An ESTA is required for entry. We can guide you through the application process.
All about ESTA
If you’re travelling to the United States to visit as a tourist or for business, the ESTA Visa USA will be of interest to you. The ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization. It was introduced in 2009 by the Visa Waiver Program, for citizens from eligible countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany and Japan, among others.
A clear advantage of the waiver is that it lets you visit the United States without having to go to an embassy or consulate to apply for a traditional visa. Moreover, when you obtain your ESTA, you’ll be able to visit the United States multiple times for up to 90 days each. You can visit for up to 2 years from the date of your ESTA’s issue.
Fortunately, it’s very easy to apply for the USA ESTA. You simply fill in the straightforward online application form, supplying your personal and passport information, then make your payment. This takes only a few minutes. You receive your valid ESTA by email.
Alternatively, if you’re travelling to the USA to study or for employment at an American company, you’ll still need to visit your nearest US embassy or consulate.
US ESTA Visa Application Process
The ESTA application process is quick and easy. Just take the following steps:
- Enter your personal and passport information into the online application form. Your passport must be issued by an ESTA-eligible country, and be valid for the entirety of your intended stay.
- Pay the ESTA application fee, with a valid debit or credit card. At present, the cost is USD 14.00, plus Byevisa’s processing fee of USD 15.00.
- Enter a current, valid email address. We send you your accepted ESTA, which we recommend that you print and take with you to the airport.
When you’re filling in the ESTA application form, please take care that you enter your details and information accurately. This is because once you submit your application to the US government, it can’t be corrected. So it’s best to get it right the first time.
Once you’ve filled in the US ESTA application form, this typically takes just 24 hours to process, although occasionally it can take up to 72 hours. To ensure that you receive your US ESTA, it’s recommended that you submit your application at least 3 days (72 hours) before you plan to visit the United States.
Fortunately, it’s quite rare for an application to be rejected. In the unusual case that this happens, you’ll have to contact your nearest American embassy or consulate in your country to find out why and for more information.
Lastly, if you already hold a valid US visa, you don’t need to apply for a waiver.
US ESTA Requirements and Eligibility
To apply for an ESTA under America’s Visa Waiver Program, you need to be a citizen from an eligible country. To check if you belong to one of these countries, you can use Byevisa’s visa checker tool.
Alternatively, please find below a full list of the nationalities that can visit the USA with an ESTA:
Sammarinese (San Marino)
*(Please note, if you’re from Brunei, your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after your intended stay in the US.)
If you hold dual nationality, you can apply for the ESTA as long as you’re a citizen of one of the countries eligible for the Visa Waiver Program. Importantly, however, please note that you are not able to apply for a US visitor visa waiver in the following cases:
- If you apply with a passport from the new countries of St Maarten (the former Netherlands Antilles), Bonaire or Curacao, then you are not eligible under the USA’s Visa Waiver Program.
- If you’re a citizen of a country eligible under the Visa Waiver Program, but you’re also a national of Syria, Sudan, Iran or Iraq, you can’t apply for an ESTA.
- If you’re a citizen of a country eligible under America’s Visa Waiver Program, but on or since March 1, 2011, you’ve travelled to Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Iraq or Iran, you can’t apply either.
Also, please bear in mind that if you’re travelling to the USA for tourism or business from a country with a risk of yellow fever, you’ll require a vaccine before your visit. Please find a list of the countries at risk of yellow fever transmission on the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) website.
US ESTA Form and Documents
Please note that you only need to apply for an ESTA if you’re entering the United States by air or sea. If you’re entering by land, you don’t need it.
In addition, if you’re travelling to the United States with children, they too will require their own individual ESTAs, regardless of how old they are. With this in mind, your children must have their own valid passports to qualify. It’s not enough for your children to be listed on your own passport, as the parent.
To apply for an ESTA using Byevisa’s online US visa waiver application form, you first need to take the following steps:
- Enter your personal details and passport information.
- Check your passport’s validity.
- Choose which Byevisa service you need, based on how fast you want your ESTA.
- Make your payment.
Please find how to complete these steps below in more detail.
Enter the following personal information, namely:
- Your email address, so that we can send you your waiver.
- Your intended travel date to the United States.
- Your intended return date from the United States.
- Your first name, and middle name if applicable.
- Your surname, as it appears in your passport.
- Your gender, as it appears in your passport.
- Your nationality, as it appears in your passport.
- Your date of birth.
- The country where you were born.
- Your country of residence.
- Your passport number.
- The date of issue of your passport.
- The date of expiry of your passport.
Once you’ve entered these data, you are asked to select which type of visa you require. In this case, this is an ESTA for USA.
In addition, your passport needs to comply with the following criteria:
- Your passport must be an electronic passport that includes a digital chip with biometric information.
- Your passport must have at least 6 months (186 days) of validity remaining before your planned travel date.
- In addition to your passport number, you have to provide your Personal Identification Number (PIN), which you can find in your passport.
Once you’ve entered your personal information, and checked that your passport meets the required criteria, you can choose between one of Byevisa’s services, depending on how quickly you need your US ESTA. These services include:
- Standard Service. This typically takes 24 hours to arrive.
- Rapid Service. This typically takes just 4 hours to arrive (available soon).
- Highly Rapid Service. This typically takes 30 minutes to arrive (available soon).
When you select which of Byevisa’s services you require, based on how quickly you need your US ESTA, you must pay for the application. We accept debit and credit cards, and also offer secure payment via PayPal.
To pay by credit or debit card, you need the following details:
- Your full name as it appears on your debit or credit card.
- Your card number.
- The card’s month of expiration.
- The card’s year of expiration.
- Your card’s 3-digit security number, typically featured on the back.
Alternatively, if you choose to pay by PayPal, when you click the ‘PayPal’ button, you’ll be asked to log into your account to make payment.
Lastly, please find below an example of a valid US ESTA, so that once your application is accepted, you know what you’ll be receiving in your email inbox.
US ESTA Status Check
A typical ESTA application takes just 24 hours to process, and in rare cases up to 72 hours. Moreover, if you select Byevisa’s Rapid or Highly Rapid service, you’ll receive your valid waiver in just 4 hours or 30 minutes, respectively.
However, if you’d like to check the status of your ESTA application, you can do so on the US government’s Customs & Border Patrol website here. To do this, first go to the ESTA homepage, then click on ‘Check Existing Application’, and then ‘Check Individual Status’. You need to enter the following information:
- Your passport number.
- Your date of birth.
- Your ESTA application number, if you know it.
- If you don’t know it, you’ll need your passport issue date, expiry date, and country of issue.
With this service, you can check if your ESTA application (1) has been approved, (2) remains valid, (3) has expired, (4) or if your application has been rejected.
If you’ve just applied for your ESTA, you may find that the service returns ‘No Application Found’. In this case, please try again in a few hours. Alternatively, it might be worth making sure that you’ve entered your details accurately.
How Much Is an ESTA for USA?
An ESTA costs USD 14.00. The US Department of Homeland Security applied this fee in September 2010. This cost is per ESTA application, not per entry to the United States. The cost is the same for all applicants, whether you’re an adult, student, pensioner, or if you’re applying for your children.
You can also pay the ESTA application fee in euros, although how much you pay will depend on the exchange rate.
In addition, depending on how fast you want your waiver, Byevisa charges the following fees:
- Standard Service (USD 15.00).
- Rapid Service (available soon).
- Highly Rapid Service (available soon).
What Is the Difference Between an ESTA vs an American B1/B2 Visa?
The first difference is that, technically, the ESTA isn’t a visa, but rather a waiver, valid under the United States’ Visa Waiver Program. By comparison, the B1/B2 are visas.
The second difference is the fact that only citizens of countries eligible for an ESTA under the Visa Waiver Program can apply for an ESTA. By comparison, if you’re not a citizen of one of these countries, you’ll have to apply for a B1/B2 visa.
A third difference is that you can apply for an ESTA online, while if you wish to obtain a B1/B2 visa, you’ll have to visit a US embassy or consulate.
In brief, a B1 is for business visits to the USA, while the B2 is for tourists.
More US ESTA Questions and Information
Please find below more information about the USA visitor visa waiver, in case you have any questions we’ve not answered in the section above. Just click on the relevant question to open the answer.