The US ESTA visa waiver is an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). It is a mandatory requirement for all travelers from visa-exempt nationalities to visit the United States of America, Puerto Rico, or the US Virgin Islands for stays of up to 90 days.
Visitors to the U.S. traveling on valid visas are not required to apply for an ESTA authorization.
ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization. This online application system was introduced by the US government in 2009 to facilitate the process of applying for a US visa waiver for purposes of tourism, business, or to transit through the country to another destination.
ESTA for the United States is available to visitors of 40 nationalities that participate in the US visa waiver program. It allows eligible citizens to travel to the U.S. for tourism or business without first obtaining a visa. Passengers simply have to complete a quick online form to receive an approved ESTA linked to the traveler’s passport. The ESTA application collects biographic information and answers to VWP eligibility questions. This only takes a few minutes to complete. ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel, though it is recommended that travelers apply as soon as they begin preparing travel plans or prior to purchasing airline tickets.
Accompanied and unaccompanied children, regardless of age, are also required to obtain an independent ESTA approval.
An approved ESTA is a multiple–entry travel authorization. This means the holder can travel to the United States multiple times during its period of validity which is 2 years from the date of issue, or until the current passport expires.
A new ESTA is required if: (1) the traveler is issued a new passport; (2) the traveler changes his or her name; (3) the traveler changes his or her gender; (4) the traveler’s country of citizenship changes; or (5) the circumstances underlying the traveler’s previous responses to any of the ESTA application questions requiring a “yes” or “no” response have changed.
ESTA was previously not required to enter the US by land, however it is now a requirement. Visa-exempt passport holders must have a valid ESTA to enter the US at all ports of entry.
ESTA authorizes stays for up to 90 days. Visa-exempt individuals who wish to travel to the USA for longer than 3 consecutive months, or for purposes other than business or tourism, will be required to apply for a visa for the United States.
This may be a work visa, student visa, or another visa type depending on the purpose of the stay. All of these US visa options must be applied for by making an appointment at a US embassy, consulate, or other US diplomatic government office.
Find below a list of all the nationalities required to apply for a US ESTA.