How can I apply for an ESTA?You can apply for an ESTA by submitting an online application. The application form itself takes approximately 20 minutes to complete. The ESTA is then processed by DHS (Department of Homeland Security), whereby they respond with a decision within 72 hours. To apply for an ESTA you will need your passport, travel itinerary, and employer contact details if employed.
There are several application sections on the ESTA application. Applicants are advised to review the different sections to ensure they understand the nature of what is being asked and why it’s relevant to U.S border security.
How do I check the validity of my current ESTA Application?
You can check the status of your current ESTA application before departing on a trip to the United States, retrieve your expiry date, and your ESTA authorization number by filling out a simple form in which you provide your last and first names as well as your passport details.
If your application is presently still valid, your ESTA status, expiry date, and authorization number will then be provided to you.
When you check the validity of your ESTA status, one of five different messages could be displayed. All five of them are and what they mean are discussed below.
ESTA Application Not Found
If you check your ESTA status and get a message that says ‘Application Not Found’ this typically means that somewhere on your original ESTA application form you provided the wrong biometric information. This could include mistakes such as giving the wrong name, passport number, passport country, or expiry date.
What can also cause this error to be displayed is if you supplied the wrong information on the form you submitted to check your ESTA status.
Finally, the ‘Application Not Found’ error can also be caused if the system never received an ESTA application from you in the first place. This can be because (for example) the internet connection dropped or your payment did not go through.
ESTA Application Expired
If you try to check your ESTA status and get this message, it means your ESTA application has expired. To get a new ESTA before embarking on a trip to the U.S. you will have to apply online again. It is very important to understand at this stage that it is not possible to renew an ESTA application that has expired. You can also not transfer an ESTA from one passport to a different one. You have to submit a new application based on your current details.
ESTA Application Pending
If you get this message it simply means that you recently submitted an application that is currently still being reviewed by CBP. This does not mean that your ESTA has been rejected, you just have to wait. It normally takes up to 72 hours for applications to be processed and sometimes additional security checks are carried out. When you are planning a trip to the United States, please take this into account and submit the ESTA application as early as possible.
ESTA Authorization Approved
This message is good news because it means that your ESTA application has been approved and that you are now authorized to travel to the United States. Please make notes of the ESTA application number as well as the expiry date. And before you depart on your U.S. trip make 100 percent sure you have a valid ESTA. It is advisable to check your ESTA status again on the last day before you depart to the U.S.
Even if you have a valid ESTA, this does not mean that it can not be revoked by a CBP (Customs and Border Control) agent once you arrive in the United States should he or she see fit. You will then be denied entry into the country.
ESTA Application Not Authorized
If you get this message it means your ESTA application has been reviewed and rejected. You, therefore, do not have permission to enter the U.S. under the ESTA Visa Waiver Program. You could, however, still qualify to apply for a B-2 Tourist Visa under certain circumstances and be given permission to travel to the U.S. You can get answers to any questions you might have and apply for a U.S. Visa at this U.S. government website.
Note: If you entered incorrect information or made another mistake on the ESTA application form, you should send an email to the ESTA technical support team.
Note: Everyone who has applied for an ESTA is advised to verify the status of their application before they leave for the United States to ensure they will be allowed to embark on the trip without having to pay additional fees or submit another application. You should specifically make sure that you have an ESTA authorization number. Also double-check that the authorization will be valid on the day of your departure to the United States.
What is ESTA?
If you’re intending to travel to the United States, either as a tourist, or on business, you must apply for your ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation). Citizens of countries within the VWP (Visa Waiver Program) are required to obtain an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation in order to travel to or through the US. The ESTA visa system is operated by the US Government Department for Homeland Security, and Electronic System for Travel Authorisation applications may only be made electronically online.
Good for stays of 90 days or less for transit, tourism or business purposes.
Tourism purposes include: Vacation (holiday), visit with friends or relatives, medical treatment, participation in social events hosted by fraternal, social, or service organizations, participation by amateurs in musical, sports, or similar events or contests, if not being paid for participating, enrollment in a short recreational course of study, not for credit toward a degree (for example, a two-day cooking class while on vacation).
Business purposes include: Consult with business associates, attend a scientific, educational, professional, or business convention or conference, attend short-term training (you may not be paid by any source in the United States with the exception of expenses incidental to your stay), or negotiate a contract.
Only individuals holding a passport from one of the following countries are eligible for the ESTA Visa Waiver: