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FAQ

Successful completion of your ESTA application establishes that you are eligible to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. It does not, however, guarantee admittance to the United States. Upon arrival to the United States, you will be interviewed by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at your port of entry (a land border, airport, or port). That CBP officer will decide whether or not you’re permitted to enter the United States.
All passengers visiting the United States from a Visa Waiver Program (VWP) country must apply for Travel Authorization prior to traveling to the United States by air, land, or sea. Travel Authorization is also required by children who do not yet require a ticket of their own to travel.
The Electronic System for Travel Authorization, or ESTA, is an online application system developed by the United States government to pre-screen travelers wishing to visit America. As of January 12, 2009, visitors traveling under the Visa Waiver Program must apply for a Travel Authorization prior to visiting the United States. Additionally, all visitors must have a machine-readable passport that provides valid admittance into the United States. The ESTA application process can be completed entirely online and is operated by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS). During the ESTA application process, you’re required to enter biographical information about yourself. You’ll also need to answer questions about VWP eligibility. We recommend completing your your ESTA as soon as you start making plans to travel to the United States.
Your ESTA will be valid for up to two years from the date of issue or until the date on which your passport expires (whichever comes first). After your Travel Authorization expires, you’re welcome to re-apply and renew your ESTA for another two year period.
Your ESTA is not a visa. Instead, the ESTA is only available to citizens or nationals of countries that do not require visas to enter the United States. Your ESTA functions in lieu of a United States visa, but it does not replicate a United States visa.
We recommend completing the ESTA process as soon as you start preparing to travel to the United States. At the very latest, you should complete the ESTA process at least 72 hours prior to travel. Applications can be submitted at any time prior to entering the United States.