ESTA Requirements Summary
Citizens of South Korea are eligible to apply for ESTA as part of the Visa Waiver Program
ESTA can be used for tourism, business, transit, medical or other temporary purposes
An approved ESTA allows travelers to stay up to 90 days per visit to the U.S.
South Korean citizens traveling on commercial airlines or sea carriers can apply for ESTA
South Korean citizens will also need to fulfil other ESTA requirements
Are South Korean citizens eligible for ESTA?
Yes, as part of the Visa Waiver Program, South Korean citizens can apply for an ESTA, which stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization. South Korean citizens who wish to apply for ESTA will need to meet the necessary ESTA requirements.
What is ESTA?
ESTA was launched in 2009 as a way to process the data of visitors entering the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The data is used to determine if a traveler poses a security or immigration risk to the United States, U.S. citizens or residents. ESTA is a visa waiver that enables citizens of Visa Waiver countries, such as South Korea, to enter the United States without a visa. ESTA is a travel authorization which can be obtained online and is processed within 72 hours of submitting an ESTA application.
What activities does an ESTA allow me to do?
An approved ESTA allows South Korean citizens to visit the United States for tourism, business, transit, medical or short study purposes for up to 90 days per visit. If you wish to stay in the United States beyond 90 days, you should apply for a B1 Business or B2 Tourist Visa.
Can an ESTA be used for multiple entries?
Yes, South Korean citizens can use an approved ESTA for multiple visits to the United States. There is no limit on the number of entries to the United States, however, if Customs and Border Protection suspects you are trying to circumvent immigration rules or restrictions then you may be denied entry.
What are the accepted methods of payment on the ESTA form?
South Korean applicants can pay the ESTA application fee using a number of debit or credit cards such as those issued by Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Diner’s Club, Maestro or JCB. The payment is requested online at the time of submission and is required to obtain a decision on your ESTA application.
How long is an ESTA valid?
An approved ESTA either lasts two years or to the date of when your passport expires. If your ESTA expires you will need to apply for a new authorization.
Under what circumstances will I need a new ESTA?
You will need to apply for a new ESTA if any of the following circumstances apply:
- Your passport expires
- You obtain a new passport
- You change names
- You change genders
- Your answers to the ESTA eligibility criteria change
What if a South Korean Citizen is denied an ESTA?
South Korean citizens that are denied an ESTA will receive a notification of “Travel Not Authorized” onscreen or via email after submitting their application. If you are denied an ESTA, as a South Korean Citizen you can apply for a visitor visa to enter the United States for tourism, business or transit purposes.
Do I need an ESTA if I am a dual citizen of the United States or Canada?
No, if you are a South Korean citizen with dual citizenship of either the United States or Canada then you will not need to apply for an ESTA or a visa. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) advises travelers to use their American or Canadian passports when entering the United States.
Is an ESTA the same as a visa?
No, an ESTA is not a visa and there are differences between the two. An ESTA can be obtained by completing an online application. By comparison, a U.S. visa application requires you to complete a DS-160 form and attend an embassy appointment in your country of residence. Furthermore, a U.S. visa is processed over several weeks with unpredictable timelines that may not coincide will your travel plans. An approved U.S. visa grants you a number of rights which are not granted to ESTA applicants. Thus, approved ESTA applicants are not guaranteed entry into the United States. The admissibility of South Korean citizens traveling to the United States with an ESTA will ultimately be determined by CBP at the U.S. border.
Where can I learn more information about ESTA?
You can visit the ESTA FAQ and the ESTA Requirements page for more information before starting your application.