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American Visa Bureau » American Immigration » Tourist Visa » ESTA Frequently Asked Questions
To help you understand the process of applying for an American ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) better, we have put together this list of commonly asked questions and their answers.
To further secure the borders of the United States, all entrants who are arriving as part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) are now required to have authorization to travel before arriving in the United States.
Passport holders from VWP countries are still eligible to travel without a visa but will now have to obtain an ESTA before entering the United States.
Which visitors to the United States are required to have ESTA authorization?
All travellers to the United States arriving under the VWP are required to obtain ESTA authorization prior to beginning their travel to the United States
Note: This includes accompanied and unaccompanied children, regardless of age.
Which countries are included as part of the United States Visa Waiver Program (VWP)?
Is an ESTA required for any entrants to the United States who are only passing through en route to another destination?
Yes. All VWP travellers who are arriving in United States, even if they are travelling en route to another country, will be required to hold an ESTA. The United States does not allow entry to anyone arriving without a visa, even if it is solely for the purposes of transit.
Is the ESTA a visa?
No, the ESTA is only the authorization of entry to the United States for travellers who are part of the VWP. While the ESTA does allow VWP travellers to enter and stay in the United States for a period of time, the ESTA does not meet the legal or regulatory requirements to act as a United States visa and will not be acknowledged as such by immigration authorities
How long is the ESTA valid for?
The ESTA has a validity period of two years from the date of authorization, or until the date of your passport's expiry, whichever arrives sooner.
How long can I stay in the United States for as an ESTA traveller?
Under the visa waiver programme The United States allows foreign nationals of the VWP Countries to stay for up to 90 days or less on business or for pleasure without obtaining a visa.
Travellers admitted under the visa waiver programme must agree to waive their rights to review or appeal.
Does holding an approved ESTA guarantee that I will receive entry to the United States?
Not necessarily. The ESTA only authorises a person who holds a passport from a VWP country to board a carrier that is bound for travel to the United States, but does NOT guarantee admission to the United States at a port of entry.
What happens if my travel information changes from the information I supplied as part of my original ESTA application?
If necessary, you can update the following information on an approved ESTA:
To do so, go to the Check ESTA Status page in the Visa Bureau Client Area and click the 'Details' link next to your ESTA application.
Please Note: You are ONLY able to amend your contact details and flight information. If you obtain a new passport or change your name, gender or country of citizenship, you will be required to apply for a new ESTA. This is also required if one of your answers to any of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) eligibility questions changes.
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