Published: Aug 16, 2019, Updated: Mar 11, 2020
Finding U.S. travel authorization requirements can be difficult for travelers holding a single passport. How about if you are a dual citizen or have multiple passports? This article is intended to provide information to individuals who hold multiple passports and want to learn about visa or ESTA visa waiver requirements when traveling to the United States.
An ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization), is a visa waiver which enables passport holders of visa waiver countries to enter the United States for visits of up to 90 days. The ESTA can be applied for entirely online. Completing an application takes approximately 10 minutes and approvals are granted within 72 hours. Thus, an ESTA is a simple and convenient option for travelers wishing to visit the United States for tourism, business, medical or transit purposes.
If you are not eligible for ESTA based on the ESTA requirements, or have been denied an ESTA, a U.S. visa would be your next option. A U.S. visa requires completion of a DS-160 form, as well as attendance at a U.S. consulate or embassy for an interview regarding your previous travel history and travel purpose in the United States. Furthermore, visa applications require additional processing time to physically issue the visa in a passport and post it back to the applicant. The entire visa application process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.
Regardless of if you choose to apply for an ESTA or a visa, the passport you choose to travel with to the United States must have an approved ESTA or U.S. visa issued before your departure to the United States.
You can use the passport of your choice for the ESTA application. You should continue to use the passport of this country for any future ESTA or visa applications and your U.S. travels, as it will reduce the likelihood of any processing delays or issues that may arise if you alternate among different passports.
Enter the most recent passport information regardless of the expiry date for any additional passports you still hold.
If you hold citizenship for another country yet do not have a passport for that country, you will still need to disclose the other citizenship, yet on the application form you may leave the ‘Passport Number’ field blank, or fill it with a sequence of zeroes if prompted.
No, if you are a U.S. citizen or passport holder, you should not be applying for an ESTA. You should use your U.S. passport to enter the United States.
U.S. citizens entering the country with their American passports do not need a visa or visa waiver for any travel purpose. Citizens of Bermuda, Canada, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau that are traveling to the U.S. with their respective passports will typically not need a visa or visa waiver to travel to the U.S. for most tourism, business or transit purposes. However, visitors holding these passports may still be denied entry to the United States under U.S. immigration laws.
Holding multiple citizenships or passports can be confusing when it comes to applying for visas or visa waivers. To summarize, if you hold a passport from at least one visa waiver country, and a non-visa waiver country, you will be eligible to apply for ESTA. If you are a U.S. citizen and hold a passport from a visa waiver country, you do not need an ESTA and should travel to the United States using your U.S. passport. If you are denied an ESTA or are not eligible, you can still apply for a B2 tourist or B1 business visa.