Disclaimer: ESTA.us provides information about the Electronic System for Travel Authorization. This website is privately-owned and not affiliated with the U.S. Government. We link out to third-party websites that process ESTA applications for an additional processing fee. Visitors can choose between using a private company or the official government portal to submit their travel authorization.

What is ESTA?

ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization. ESTA is an online application system developed by the United States government to pre-screen travelers before they are allowed to board an airplane or cruise ship bound for the United States. Since January 12, 2009, any person entering the United States under the Visa Waiver Program is required to hold an approved ESTA travel authorization.

Who Needs to Apply for ESTA?

All travelers entering the United States (by air or sea) under the Visa Waiver Program are required to hold a valid ESTA travel authorization. The purpose of the ESTA is to allow DHS to pre-screen all Visa Waiver Travelers before they leave their respective countries. U.S.-bound travelers are recommended to apply for a travel authorization at least 72 hours before departure.

What is the Visa Waiver Program?

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is a U.S. government program that enables citizens and nationals from the Visa Waiver Countries to enter the United States for tourism or business purposes for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa. The Visa Waiver Program allows travelers to visit the United States on short notice without the need to apply for a traditional U.S. tourist visa in advance.


Only citizens of the Visa Waiver Countries are allowed to apply for ESTA. It is essential to know if you qualify for ESTA before you submit your application. Use the drop-down menu to select your nationality and click on the *Submit* button.

ESTA applications can only be made online. You do not have to visit a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in person. Completing the application takes less than 15 minutes on average. Travelers are recommended to print and bring the approved ESTA when traveling to the United States.