Electronic System For Travel Authorization
Note: ESTA is not required for citizens of Canada.
On 12 January 2009, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) introduced ESTA, the Electronic System for Travel Authorization. This online system is part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), and all nationals or citizens of VWP countries -- excluding Canada -- who plan to travel to the United States for 90 days or less for temporary business or pleasure under the VWP need to receive an electronic travel authorization prior to boarding a U.S.-bound airplane or cruise ship.
Effective January 20, 2010, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security initiated a transition to enforced ESTA compliance, and VWP travelers who have not obtained approval through ESTA should expect to be denied boarding on any air carrier bound for the United States.
How to Apply for ESTA
Note: The instructions detailed below are also available in an illustrated version (1.17MB PDF).
Step 1: Complete your application.
To begin the process of applying for and acquiring an ESTA, click here, and select the "Apply" option. You will then be taken to a form. You need to fill out all mandatory fields (indicated by a red asterisk). Once completed, please review your form to ensure that all entered data is accurate. If your form is incomplete, you will see an error message in red.
Step 2: Submit Your Application
Once you have completed and checked your inputted information, you may submit your application. You will need to enter your passport number for verification purposes.
Step 3: Receive and Record Your Application Number
After you have submitted your application, you will receive a confirmation page with an application number. Retain this number, as it will be necessary to check your completed application's status.
Step 4: Receive A Response
After you have submitted your application, you will receive one of three responses:
- If you receive "Authorization Approved", you can travel to the U.S. under VWP. You will be provided with an Application Number and its expiration date, which you should print and take with you on your travels.
- If you receive "Authorization Pending", it means your application is under review. Please check the ESTA Web site for an update using your application confirmation number. A final response should be ready within 72 hours of your application.
- If you receive "Travel Not Authorized", you will need to apply for a visa at the nearest Embassy or Consulate.
All downloadable documents on this page are provided in PDF format. To view PDFs you must have a copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader. You may download a free version by clicking the link above.