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ESTA stands for the Electronic System for Travel Authorization: a joint, web-based program administered by Customs and Border Protection and the Department of Homeland Security.
ESTA prescreens travelers who are planning short-term travel to the United States under the VWP (trips of 90 days or less, for either business or tourism) to make sure they are not a security or law enforcement risk. It was implemented to meet American legislative requirements to boost the security of the VWP.
ESTA was implemented on August 1, 2008, and became mandatory for all travelers coming from VWP countries on January 12, 2009.
If you receive an ESTA, it means you qualify to travel under the VWP, but it does not necessarily mean you will be admitted to the USA. Admission to the US is based on inspection by a Customs and Border Protection officer once you disembark in the USA.
You can apply for ESTA on our website. Follow the instructions and answer the questions posed in our application form to make your applications.
Information you will need to make an ESTA application includes your passport information; history of communicable disease; criminal history, if any; any other names in use or aliases; your history regarding visa-admissions to the USA; parents' names; city of birth; national identification number, if any; contact information; and a credit card number.
Citizens of VWP countries planning to enter the USA by air or sea are eligible to use the Electronic System for Travel Authorization program.
Travel must be on an approved carrier. Travelers must have a valid passport and a round-trip ticket, with their trip ending outside the US, to be eligible for ESTA. Each traveler must apply, including minor children under 18, and all eligibility conditions of the VWP (such as ensuring your passport will not expire within six months of your planned return date from the US must be met.
The Visa-Waiver program (and through it, the Electronic System for Travel Authorization program) is available to citizens of Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.