenstein Portugal Spain  
Czech Republic Hungary Lithuania Republic of Malta Sweden  
Denmark Iceland Luxembourg San Marino Switzerland  

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Who is eligible to apply for admission under the Visa Waiver Program?

You are eligible to apply for admission under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) if you:

  • Intend to enter the United States for 90 days or less for business, pleasure or transit
  • Have a valid passport lawfully issued to you by a Visa Waiver Program country
  • Have authorization to travel via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization
  • Arrive via a Visa Waiver Program signatory carrier
  • Have a return or onward ticket
  • Travel may not terminate in contiguous territory or adjacent islands unless the traveler is a resident of one of those areas
  • Are a citizen or national of one of the Visa Waiver Program countries listed below:
Andorra Estonia Ireland Monaco Singapore Taiwan[1]
Australia Finland Italy Netherlands Slovakia United Kingdom
Austria France Japan New Zealand Slovenia  
Belgium Germany Latvia Norway South Korea  
Brunei Greece Liechtenstein Portugal Spain  
Czech Republic Hungary Lithuania Republic of Malta Sweden  
Denmark Iceland Luxembourg San Marino Switzerland  
  • Establish to the satisfaction of the inspecting United States Customs and Border Protection officer that you are entitled to be admitted under the Visa Waiver Program and that you are not inadmissible under the Immigration and Nationality Act.
  • Waive any rights to review or appeal of the admissibility determination of the United States Customs and Border Protection officer, or contest, other than on the basis of an application for asylum, any removal action arising from an application for admission under the Visa Waiver Program.
  • Reaffirm, through the submission of biometric identifiers (including fingerprints and photographs) during processing upon arrival in the United States, your waiver of any rights to review or appeal of the admissibility determination of the United States Customs and Border Protection officer, or contest, other than on the basis of an application for asylum, any removal action arising from an application for admission under the Visa Waiver Program.
  • Obtain an Authorization Approved determination following a travel authorization application.
  • Not pose a threat to the welfare, health, safety, or security of the United States.
  • Have complied with all conditions of any previous admission under the Visa Waiver Program.

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What are the passport requirements for travel under the Visa Waiver Program?

Visa Waiver Program requirements are:

  • The passport must have a machine-readable zone on the biographic page.
  • Issued on or after October 26, 2005 – Each Visa Waiver Program passport issued on or after this date must have a digital photo.
  • Issued on or after October 26, 2006 – Each Visa Waiver Program passport issued on or after this date must be an electronic passport with a digital chip containing biometric information about the passport owner.

EXCEPTION: To be eligible for the Visa Waiver Program, persons presenting United Kingdom passports must possess the unrestricted right of permanent abode in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man

EXCEPTION: Citizens and nationals of Slovenia may use only the red cover Slovenian passport for admission under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

EXCEPTION: Effective July 1, 2009, Visa Waiver Program countries’ emergency or temporary passports must be electronic passports.

    • Citizens of the following Visa Waiver Program countries are required to present electronic passports:
      • Czech Republic
      • Estonia
      • Slovakia
      • Hungary
      • Latvia
      • Lithuania
      • Republic of Malta
      • South Korea
      • Greece
    • Citizens from Visa Waiver Program eligible countries must present a machine-readable passport unless they are from:
      • Czech Republic
      • Estonia
      • Slovakia
      • Hungary
      • Latvia
      • Lithuania
      • Republic of Malta
      • South Korea
      • Greece
    • A machine readable passport contains two lines of text with numbers and chevrons (<<<) at the bottom of the personal information page with the passport bearer’s picture. Document requirements vary according to the date a passport was issued or renewed as follows:
      • Machine-readable passports issued or renewed/extended before October 26, 2005 have no additional requirements.
      • If a passport was issued or renewed/extended on or after October 26, 2005 and does not meet the following requirements, the traveler must obtain a visa:
        1. Machine-readable passports issued or renewed/extended on or after October 26, 2005 through October 25, 2006 must meet the following requirements: A digital photograph printed on the passport data page is required OR an integrated chip containing information from the data page (e-passport). A digital photo is one that is printed on the page, not a photo that is glued or laminated into the passport.

 

      2. Machine-readable passports issued or renewed/extended on or after October 26, 2006 are required to be e-passports.
    • For more information, please see the Customs and Border Protection Web site, CBP.gov, under Travel, For International Visitors, Visiting for Business or Pleasure, Visa Waiver Program.
  • Taiwan passport holders must provide Passport Number and Personal Identification Number (PIN).

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When must I obtain a visa to travel to the United States?

  • If you intend to arrive in the United States aboard a non-signatory air carrier.
  • If you intend to visit the United States for more than 90 days.
  • If you believe any grounds of inadmissibility of the Immigration and Nationality Act § 212(a) apply to you, you should apply for a nonimmigrant visa before traveling to the United States. Although you may be inadmissible to the United States, you may qualify for a non-immigrant visa and waiver, which may allow you to travel to the United States.
  • If you are traveling to the United States for a purpose other than short-term tourism or business.

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Are there disadvantages to using the Visa Waiver Program?

Before using the Visa Waiver Program, be aware of the following conditions that apply and carefully consider your options:

  • If you are admitted to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, you may not change or extend your non-immigrant status.
  • If your admission is denied, you have no right to appeal a determination as to admissibility.
  • If you are found to have violated the terms of your admission, you also have no right to review or appeal, other than on the basis of an application for asylum, any removal action arising from an application for admission under the Visa Waiver Program.

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What if a Visa Waiver Program applicant is found to be inadmissible?

Travelers applying for admission to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program who are determined to be inadmissible to the United States will be denied admission and returned to their country of origin, or a third country from which the traveler holds a round-trip ticket, aboard the carrier on which the traveler arrived in the United States.

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How do I get more information on the Visa Waiver Program?

http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/id_visa/business_pleasure/vwp/

www.travel.state.gov

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Why is authorization under ESTA required for United States-bound travel under the Visa Waiver Program?

The “Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007″ (9/11 Act) amended Section 217 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), requiring that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implement an electronic travel authorization system and other measures to enhance the security of the Visa Waiver Program. ESTA adds another layer of security that allows DHS to determine, in advance of travel, whether an individual is eligible to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program and whether such travel poses a law enforcement or security risk.

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Applying for a Travel Authorization

How do I apply for authorization to travel to the United States?

Step 1: Complete Your Application

Enter all required information. You will be asked to: provide information from your passport; to enter your travel arrangements and credit card information; and to answer seven security questions. Each member of your party must have an approved travel authorization or a visa, regardless of age, prior to traveling to the United States.

Step 2: Submit Your Application

Review your answers for accuracy. To make corrections, return to the application by selecting the Previous button.

Step 3: Record Your Application Number

After you submit your application, the system will provide you with an application number. Record this application number for your records. If you want to check the status or to update your application, you will be asked to provide your application number, passport number, and date of birth

Step 4: Make Payment

Enter your credit information for payment of fees associated with the Travel Promotion Act of 2009.

Step 5: View Your Application Status

In most cases the Electronic System for Travel Authorization will return an Application Status immediately. In cases where more time is needed to process an electronic travel authorization application, an answer will be usually returned within 72 hours. Information will be provided to check the application status if you receive a pending response. The three possible responses to an electronic travel authorization application are:

  • Authorization Approved. Your travel authorization has been approved and you are authorized to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. The system displays confirmation of the application approval and a payment receipt notice showing the amount charged to your credit card. A travel authorization does not guarantee admission to the United States; as a Customs and Border Protection officer at a port of entry will have the final determination.
  • Travel Not Authorized. You are not authorized to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. You may be able to obtain a visa from the Department of State for your travel. Please visit the United States Department of State Web site at www.travel.state.gov for additional information about applying for a visa. This response does not deny entry into the United States. This response only prohibits you from traveling to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. The system also displays a payment receipt notice showing the amount charged to your credit card for the processing of the ESTA application.
  • Authorization Pending. Your travel authorization is under review because an immediate determination could not be made for your application. This response does not indicate negative findings. A determination will usually be available within 72 hours. Please return to this Web site and choose Retrieve Previously-Submitted Authorization to Travel to the United States for One or More Persons. Your application number, passport number, and birth date will be required to check the status of your application.

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What information do I need to complete the application?

1.1.1.1.1 Applicant Information

Field

Description

Birth Date, Day Choose the day on which you were born. The day of birth is required to complete the application or to check the status of your application.
Birth Date, Month Choose the month in which you were born. The month of birth is required to complete the application or to check the status of your application.
Birth Date, Year Choose the year in which you were born. The year of birth is required to complete the application or to check the status of your application.
Country of Birth Choose the country in which you were born. The country where you were born is required to complete the application.
Country Where You Live Choose the country in which you reside. The country where you live is required to complete the application.
E-mail Address Enter the e-mail address at which you can be contacted. The e-mail address is optional to complete the application. Your e-mail address is used to notify you 30 days before your ESTA application expires or if there is a change in your ESTA status. We highly recommend you fill in the e-mail address field.
Family Name Enter your family name as the family name appears on your passport under the Family Name or Surname field. The family name is required to complete the application.
First (Given) Name Enter your first (given) name as the first name appears on your passport under the First or Given Name field. Do not include the middle name in this field. First name is required to complete the application. If you do not have a first name, then enter the letters FNU which stands for First Name Unknown.
Sex Choose your gender, either male or female. The sex (gender) is required to complete the application.
Telephone Number, Country Code Choose the country code of the telephone number where you can be contacted. The country code and telephone number are optional to complete the application.
Telephone Number Enter the telephone number where you can be contacted. The telephone number is optional to complete the application.

 

1.1.1.1.2 Passport Information

Field

Description

Passport Expiration Date, Day Choose the day on which your passport expires, as it appears on your passport under the Expiration Date or Extension field. The day on which the passport expires is required to complete the application.
Passport Expiration Date, Month Choose the month in which your passport expires, as it appears on your passport under the Expiration Date or Extension field. The month in which the passport expires is required to complete the application.
Passport Expiration Date, Year Choose the year in which your passport expires, as it appears on your passport under the Expiration Date or Extension field. The year in which the passport expires is required to complete the application.
Passport Issuance Date, Day Choose the day on which your passport was issued, as it appears on your passport under the Date of Issue field. The day on which the passport was issued is required to complete the application.
Passport Issuance Date, Month Choose the month in which your passport was issued, as it appears on your passport under the Date of Issue field. The month in which the passport was issued is required to complete the application.
Passport Issuance Date, Year Choose the year in which your passport was issued, as it appears on your passport under the Date of Issue field. The year in which the passport was issued is required to complete the application.
Passport Issuing Country Choose the country of citizenship, as it appears on your passport. The passport issuing country is required to complete the application.
Passport Number Enter your passport number as it appears on your passport. The passport number may contain numbers and/or characters. Please closely distinguish between the number zero and the letter O. The passport number is required to complete the application or to check the status of your application.
Personal Identification Number Enter your personal identification number as it appears on your passport. (Applies to Taiwan passport holders only)

 

1.1.1.1.3 Travel Information

Field

Description

Carrier Information, Carrier Name Choose the carrier name for the carrier on which you will be traveling to the United States, if your travel information is available. The carrier name is optional to complete the application.
Carrier Information, Flight Number or Vessel Name Enter the flight number or vessel name for the carrier on which you will be traveling to the United States, if your travel information is available. The flight number or vessel name is optional to complete the application.
City Where You are Boarding Enter the last city where you will board an aircraft prior to arriving in the United States on this trip. The city where the applicant will board is optional to complete the application.

 

1.1.1.1.4 Address While In The United States Information

Field

Description

Address Line 1 Enter the number and street of the location where you will stay while in the United States. Do not include the city and state in this field. Address Line 1 is optional to complete the application.
  • If multiple locations are planned, enter the first address.
  • If the complete address is not known, enter the name of the hotel or location you will visit. You may update this information once confirmed.
  • If you are leaving the United States immediately and do not have an address, enter the words “In Transit” and your final destination location.
Address Line 2 Enter apartment, suite, unit, floor, building, or other, if appropriate. Do not include the city and state in this field. Address line 2 is optional to complete the application.
City Enter the city of the address where you will stay while in the United States. The city is optional to complete the application.
State Enter the state of the address where you will stay while in the United States. The state is optional to complete the application.

 

1.1.1.1.5 Credit Card Billing Information

Field

Description

First Name Enter the first name of the account holder. Must not contain any of the following characters: !$%^*+={}|[]\;<>?~’
Middle Initial Enter the middle initial of the account holder. Must not contain any of the following characters: !$%^*+={}|[]\;<>?~’
Last Name Enter the last name of the account holder. Must not contain any of the following characters: !$%^*+={}|[]\;<>?~’
Billing Address Enter the billing street address for the credit card. Must not contain any of the following characters: !$%^*+={}|[]\;<>?~’
Billing Address 2 Enter additional billing street information, if applicable. Must not contain any of the following characters: !$%^*+={}|[]\;<>?~’
City Enter the billing city of the credit card. Must not contain any of the following characters: !@#$%^*()+={}|[]\:;<>?/~,`&
Country Select the appropriate billing country of the credit card from the list of countries.
State/Province If the Country is the United States, Canada, or Mexico, select the appropriate state/province from the list. For all other countries, the State/Province must not contain any of the following characters: !@#$%^*()+={}|[]\:;<>?/~,`&
Postal/Zip Code U.S. Zip Code format must be 5 or 9 digits (no dash). Canadian Postal Code must be in the format AnAnAn, where ‘A’ is an uppercase letter and ‘n’ is a number. A Mexican Postal Code must be 5 digits.
Credit Card Type Select the appropriate credit card type from the list.
Credit Card Number Must be digits only.
Expiration Date Select the appropriate month and year from the Expiration Date list. Cannot be before the current date.
Security Code Must be digits only.
Cancel Click the Cancel button to cancel payment.
Submit Payment Click the Submit Payment button to submit credit card payment.

 

1.1.1.1.6 Help is provided for some of the “Do any of the following apply to you?” questions where the meanings are less clear:

Field

Description

A) Do you have a communicable disease; physical or mental disorder; or are you a drug abuser or addict? Communicable DiseasesUnder United States law communicable diseases of public health significance include:
  • Chancroid
  • Gonorrhea
  • Granuloma inguinale
  • Leprosy, infectious
  • Lymphogranuloma venereum
  • Syphilis, infectious stage
  • Tuberculosis, active
  • And others as determined by the Department of Health and Human Services.

Physical or Mental Disorders

With regard to physical or mental disorders, answer ”Yes” to this question if:

(a) You currently have a physical or mental disorder and a history of behavior associated with the disorder that may pose or has posed a threat to your property, safety or welfare or that of others; or

(b) You had a physical or mental disorder and a history of behavior associated with the disorder that has posed a threat to your property, safety or welfare or that of others and the behavior is likely to recur or lead to other harmful behavior. Answer ”No” if:

(a) You currently have no physical or mental disorders; or

(b) You have or had a physical or mental disorder without associated behavior that may pose or has posed a threat to your property, safety or welfare of that of others; or

(c) You currently have a physical or mental disorder with associated behavior, but that behavior has not posed, does not currently pose nor will pose a threat to your property, safety or welfare or that of others; or

(d) You had a physical or mental disorder with associated behavior that posed a threat to your property, safety or welfare or that of others, but that behavior is unlikely to recur.

Drug Abusers and Drug Addicts

Under United States law persons may not be admissible if they have been determined to be a drug abuser or drug addict.

For further information refer to § 212(a)(1)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(1)(A), and corresponding regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations.

B) Have you ever been arrested or convicted for an offense or crime involving moral turpitude or a violation related to a controlled substance; or been arrested or convicted for two or more offenses for which the aggregate sentence to confinement was five years or more; or been a controlled substance trafficker; or are you seeking entry to engage in criminal or immoral activities? Crimes involving moral turpitude – Such offenses generally involve conduct which is inherently base, vile, or depraved and contrary to the accepted rules of morality and the duties owed to persons or society in general. There are factors, such as the age of the offender or the date of the offense, that may affect whether an offense will be considered a crime involving moral turpitude for purposes of the Immigration and Nationality Act.For further information refer to § 212(a)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2), § 101(a)(43) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43) and corresponding regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations.
C) Are you seeking to work in the U.S.; or have you ever been excluded and deported; or been previously removed from the United States; or procured or attempted to procure a visa or entry into the U.S. by fraud or misrepresentation? Individuals entering the United States under the Visa Waiver Program are admitted as non-immigrant alien visitors and may not seek employment in the United States. While Visa Waiver Program travelers may not seek employment in the United States, there are many classifications of non-immigrant and immigrant employment-sponsored visas for those who qualify.For further information refer to § 212(a)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(5).

For further information on non-immigrant and immigrant employment visas, refer to www.travel.state.gov.

D) Have you ever detained, retained, or withheld custody of a child from a U.S. citizen granted custody of the child? Any alien who, after entry of an order by a court in the United States granting custody to a person of a United States citizen child who detains or retains the child, or withholds custody of the child, outside the United States from the person granted custody by that order, is inadmissible until the child is surrendered to the person granted custody by that order.For further information refer to § 212(a)(10)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(10)(C).
E) Have you ever asserted immunity from prosecution? With regard to immunity from prosecution, answer ”Yes” to this question if all of the following apply:(a) you have committed a serious criminal offense in the United States as defined in 8 U.S.C. Sec. 1101(h), including any felony, at any time for which immunity from criminal jurisdiction was exercised; and

(b) as a consequence of the offense and exercise of immunity identified in (a), you have departed from the United States; and

(c) you have not subsequently submitted fully to the jurisdiction of the court in the United States having jurisdiction with respect to that offense.

For further information refer to § 212(a)(2)(E) and 101(h) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(2)(E) and 1101(h).

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Do travelers need to bring a paper printout of their travel authorization to the airport?

No. DHS will be able to communicate a traveler’s ESTA status to the carriers. However, DHS recommends that travelers print out the travel authorization application response in order to maintain a record of their traveler authorization application number and to have confirmation of their ESTA status.

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Is this Web site secure and private?

Yes. This Web site is operated by the United States Government and employs technology to prevent unauthorized access to the information you enter and view. Additionally, this Web site operates under the rules and regulations as specified by the United States Privacy Act and this Privacy Statement to insure the privacy of your information.

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What does my computer need to use the ESTA to submit an application for authorization to travel to the United States?

The minimum computer configuration includes:

  • An internet browser that supports 128-bit encryption.
  • All major browsers are supported. Please verify the release of the browser is the most up to date and able to accept cookies and have JavaScript enabled

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Does a traveler ever need to reapply for a travel authorization through ESTA?

Yes, there may be instances when a new travel authorization via ESTA would be required. A new travel authorization may be required in any of the following circumstances:

  • The traveler is issued a new passport
  • The traveler changes his or her name
  • The traveler changes his or her gender
  • The traveler’s country of citizenship changes; or
  • The circumstances underlying the traveler’s previous responses to any of the ESTA application questions requiring a “yes” or “no” response have changed.

Travel authorization approvals will typically be granted for a period of two years or until the applicant’s passport expires, whichever is sooner. ESTA will provide validity dates upon approval of the application. Therefore, a traveler must apply for a new travel authorization when a prior ESTA authorization or an applicant’s passport expires. The associated fee will be charged for each new application submitted.

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My travel authorization is valid for travel to the United States but will expire before I depart. Do I need to apply for a new one before my trip?

No. ESTA travel authorization needs only to be valid upon arrival in the United States.

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Updating a Travel Authorization

What information can I update?

Prior to submitting an electronic travel authorization application with the required payment information, you can update all application data fields except the passport number and passport issuing country. Once an application is complete and submitted with all the required payment information, you can still update any one of the following fields:

  • E-mail address
  • Telephone number
  • Carrier Information
  • City where you are boarding
  • Address while in the United States

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What should I do if the information on my passport has changed?

If you obtain a new passport or there is a change to your passport information, you must apply for a new travel authorization and pay the associated fees. See What information can I update? for a full listing of information that can be changed after submission of your application.

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How can applicants correct a mistake on their application?

The Web site will allow applicants to review and correct their data prior to submitting the application, including reconfirming the passport number. Prior to submitting an application with the required payment information, you can correct all application data fields except the passport number and passport issuing country. If an applicant made a mistake on their passport or biographical information he or she will need to submit a new application. Associated fee will be charged for each new application submitted. Any other mistakes may be corrected or updated by using the update function. If the traveler made a mistake in answering the eligibility questions, please see For inquiries or questions regarding this application, please click here at the bottom of each page.

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How can applicants correct a mistake on Passport Issuance Date or Passport Expiration Date after completing their travel authorization application in ESTA?

An applicant can update the Passport Issuance Date or Passport Expiration Date as long as the application has not been paid for. If an applicant enters the wrong Passport Issuance Date or Passport Expiration Date after having paid for the ESTA application, the traveler will need to re-apply for a new travel authorization. The associated fee will be charged for each new application submitted. The previous application will be canceled.

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What if I want to update my application and do not know my Application Number?

At the Welcome Page, select “Retrieve Application” under “Retrieve Previously Submitted Authorization to Travel to the United States for One or More Persons”. At the next screen select the correct button for retrieving one application or a group of applications.

Retrieve One Application

1. Enter the passport number and date of birth.
2. If you know the application number, enter the number. If you do not know the application number, enter the family name, first (given) name and passport issuing country.
3. Click Continue for the application.

Retrieve Group of Applications

1. To retrieve a group of applications, the following Group Point of Contact* information is required: Group ID, contact family name, contact first (given) name, contact birth date, and contact e-mail address.
2. If you do not have the Group ID, select the link “I do not know my Group ID” and it will be sent to the e-mail address provided when the group was created.
3. Enter the requested information.
4. Click Continue for the group of applications.

*Group Point of Contact – The person who submitted the applications for a group of travelers.

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Payment Required for a Travel Authorization

Is there a fee for a travel authorization?

Yes, there is a fee associated with the Travel Promotion Act of 2009. The fee is comprised of two parts:

  • Processing Fee. All applicants requesting an electronic travel authorization are charged for the processing of the application.
  • Authorization Fee. If your application is approved and you receive authorization to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, an additional $10.00 will be charged to your credit card. If your electronic travel authorization is denied, you are only charged for the processing of your application.

CBP is not responsible for any additional fees that may be charged by your credit card company for the transaction.

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How do I pay for my travel authorization?

All payments for electronic travel authorization applications must be made by credit card. The ESTA system currently accepts only the following credit cards: MasterCard, VISA, American Express, and Discover (JCB, Diners Club). Your application will not be submitted for processing until all payment information is received.

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Can I pay for two or more applications with one payment?

Yes. The system allows for one payment for a group of two or more applications at one time.

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How many applications can I submit for one payment?

You may submit a maximum of 50 applications for one payment.

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Can I submit an application or a group of applications and pay for them at a later time?

Single Application Payment:

Yes. You may pay for a single application within 7 days of submitting the application. After that, you will be unable to access the application. If more than 7 days pass after you submit an application and you did not pay the fee, you need to submit a new application.

Multiple Application Payment:

Yes. When two or more applications are submitted as a group, the group may be paid for any time within 7 days of submitting the second application for that group. After 7 days, you will be unable to access the applications and Group ID, and the Group Point of Contact will have to resubmit them.

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Is the credit card information I use for payment secure?

Yes. The ESTA system does not retain your credit card information after the transaction is processed.

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Multiple Application Process

When I submit the payment for a group of applications, will I receive the ESTA status for all of the applications at the same time?

Yes. The payment amount will appear once all applications have a status of “Authorization Approved” or “Travel Not Authorized”. If any application in the group returns a status of “Authorization Pending”, the payment amount will be withheld until all the applications in the group have been approved or denied.

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How do I submit a group of applications?

Prior to paying for an application, you are given the option to “Add New Application” or “Add Unpaid Application”. When applying for ESTA authorizations for a group of travelers, the following information is required of the applicant, who in this case, is the Group Point of Contact:

  • Family name
  • First (Given) name
  • Date of birth
  • E-mail address

The name of the organization making the payment may also be entered, but is optional.

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ESTA Data Privacy

How does the U.S. Government protect the privacy of ESTA data and who has access to it?

Information submitted by applicants through the ESTA Web site is subject to the same strict privacy provisions and controls that have been established for similar traveler screening programs. Access to such information is limited to those with a professional need to know.

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How long is the travel authorization application data stored?

ESTA application data remains active for the period of time that the approved ESTA is valid, which is generally two years, or until the traveler’s passport expires, whichever comes first. DHS will then maintain this information for an additional year after which it will be archived for twelve years to allow retrieval of the information for law enforcement, national security, or investigatory purposes. Once the information is archived, the number of officials with access to it will be further limited. This retention is consistent both with CBP’s border search authority and with the border security mission mandated for CBP by Congress. Data linked to active law enforcement lookout records, CBP matches to enforcement activities, and/or investigations or cases, including applications for ESTA that are denied, will remain accessible for the life of the law enforcement activities to which they are related.

As DHS transitions to a paperless I-94W, the ESTA application data will replace the data that is collected through the paper I-94W. In those instances where ESTA application data is used in lieu of the information collected through the paper I-94W, the ESTA application data will be maintained in accordance with the retention schedule for the I-94W, 75 years.

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Does DHS share ESTA data with others?

The information collected by and maintained in ESTA may be used by other components of DHS on a need-to-know basis consistent with the component’s mission.

Under current agreements between DHS and the Department of State (DOS), information submitted during an ESTA application may be shared with consular officers of DOS to assist them in determining whether a visa should be issued to an applicant after a travel authorization application has been denied.

Information may be shared with appropriate federal, state, local, tribal, and foreign governmental agencies or multilateral governmental organizations responsible for investigating or prosecuting the violations of, or for enforcing or implementing, a statute, rule, regulation, order or license, or where DHS believes information would assist enforcement of civil or criminal laws. Additionally, information may be shared when DHS reasonably believes such use is to assist in anti-terrorism efforts or intelligence gathering related to national or international security or transnational crime. All sharing will remain consistent with the Privacy Act System of Records Notice, which was published in the Federal Register on June 10, 2008 and is available on the DHS Web site.

While carriers will not receive the ESTA application information that travelers provide to DHS, they will receive confirmation of a passenger’s ESTA status via the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) indicating whether an ESTA is required and whether authorization has been granted.

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Travel Not Authorized

What should a traveler do if he or she is not approved for travel through ESTA?

If an ESTA application is denied and the traveler wishes to continue with the trip, the traveler will be required to apply for a nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. For more about visa application procedures, please visit www.travel.state.gov.

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Should a traveler not authorized for travel through ESTA reapply?

If a traveler is denied ESTA authorization and his or her circumstances have not changed, a new application will also be denied. A traveler who is not eligible for ESTA is not eligible for travel under the Visa Waiver Program, and should apply for a nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Reapplying with false information in order to qualify for a travel authorization will make the traveler permanently ineligible for travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.

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How can a traveler find out the reason a travel authorization was denied?

DHS has carefully developed the ESTA program to ensure that only those individuals who are ineligible to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program or those whose travel would pose a law enforcement or security risk are refused a travel authorization. While the ESTA Web site provides a link to the DHS Travel Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP) Web site, there are no guarantees that a request for redress through DHS TRIP will resolve the Visa Waiver Program ineligibility that caused an applicant’s ESTA application to be denied.

Please note that Embassies and Consulates are not able to provide details about ESTA denials or resolve the issue that caused the ESTA denial. Embassies and Consulates will be able to process an application for a non-immigrant visa that, if approved, will be the only way that a traveler whose ESTA application has been denied would be authorized to travel to the United States.

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If a traveler was denied approval and needs to travel immediately, is it possible to get an emergency visa appointment at a United States Embassy or Consulate?

Unfortunately, the Department of State is unable to guarantee next-day appointments because of varying demand for visas. Information about the appointment process is available at the nearest consular section or at www.travel.state.gov. As a result, travelers are encouraged to apply for an ESTA approval far in advance of the proposed travel.

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[1] With respect to all references to “country” or “countries” in this document, it should be noted that the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, Pub. L. No. 96-8, Section 4(b)(1), provides that “[w]henever the laws of the United States refer or relate to foreign countries, nations, states, governments, or similar entities, such terms shall include and such laws shall apply with respect to Taiwan.” 22 U.S.C. § 3303(b)(1). Accordingly, all references to “country” or “countries” in the Visa Waiver Program authorizing legislation, Section 217 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1187, are read to include Taiwan. This is consistent with the United States’ one-China policy, under which the United States has maintained unofficial relations with Taiwan since 1979.