USA ESTA Information

Travelling to the United States of America:
Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA)

An Electronic System for Travel Authorisation is an automated system used to determine the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Programme. Currently citizens of countries eligible for the Visa Waiver Programme fill in a green form (I94W) while en route to the USA. ESTA became compulsory from 12 January 2009. Passengers will need to apply for one no later than 72 hours prior to departure. Customers may not be able to travel if they do not have a valid ESTA.

We recommend that customers apply at the time of booking or at least 72 hours before travel.  It is your responsibility to do this.

Customers making late bookings can still apply, but there is risk that they may not receive immediate confirmation. Customers do not need to have firm travel plans in order to apply for an ESTA.

It’s easy to apply – customers can provide the information on their PC or most internet ready mobile phones at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov

The USA Department of Homeland Security recommends that applications be submitted no less than 72 hours prior to travel. In most cases a response will be received immediately, although the process may take up to 15-20 minutes to complete. The information required for an ESTA is the same as is currently required by the green visa waiver form (I94W). Travellers must provide biographical data including name, date of birth, and passport information.

Address in the United States and flight detail elements of the application form are optional. Travellers will also be required to answer Visa Waiver Programme eligibility yes/no questions regarding communicable diseases, arrests and convictions for certain crimes, and past history of visa refusal among others.

Passengers will still need to fill in the green visa waiver form (I94W) although these forms will be phased out over time. Until further notice, you must also complete the green I94 form available at check-in or onboard the flight.

Which countries participate in the visa waiver scheme?

Andorra, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom (not passports endorsed British Subjects).

Approved ESTA applications are valid for two years and allow for multiple trips to the USA. However, a new ESTA will have to be obtained if an individual has a new passport within the two-year period.

Passport, Visa and health requirements are the sole responsibility of the guest to obtain. Guests who do not possess the proper documentation may be prevented from boarding the flight or vessel without refund.

The US Embassy in London has some useful FAQs and other information.

The ESTA website also has further information at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov