The Electronic System For Travel Authorizationis an automated system that determines whether visitors are eligible to travel to the United States as part of the Visa Waiver Program.The 9/11 Commission Act requires ESTA of 2007. It allows travelers from VWP countries to travel to the United States by air or water. However, their visa waiver program status depends on admissibility into the United States.ESTA only allows travel to a U.S. port of entry. Customs and Border Protection officers (CBP) decide admissibility into the United States.The ESTA application collects biographic data and answers questions about eligibility for VWP.
ESTA applications can be submitted at any time. However, travelers are advised to submit their application at least 72 hours before travel.ESTA charges an application fee of $4 and, if approved, a $17 fee, totaling $21.The authorization is valid for two years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first, for multiple trips within that period.Each is traveling under the VWP needs a separate ESTA. The authorization is valid for two years or until the passport expires if earlier.
ESTA is required for travel to the U.S. under the VWP.Puerto Rico, U.S. territoriesPuerto Rico, U.S. territories
VWP travelers who wish to travel to the U.S. by air or sea ports must pay a $4.00 ESTA operating fee and a $10.00 Travel Promotion Act fee until September 30, 2020. The same fee applies to VWP travelers arriving at U.S. ports of entry.
On February 9, 2018, section (30203(a) of the Bipartisan Budget Bill of 2018, Pub. L. 115-122 extended the sunset period for the travel promotion fee until September 30, 2027. Section 806 of the Further Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019 was published on December 20, 2019. L. 116–94 increased the travel promotion fee from $10 a $17. CBP will issue a separate rule in response to these legislative changes. The new ESTA Travel Promotion Fee is now $17.
ESTA is not required for land entry from Canada or Mexico. However, an I94W form must also be completed. The U.S government intends to require ESTA for land entry starting October 1, 2022.
No longer are foreign visitors arriving in the U.S. by air or sea required to fill out paper Customs and Border Protection Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Records or Form I-94W Nonimmigrant visa waiver Arrival/Departure Records. Anyone who needs to verify their legal-visitor status, whether for employers, schools/universities, or government agencies, can access their CBP arrival/departure records online. CBP now automatically collects information from electronic travel records about travelers regarding their arrival and departure.
At the land border, travelers will now be issued I-94s electronically. They will not receive a paper I-94 slip. CBP encourages I-94-required travelers to use the CBP One mobile app and the CBP I-94 website to apply for their I-94. While an Electronic System for Travel Authorization is not required at the Land Border for visa Waiver Program citizens, those with an approved ESTA can apply for their I-94 online or via the CBP One mobile app. This will allow them to avoid filling out Form I-94W at entry.
A VWP traveler who arrives at U.S. land ports will still need to pay $6.00 I-94W fees unless they enter during a 90-day VWP admission period.