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ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) and Visa Waiver Program (VWP)

The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is a fully-automated, internet-based program for citizens and eligible nationals of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries to apply for advance authorization to travel to the U.S. under the VWP.   ESTA is also available in Dutch, French and German.

The VWP is administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and allows citizens and eligible nationals of participating countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. Detailed information regarding the VWP and ESTA is available at  ESTA enhances the security of the VWP and enables the U.S. to maintain and expand participation in the program.

ESTA is mandatory for nationals of VWP countries who wish to travel to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program. VWP travelers are required to obtain an electronic travel authorization prior to boarding a carrier to travel by air or sea to the U.S.  ESTA is also mandatory for VWP travelers transiting through the U.S.  

Travelers are encouraged to apply EARLY: Please obtain your electronic travel authorization (ESTA) BEFORE you make your travel arrangements.

NOTE: The only US-government approved ESTA website is  Other, for-profit organizations and individuals advertize ESTA services for a substantial fee.  The US government has no/no connection to such organizations or individuals and is not responsible for any service they promise, actual or implied. 

How the Electronic System for Travel Authorization Works

Log onto the ESTA website at and complete an on-line application  Travelers are encouraged to apply EARLY. The web-based system will prompt you to answer basic biographical and eligibility questions.  A fee of 14 USD will be charged for every ESTA application.  Payment for ESTA must be made by credit card at . The ESTA system currently accepts only the following credit cards: MasterCard, VISA, American Express, and Discover.

In most cases you will receive a response within seconds:

  1. Authorization Approved: Travel authorized.
  2. Travel Not Authorized: Traveler must obtain a nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate before traveling to the U.S.
  3. Authorization Pending: Traveler will need to check the ESTA Web site for updates within 72 hours to receive a final response.

An approved travel authorization via ESTA is:

  • Required for all VWP travelers prior to boarding a carrier to travel by air or sea to the U.S. under the VWP.
  • Valid, unless revoked, for up to two years or until the traveler’s passport expires, whichever comes first;
  • Valid for multiple entries into the U.S. As future trips are planned, or if an applicant’s destination addresses or itineraries change after their authorization has been approved, they may easily update that information through the ESTA Web site; and
  • 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. (For additional information, please visit "For International Visitors" at .)

VWP travelers who do not have an approved ESTA travel authorization prior to travel will be denied boarding and/or admission at a U.S. port of entry.

If you have a problem with ESTA, you may contact DHS directly in the United States by calling +1.202-344-3710, from Monday through Friday, 9AM-5PM, Eastern Standard Time.  However, do NOT call DHS if the solution to your problem is to be found in the “Help” function of the online ESTA form.  Furthermore, the U.S. Embassy has no ability to correct errors in ESTA or solve technical difficulties.

If you made a mistake in answering question (a) on health-related grounds or question (g) about immunity from prosecution, you can CORRECT these questions ONLY by UPDATING your ESTA application.  You will not be charged a new ESTA fee.

Eligible Countries:

Countries currently enrolled in the Visa Waiver Program include:

  • Andorra
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Brunei
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Republic of Korea
  • San Marino
  • Singapore
  • Slovak Republic
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom

We look forward to ensuring your travel remains safe and convenient today and in the future.

Waiver of Rights

As a condition of each admission into the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, the submission of biometric identifiers (including fingerprints and photographs) during processing upon arrival in the United States shall reaffirm the waiver of any rights to review or appeal of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer’s determination as to admissibility, or to contest, other than on the basis of an application for asylum, any removal action arising from an application for admission under the Visa Waiver Program.

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