From January 12 2009, Electronic Travel Authorization (ESTA) became mandatory for all travelers before visiting the United States either by air or sea. Citizens from Visa Waiver countries must apply for ESTA (U.S. Travel Authorization) to be eligible for admittance into the United States.

What is ESTA?

Travel formalities for UK Citizens Travelling to the US

Citizens of the UK who wish to travel to the United States are exempt from visa requirements. This is made possible under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) of which the UK is a participant. UK citizens will however need to obtain an approved ESTA (Electronic System Travel Authorization) before they will be allowed to enter the country. In light of the spike in terrorist activities over recent years, the US government saw it fit to set up a pre-screening system for all travelers from Visa Waiver countries. Thus the Electronic System for Travel Authorization or ESTA was borne and became a mandatory component of the Visa Waiver Program on January 12, 2009. The ESTA program is an online, e visa application system that allows the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to pre-screen all travelers who enjoy exemption from VISA requirements before they board a US bound airplane or ship.

ESTA for Authorization Tourist Trip or Short-Term Business Trip 

If you're a national of a qualifying VWP country and will need to transit through the US to another country such as Mexico, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands under the VWP for the purpose of conducting short-term business or for tourism visit, you will need to obtain an ESTA. If you're travelling with a minor, that's a child under 18 years, who is also a citizen of a VWP country, you will need to apply for ESTA for the child. 

The application process for ESTA can take up to a few weeks, although the ESTA Webiste recommends that the application be made at least 72 hours before departure. We recommend that you avoid applying in rush, take some time to ensure that you understand the application process, and verify your validity for an ESTA before applying. If your application is denied, you will have to apply for a B-1 Visitor Visa or B-2 Tourist Visa. A free ESTA Application (eligibility test) is available.

The ESTA is a prerequisite for citizens of VWP member countries who wish to travel by air or sea to the United States as a final destination or in transit to another destination. There's no guarantee that you will gain permission to enter the US even when granted a travel authorization. Remember that it is not a visa. The US immigration will conduct checks to ascertain the validity of your travel authorization. 

There are four steps to the ESTA application process. You will first need to download the ESTA form then fill in the required data and submit the form electronically. The next step is to submit the required payment. You will then receive a confirmation email reflecting the final decision. This will one of three responses: Authorization Approved, Authorization Pending or Travel Not Authorized. 

ESTA is valid for entry into the US for two years, but you are only allowed to stay a maximum of ninety days per visit. This 90 days is calculated from the day immigration grants you access and you enter the country. In case of you have lost your esta, you can click on the link for further informations. You can also have a look at our ESTA glossary for explanations.

Official ESTA application

  • Andorra





    New Zealand



  • Australia

    Czech Republic







  • Austria








  • Belgium





    Republic of Malta

    South Korea

    United Kingdom

  • Brunei





    San Marino


US ESTA Application form is an online system implemented by the United States Government and also managed by the Department of Homeland Security, that determines the eligibility of citizens or nations to visit the USA, prior to initiating the travel or work purpose.

The purpose of this ESTA application is to conduct an initial screening of passengers before opening the right to visit the United States. With Electronic Travel Authorization (ESTA) you are eligible for stays of 90 days or less in the USA.

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What is ESTA and do I need to apply?

ESTA is an online system application related to travelers from Visa Waiver Countries for tourism, business or transit or medical purpose. ESTA Travel authorizations are valid for 2 years. When travel to the US with an ESTA Travel authorization, you must stay for a maximum of 90 days.


How long does it take to apply for ESTA?

It takes between 5 and 10 minutes to complete the ESTA online application form. You will receive your travel authorization by mail within 24 hours of submission.


Where can I apply for ESTA?

You must apply for ESTA USA authorization. It is not necessary to have a flight ticket or hotel booking to submit your application. You should submit your form at least 72 hours in advance of your departure. Apply online here.

First Time ESTA VISA / ESTA USA Applicant?

Update your Travel Authorization?