ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization. ESTA is an online application system developed by the United States government to pre-screen travelers before they are allow to board an airplane or ship bound for the United States. Starting on January 12, 2009, any person entering the United States under the visa waiver program is required to hold an approved ESTA Travel Authorization.
All travelers entering the United States (by air or sea) under the visa waiver program are required to hold a valid ESTA travel authorization. The purpose of ESTA is to allow DHS to pre-screen all Visa Waiver Travelers before they leave their respective countries. U.S.-bound travelers are recommended to apply for a Travel Authorization at least 72 hours prior to departure.What is the Visa Waiver Program?
The visa waiver program is a U.S. government program that enables citizens and nationals from the Visa Waiver Countries to enter the United States for tourism or business purposes for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa. The advantage of entering the United States under the visa waiver program is that you can travel to the United States on short notice without obtaining a visa.Why do I need an ESTA-Application?
The USA authorities implemented this authorization procedure in order to secure travel for citizens from relevant countries who meet the necessary security standards. Furthermore, it filters those people from the authorization process who do not require thorough examination for their travel to the US - for example, those who do not meet the necessary standards must apply for the official USA Visa.Why do I need a valid ESTA for travel to the USA?
Today the ESTA-registration has replaced the previous entry form provided on aeroplanes or on ships arriving in the USA.How long is an ESTA-Authorization for the USA valid?
The approved ESTA is valid for two years or until the expiry date of the passport. Multiple entry to the US is available within this time period.Do I need an ESTA for transit the US?
Yes - even if you are travelling through the USA eg. to Cuba, then you are required to hold a valid ESTA Application.When did the regulations come into force?
The ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) was implemented by the Department for Homeland Security (abbreviation: DHS) on 7th November 2008 by law.When should I register for an ESTA before departing to the USA?
It is advised to apply for an ESTA at least 72 hours beforehand so that in case of rejection you still have time to apply and receive a full US Visa. Please note, that there is no express service for a visa at the US consulate.My ESTA was approved - what now?
A valid application permits foreigners to travel to the USA within the space of two years for a maximum of 90 days. It is important to mention, that a valid ESTA does not guarantee automatic entry on arrival. The final decision to determine whether entry is permitted lies with the border control authorities at the Customer and Border Protection.
Tip: You should make sure that the purpose of the trip is in accordance with the visa-free travel regulations. As soon as you begin to use the visa more frequently or stay longer than the permitted 90 days, you may be required to apply for a business visa or residence visa.Do children also require an ESTA registration?
Childrens passports are not valid for visa-free travel to the USA. Children with the child passport need to apply for a proper Visa or acquire a digital passport (e-passport).