If you are a citizen of one of the 39 countries mentioned below, you can travel to the US for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. The VISA Waiver Program (WVP) requires you to register your information online through Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), pay a small fee and you are good to go!
What is ESTA?
The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). It does not mean that you will be automatically able to enter the country, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers determine admissibility in the US airport after your arrival. The ESTA application only collects biographic information and answers to VWP eligibility questions, it is a mandatory document that everyone (also for babies) needs to fill out at least 72 hours before your flight.
Which countries can apply for the ESTA?
The following countries can participate in Visa Waiver Program and use ESTA.
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
- San Marino
- South Korea
- United Kingdom**
*Must be a citizen or national.
**Must have permanent right to abode in England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, and the Isle of Man.
What travel reasons are valid when applying through ESTA?
You can enter the US via Visa Waiver Program (and fill out the ESTA) for the following reasons :
- consult with business associates
- attend a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention or conference
- attend short-term training
- negotiate a contract
- vacation (holiday)
- visit with friends or relatives
- medical treatment
- participation in social events hosted by organizations
- participation by amateurs in musical, sports, or similar events or contests
- enrollment in a short recreational course of study, not for credit toward a degree
For more detail, see the official booklet.
What documents do you need to fill out ESTA?
To fill out ESTA you will only need :
- Your passport (valid for at least 6 months after your planned departure from the United States),
- A Credit card or debit card,
- Email address, computer, internet.
How long does it takes to do the ESTA?
The procedure is easy and should not take more than 10 minutes.
How much does it cost to do the ESTA?
The charge is $14 ( $10 go to the Corporation for Travel Promotion and a $4 fee is levied by the CBP for administration costs).
For how long ist the ESTA authorization valid?
Each travel authorization under ESTA can be valid for up to two years. However, a Visa Waiver Program traveler must obtain a new ESTA authorization if they are issued a new passport, or change their name, gender or country of citizenship. In addition, a traveler must obtain a new ESTA authorization if any answer to the ESTA application eligibility questions changes.