Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)
New $14 Fee for ESTA registrations made on or after September 8, 2010
What is ESTA?: The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is a program run by the Department of Homeland Security’s Custom and Border Protection Service .
Who is Required to Register?: If you are travelling under the Visa Waiver Program in order to transit the U.S. or to stay for up to 90 days as a tourist or for a business purpose that does not normally require a visa, you must pre-register with ESTA in advance of your planned travel date. If you are travelling with a visa for tourism or work- or study-related purposes, you are not required to register with ESTA. American citizens are not required to register with ESTA.
When Should I Register?: The Embassy recommends all VWP travelers register using the ESTA website at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov AT LEAST two weeks in advance of the planned departure date. This timeframe will allow the very small number of registrants whose ESTA registration is not approved time enough to make an appointment for a visa application at the Embassy. Please keep in mind that due to caseloads and staffing, the Embassy is rarely able to accommodate last-minute visa application appointment requests for ESTA registrants who are denied preapproval too close to their planned travel date. Register early!
Where do I Register?: There is only one official ESTA registration website (https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov). Some Internet search engines may direct you to an ESTA registration site that requests payment. The ONLY way to register for ESTA is through the Department of Homeland Security’s Custom and Border Protection Service website at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov. If you are asked to pay anything other than the ESTA fee, you are not on the official ESTA registration website.
How Much is the ESTA Fee?: All ESTA registrations made on or after September 8, 2010, will require payment of a $14.00 fee at the time of registration. This fee is made up of two fees: a $4.00 program administration fee (payable by all registrants) and a $10.00 Travel Promotion Act fee that is only payable if the ESTA is approved. Registrations made prior to September 8, 2010, are free and will remain valid for two years or until the traveler’s passport expires (whichever comes first). You do not need to re-register with ESTA because of this new fee until your existing ESTA registration expires.
How do I Pay the ESTA Fee?: Payment for ESTA registrations made on or after September 8, 2010, must be made online using one of the following credit cards: American Express, Discover, Mastercard or Visa. Registrants may also use debit cards that show the Mastercard or Visa symbol on the face of the card. The ESTA system will have all details about how to make the payment at the time of registration.
Does ESTA Guarantee Entry Into the United States?: An ESTA approval is not a guarantee of admission to the United States. ESTA approval, like a U.S. visa, is preauthorization for an airline or ship to board passengers bound for the United States. Admission decisions can only be made by the Customs and Border Protection officer at the port of entry (or at airports with preclearance inspection overseas).
PLEASE NOTE: Approval of travel by ESTA is valid only for travelers with passports that meet the U.S. biometric standards for travel under the Visa Waiver Program. Before you register for ESTA, please ensure that your passport meets the requirements for visa-free travel under the Visa Waiver Program. To determine whether or not your passport meets these standards, click on the following links to:
- ESTA fee began September 8, 2010
- ESTA Fact Sheet
- ESTA fee - How to pay
- How long is my ESTA application good for? How long can I stay in the U.S.
- Can I apply for ESTA if my travel plans are not definite?
- How do I apply for, or change information in the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)?
- I made a mistake on my ESTA application
How do I correct a mistake on my ESTA application?
- I Can't Find (or didn't print out) My ESTA Application Number
- I'm trying to retrieve my ESTA application, but get a message "No Application Found."
- How do I know if my ESTA application was approved?
- Do I need to show a printed copy of the VWP form that I have completed online?
- Answers to many more questions can be found by visiting the U.S. Customs and Border Protection ESTA Fact Sheet
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