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Non-Immigrant Visas

Visa Waiver Program and ESTA updates

Announcing Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) Changes:

Effective November 3, 2014

Some existing questions have been clarified to make them more user-friendly.  Additional questions have been added to the ESTA application.  The new ESTA questions include:

  • Other Names/Aliases or Other Citizenships
  • Parents Name(s)
  • National Identification Number (if applicable)
  • Contact Information (email, phone, points of contact)
  • Employment Information (if applicable)
  • City of Birth

ESTA authorization costs the applicant 14 USD and is valid for two years or until the passport expiration date, whichever comes first.  A traveler with an existing valid, approved application does not need to reapply until the expiration of the two-year approval or the expiration of their passport, whichever comes first.

Travelers who are not able to obtain ESTA authorization must apply for a visa at their nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Information submitted by travelers through ESTA will continue to be subject to the same strict privacy provisions, use limitations, and access controls as under the current system. Online processing times will not increase.

For further information on ESTA or to apply for ESTA authorization, see www.cbp.gov/esta.  Public inquiries may also be directed to 202-344-3710202-344-3710.

DHS announces Pre-Travel Authorization Program for U.S.-Bound Travelers from Visa Waiver Countries-content:

Effective September 8, 2010

On September 8 2010, a fee of US$14 was introduced for a new or renewed electronic travel authorization (ESTA).  Please click here for FAQs.

On November 17, 2008, seven countries were admitted to the Visa Waiver Program.  Nationals of these countries must obtain a travel authorization via the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to boarding a carrier to travel by air or sea to the U.S. under the VWP.

Effective January 12, 2009, nationals of all other VWP countries, such as New Zealand, will also be required to obtain ESTA authorization prior to boarding a carrier to travel by air or sea to the U.S. under the VWP.

ESTA is accessible online at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov for nationals of VWP countries.

This modern system enhances the security of the VWP and will allow the U.S. government to continue, and to expand, the VWP.  The VWP allows visitors from participating countries to travel to the U.S. for business or pleasure for 90 days or less without first obtaining a visa.

Over 200,000 travellers have sought electronic travel authorization since the ESTA site went live, and 99.6 percent of them have been approved – the vast majority in under one minute.

ESTA will determine, almost immediately in most cases, if an individual is eligible for VWP travel, and if such travel poses any law enforcement or security risks. ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel, and once approved, will be valid for up to two years or until the applicant’s passport expires, whichever comes first. Authorizations will be valid for multiple entries into the U.S.  DHS recommends that ESTA applications be submitted as soon as an applicant begins planning U.S.-bound travel, and not less than 72 hours prior to travel.

Eligible visitors seeking to travel to the United States under the VWP may apply for travel authorization via the ESTA Web site at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov.

For more information about ESTA, please visit www.cbp.gov/ESTA

The seven newly admitted countries are: Republic of Korea, Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, and the Slovak Republic.

Important Information

  • -IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT ESTA-

    On September 8 2010, a fee of US$14 was introduced for a new or renewed electronic travel authorization (ESTA).  Please click here for FAQs.