What is the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)?
The Electronic System for Travel Authorization is an automated system that checks if the travelers who wish to enter the United States are meeting the requirements of the VWP. It requires the same information that currently passengers VWP have to submit in the I-94W while they are traveling to the United States. The Department of Homeland Security, the border and U.S. Customs, have given the option to the traveler or to a third party designated by him/her to fill the application for travel authorization online.
Who should obtain an electronic travel authorization?
All passengers traveling to the United States of America under the Visa Waiver Program (WVP) are requested to obtain a travel authorization before leaving. Further, even children traveling with their parents with the same ticket, must receive a travel authorization. Forwarding the request at the name of the passengers to a designated third party is allowed.
How do I request permission to travel to the U.S.?
To apply for travel authorization, please complete the appropriate online form. Just answer all the questions indicated and send the authorization request.
Can I ask others to make the request for me, if I did not have internet access?
YES! A friend, a relative, a tour operator or other third parties may complete a request on your behalf.
How far in advance should I apply for travel authorization?
Applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel. The Department of Homeland Security strongly recommends sending the request at least 72 hours before the departure date.
How long is my authorization valid?
The authorizations are valid for two years or until your passport expires, depending on which of the two occurs first. During the period of validity, the traveler may enter the United States several times, without the need to apply for another ESTA.
As soon as I received my travel authorization I am automatically accepted in the U.S.?
Once you have received a positive response, you are authorized to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. Your entry into the territory of the United States is not automatically guaranteed. Upon your arrival you will be subject to routine inspections by an immigration agent that will validate your entry into the United States.