Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)

All nationals or citizens of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries who plan to travel to the United States for temporary business or pleasure without a visa require an approved ESTA prior to boarding a carrier to travel by air or sea to the United States under the VWP. This does not apply to U.S. citizens traveling abroad or travelers who hold a U.S. visa.

If an application for travel authorization is denied and the traveler wishes to continue with the trip, he/she will be required to apply for a visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

→ For updated information on how to prevent an ESTA or Visa overstay in the United States

Apply for ESTA

An approved ESTA travel authorization:

  • is required for all travelers, independent of age
  • should be done at least 72 hours before travel. Real-time approvals will no longer be available and arriving at the airport without a previously approved ESTA will likely result in being denied boarding.
  • is valid for up to two years or until the traveler’s passport expires, whichever comes first;
  • is valid for multiple entries into the U.S.; and
  • is not a guarantee of admissibility to the United States at a port of entry. ESTA approval only authorizes a traveler to board a carrier for travel to the U.S. under the VWP. In all cases, CBP officers make admissibility determinations at our ports of entry.
  • costs 14 U.S. Dollars.

After entering the US you may travel to Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean within 90 days and re-enter the US using any mode of transport. You may also enter the US without a visa traveling from Canada or Mexico for up to 90 days (please note that there will be a $6.00 fee, payable only in US dollars). You will have to show proof of the ability to finance your trip at the port of entry.

ESTA Advisory Statement

VWP travelers should be aware that unauthorized third-parties have established Web sites, which charge visitors seeking to travel to the United States under the VWP, for information about ESTA and for submitting ESTA applications to DHS on behalf of the traveler. These businesses and Web sites are not endorsed by, associated with, or affiliated in any way with DHS or the United States Government. Use of a private service to apply for travel authorization via ESTA will not expedite the granting of approval.

If your passport does not meet the requirements below, then you will need a visa.

Passport: (Both electronic and non-electronic passports): Visa Free Travel
Starting April 1, 2016: All travellers require an electronic passport (e-Passport).

Children’s Passports: Children’s passports (Kinderreisepass) are eligible for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) if issued or extended before or on 26 October 2006. The document must also then meet normal VWP eligibility requirements in that it be machine-readable and possess a digital photograph of the bearer integrated into the biographical data page. Children’s passports issued or extended after 26 October 2006 require a visa for travel.

Invalid for VWP Travel, Visa Required

  • Temporary Passport
  • Children’s “Kinderausweis”
  • Travel ID
  • Travel Document