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How do I apply for an ESTA?

To apply for an ESTA, you must complete an Individual Application. Either select "New Application" and then "Individual Application," or select "Individual Application" under "Apply" in the global menu. If you are submitting more than one application, refer to Submitting a Group of Applications. In your application, enter all required information labeled with a red asterisk. You will be asked to provide: basic biographic information; information from your VWP eligible passport and other passports; your current or previous employer; your address and point of contact in the United States; an emergency point of contact; and payment information. You will also be asked to answer nine security questions. Each member of your party must have an approved travel authorization or a visa, regardless of age, prior to traveling to the United States.

Review Your Application - In Step 5 of the Individual Application process, you can review your answers for accuracy before selecting "Next" and submitting your application. To make any corrections, you can select "Edit" in the corresponding application section and make updates. Once your updates are made, you can click "Update," then "Confirm and Continue" to proceed to Step 6 to "Pay Now and Complete Application."

Record Your Application Number - After you submit your application, the system will provide you with an application number in Step 6. Record this application number for your records, however note that your application is still unpaid. To retrieve your application, to check the status, or to update your application, you will be asked to provide your application number, passport number, and date of birth.

Make Payment - After reviewing your payment summary on Step 6, check “Disclaimer” box and click “Pay Now” you will be taken to the final step where you enter in payment information for payment of fees associated with the Travel Promotion Act of 2009.

Check Your Application Status - In most cases, the Electronic System for Travel Authorization will return an Application Status immediately. In cases where more time is needed to process an electronic travel authorization application, an answer will usually be returned within 72 hours. Information will be provided to check the application status if you receive a pending response. The three possible responses to an electronic travel authorization application are:

  • Authorization Approved. Your travel authorization has been approved and you are authorized to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. The system displays confirmation of the application approval and a payment receipt notice showing the amount or your payment. A travel authorization does not guarantee admission to the United States as a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer at a port of entry will have the final determination.
  • Travel Not Authorized. You are not authorized to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. You may apply for a visa from the Department of State for your travel. Please visit the U.S. Department of State Web site at http://www.travel.state.gov for additional information about applying for a visa. This response does not deny entry into the United States. This response only prohibits you from traveling to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. The system also displays a payment receipt notice showing the amount of your payment for the processing of the ESTA application.
  • Authorization Pending. Your travel authorization is under review because an immediate determination could not be made for your application. This response does not indicate negative findings. A determination will usually be available within 72 hours. Please return to this Web site and choose "Check ESTA Status," and then "Individual Application." Your application number, passport number, and birth date will be required to check the status of your application.