ESTA Application Information

Visa Waiver Program (VWP)

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows foreign nationals from certain countries to travel in America for a period of 90 days for business or pleasure without having to obtain a paper visa in advance.  However, travelers must apply for an ESTA before travelling.

In cases where the foreign national does not hold a passport which meets new immigration requirements (i.e. contains a digital photo and machine readable text), they will still need to apply for a B-type Visitor Visa.

To apply for an ESTA and travel to the United States under this the Visa Waiver program, you must:

  • Be travelling to America for a period of 90 days or less;
  • Have a passport valid for at least 6 months beyond your intended visit;
  • Be a citizen of a country which holds a visa waiver agreement with America;
  • Provide evidence you intend to depart the country, such as a return ticket; and
  • Be of good character.

All Visa Waiver Program ("VWP") travelers, regardless of age or type of passport used, must present machine-readable passports. In addition, depending on when VWP travelers' passports were issued, other passport requirements will apply:

  • Machine-readable passports issued before 10/26/05 - no further requirements
  • Machine-readable passports issued between 10/26/05 and 10/25/06 - requires digital photograph printed on the data page or integrated chip with information from the data page
  • Machine-readable passports issued on or after 10/26/06 - requires integrated chip with information from the data page (e-passport)

Visa Waiver Program Countries

Countries with waiver agreements
Andorra
Australia
Austria
Belgium
Brunei
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Iceland
Ireland
Italy
Japan
Latvia
Liechtenstein
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Monaco
Netherlands
New Zealand
Norway
Portugal
Republic of Malta
San Marino
Singapore
Slovakia
Slovenia
South Korea
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
Taiwan 
United Kingdom
     

ESTA Passport Requirements  

What sort of passport do I need to lodge an ESTA application?

The requirements your passport needs to meet are dependent on your country of citizenship and the issue date of your passport.

  • If you are a citizen of the UK, Ireland, Australia, or the United States, click here to see what the requirements are. 

Alternatively, click your country of citizenship below for relevant ESTA passport requirement information.

Visa Waiver Program Countries

Click your country of citizenship for relevant ESTA passport requirement information

 

Requirements for citizens of Andorra, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom

Depending on when your passport was issued, it will need to meet certain requirements.  These requirements are as follows:


e-passport

Passports issued on or after October 26, 2006:

e-Passports

New passports issued by Visa Waiver Program countries on or after October 26, 2006 must be e-Passports, which include an integrated computer chip capable of storing biographic information from the data page, as well as other biometric information, such as the required digital photograph of the holder.

You can identify an e-Passport by whether the e-Passport symbol appears on the front cover of the passport (see the image to the right).


Digital photograph

Passports issued between October 26, 2005 to October 25, 2006:

Digital Photographs

Older, but still valid passports issued or renewed/extended by Visa Waiver Program countries between October 26, 2005, and October 25, 2006, must include a digital photo printed on the data page, or the traveller will be required to obtain a visa.

You can identify a digital photo as one that is printed on the page, not a photo that is glued or laminated into the passport (see the image to the right).


Machine-readable zone

Passports issued before October 26, 2005:

Machine-Readable Zones

Older, but still valid passports issued by Visa Waiver Program countries before October 26, 2005, must have a machine-readable zone.

You can identify a machine-readable passport by the presence of two lines of text as letters, numbers and chevrons (i.e. <<<) at the bottom of the personal information page, along with the bearer’s picture (see the image to the right).

 

Requirements for citizens of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, the Republic of Malta, Slovakia or South Korea 

If you are a citizen of the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, the Republic of Malta, Slovakia or South Korea, then you MUST present an e-Passport in order to qualify for the ESTA

If you don't have an e-Passport, you will be required to apply for an alternative visa for travel to the United States.

e-passport

How to identify whether your passport is an e-Passport

e-Passport include an integrated computer chip capable of storing biographic information from the data page, as well as other biometric information, such as the required digital photograph of the holder.

You can identify an e-Passport by whether the e-Passport symbol appears on the front cover of the passport (see the image to the right).

ESTA Definition - Physical or Mental Disorder

ESTA applicants with a physical or mental disorder must declare so when making their ESTA application. A definition is provided below.

Physical or Mental Disorders

With regard to physical or mental disorders, answer 'Yes' to this question if:

(a) You currently have a physical or mental disorder and a history of behavior associated with the disorder that may pose or has posed a threat to your property, safety or welfare or that of others; or

(b) You had a physical or mental disorder and a history of behavior associated with the disorder that has posed a threat to your property, safety or welfare or that of others and the behavior is likely to recur or lead to other harmful behavior.

Answer 'No' if:

(a) You currently have no physical or mental disorders; or

(b) You have or had a physical or mental disorder without associated behavior that may pose or has posed a threat to your property, safety or welfare of that of others; or

(c) You currently have a physical or mental disorder with associated behavior, but that behavior has not posed, does not currently pose nor will pose a threat to your property, safety or welfare or that of others; or

(d) You had a physical or mental disorder with associated behavior that posed a threat to your property, safety or welfare or that of others, but that behavior is unlikely to recur.

 

ESTA Definition - Communicable Diseases

ESTA applicants with a communicable disease must declare so when making their ESTA application.  A definition is provided below.   

Communicable diseases

Under United States law communicable diseases of public health significance include:

  • Cholera
  • Diphtheria
  • Tuberculosis, infectious
  • Plague
  • Smallpox
  • Yellow Fever
  • Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers, including Ebola, Lassa, Marburg, Crimean-Congo
  • Severe acute respiratory illnesses capable of transmission to other persons and likely to cause mortality.

 

ESTA Definition - Drug Abusers and Drug Addicts

ESTA applicants who are a drug abuser or drug addict must declare so when making their ESTA application.  A definition is provided below.   

Drug Abusers and Drug Addicts

Under United States law persons may not be admissible if they have been determined to be a drug abuser or drug addict.

For further information refer to § 212(a)(1)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1182(a)(1)(A), and corresponding regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations.

 

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