Apply for an ESTA Visa Waiver Travel Authorization

Published on: Aug 01, 2015, Last Edited: Jul 20, 2015 | Tags: ESTA, Visa Waiver Program

How do I go about applying for my a travel authorization in order to travel to the U.S?

  • Fill out and complete your application online – double check your passport number and the passport-issuing country as these cannot be changed later and you will need to initiate a new application process.
  • Submit the completed application
  • Take down your application number and store it somewhere you’ll remember it
  • Be sure to check your information before making payment
  • Make your payment
  • Application status should now be viewable after all the above steps have been completed.

Here is a breakdown of each of those steps for a clearer understanding of how to go about your application process:

Fill out and complete your application online

You will need to supply information on:

- Basic personal information

- Passport information (your passport needs to be one issued from a VWP participating country)

- Employer information

- Address and contact person or organization within the U.S.

- A contact that can be used in emergency situations

- Credit Card information

- Answers to eight pertinent security questions

If you are making a group application, please be sure to fill out an application for each individual who will be travelling to the United States. This includes infants. Each individual who wishes to travel to the U.S. under the VWP is required to have a travel authorization.

Double check your details here, especially your passport information.

Submit your application

Send your application after ensuring that your answers are indeed correct. If you need to make a quick correction, you can go back to the application by choosing the previous button BEFORE submitting your application.

Take down your application number and store it somewhere you’ll remember it

Your application number will come in handy at a later stage if you need to check your application status or to update your application details. Along with your application number, you will need to supply your passport number and date of birth to access this information.

Make your payment

Again, be sure to check your information before making payment as there are certain data fields you will NOT be able to change post-payment submission. You have up to 7 days to make your payment after initiating your application whether your application is a single application or a group application.

To make your payment, simply enter the required credit card information. Payment is required for processing the application, and then upon acceptance and approval of your travel authorization, a fee is required for approval.

How to view your application status

You’re likely to receive your application status immediately; otherwise you will need to wait approximately 72 hours if you do not receive it immediately. The system will automatically issue you information that you can use to check your application status in the event that your status has come back with a pending notification.

You can receive one of the following three responses to your application:

  • Authorization Approved

Congratulations, if you receive this message it means that you can now travel to the U.S. using your approved travel authorization under the banner of the VWP. Please note that this still does not guarantee your entry into the U.S. You will receive confirmation of the application approval and your payment receipt.

  • Travel not Authorized

You have not received authorization to travel to the U.S. under the VWP. However, a failed travel authorization does not necessarily revoke your entry into the U.S. entirely. If you still wish to travel to the U.S. you will need to obtain a visa for this purpose. You can find more information on visa applications on the www.travel.state.gov platform.

If your application is NOT accepted and you receive the travel not authorized status, it simply means that you cannot travel to the U.S. under the VWP and you will need to find another avenue for travel.

  • Authorization Pending

If you receive this status you could wait up to 72 hours for a definitive answer. Don’t fret though as it doesn’t necessarily denote a negative outcome. You can stay updated by checking your status using your previously stored application number, passport number and date of birth. To check your status, please navigate to the “Retrieve previously submitted Authorization” section.

What can I expect with regards to the security questions?

Here is some guidance pertaining to the security questions.

QUESTION

You will be asked a question regarding your mental/physical healthy, whether you have drug-related problems or if you have any one or more of the following diseases:

  • Active Tuberculosis
    • Chancroid
    • Leprosy, infectious
    • Lymphogranuloma venereum
    • Gonorrhea
    • Syphilis, infectious
    • Granuloma Inguinale

DESCRIPTION

Diseases

Contagious diseases which could massively impact the Public Health include those mentioned above.

Physical/mental disorders

You should answer “yes” to the question pertaining to physical or mental disorders if:

- You are currently suffering from a physical/mental disorder and have a family history of the specific disorder in question. Also, if your disorder has in the past, or may in the future pose as a threat to your personal property, or the safety of the people who come into contact with you.

- You previously had a mental disorder with the above description.

You should answer “no” to the question pertaining to physical or mental disorders if:

- You do not have any physical or mental illness at this time.

- You have had in the past, or have at this present time a physical or mental illness which has NOT resulted in behaviour that is obstructive to your property, your safety and/or the safety of those around you.

- You have, at this present time, a physical or mental illness and have displayed the attributes generally associated with the illness, but these traits have NOT resulted in behaviour that is obstructive to your property, your safety and/or the safety of those around you.

- You have had a physical or mental illness in the past and have displayed the attributes linked to the illness, and they have resulted in behaviour that is obstructive to your property or the safety of yourself and those around you.

Drug Abusers and Drug Addicts

It’s possible that an individual found to be a drug abuser or addict may not be a plausible candidate for travel to the U.S. You will need to answer this question carefully and honestly.

Consult the following resources for a clearer understanding on the topic:

  • § 212(a)(1)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. <<<POSSIBLY NEEDS TO BE CITED AS COPYSCAPE PICKS THIS UP AS A PLAGIARISM>>>
  • § 1182(a)(1)(A), and corresponding regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations

QUESTION

You will be asked a question regarding whether you’ve ever been arrested or convicted of a heinous crime which led to serious damage to property, or grave harm to another person or government authority?

DESCRIPTION

This generally points to such offenses that are morally depraved, vile, and corrupt and goes against all socially accepted behaviour, morals, and values.

The age of the offender and the date on which the offense took place could possibly play a role in whether the offense is considered a crime with regards to the above-mentioned elements.

QUESTION

You will be asked the question regarding to  law violations related to drug use, possession and distribution.

Consult the following resources for a clearer understanding on the topics:

  • § 212(a)(2) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. <<<POSSIBLY NEEDS TO BE CITED AS COPYSCAPE PICKS THIS UP AS A PLAGIARISM>>>
    • § 1182(a)(2), § 101(a)(43) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. <<<POSSIBLY NEEDS TO BE CITED AS COPYSCAPE PICKS THIS UP AS A PLAGIARISM>>>
    • § 1101(a) (43) and corresponding regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations.

Will I need to take along a printed version of my travel authorization to show at the airport?

There is no need to print out your travel authorization, no, as the system is fully electronic and your carrier will be able to obtain your ESTA status information from the DHS. It might be a good idea to print out the paper so as to have confirmation on hand and keep a record of your application number.

How private is the ESTA website?

Very, The ESTA website is privy to the regulations set out by the United States Privacy Act. It’s also hosted and operated by the U.S. government and they have implemented technology to ensure the security of all data and other vital information on the website. As an added privacy measure, you can take a look at the site’s Privacy Statement.

Computer requirements – what should my computer have in order to successfully submit an application on the ESTA platform?

These are the minimum requirements:

  • An internet browser with 128-bit encryption support. The browser should be updated to the latest version with JavaScript enabled and set to accept cookies. All major browsers are supported, however if you are experiencing problems, do be sure to check the above. If you still continue to experience problems, try using a different browser platform.

Under what circumstances would I need to re-apply for a travel authorization through ESTA?

It’s possible, yes.

Here are the possible scenarios which could require a new travel authorization:

  • You undergo a name change
  • You have been issued a new passport, for whatever reason.
  • You undergo a gender change
  • Your country of citizenship changes
  • If your circumstances have changed and it directly affects the validity of some of the questions you have answered on your previous application.
  • Your current travel authorization has expired due to the two-year term being fulfilled or your passport expiring. (Note that although there is a two-year period on every approved application, if your passport expires within these two years, your travel authorization will automatically expire also.)

I am the holder of a valid, approved travel authorization. However, it expires during my stay and before I leave the U.S. Will I have to apply for a new one before leaving for the U.S.?

It’s not necessary as it’s only required to hold a valid travel authorization upon arrival and for entry into the United States.

I am a dual-citizen and my non-VWP passport has expired. (Or you do not own a passport for the non-VWP country). What should I do?

Simply enter the most current information for your extra passport, even if it has expired. If you do not own a passport for the Non-VWP country, then leave the passport field blank after choosing the country from the drop-down menu.

Can I leave a mandatory field blank and will my application be turned down if I do so?

Its best not to as data for every mandatory field is required.  Mistaken information won’t necessary result in a denial of an application, but may require extra time to process before a definitive answer can be given to the applicant.

Why is my employer information relevant?

Your employment info helps to establish that you are not planning on entering the United States as an immigrant. Your status for travel authorization is still, only within a non-immigrant capacity and as an individual you need to exhibit your intention of returning to your country of origin.

If you hold a passport from a visa waiver country such as the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand or other Western European Country, and wish to obtain an ESTA for tourist, business, medical or transit purposes, get started on your application now:

Apply for ESTA

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Apply for ESTA

ESTA is a mandatory travel authorization for travelers visiting the United States either by Sea or Air for tourism, transit or business visits under 90 days.

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