United States Citizens and ESTA

United States citizens are not required to apply for ESTA.

ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) is designed to pre-screen foreign citizens before they enter the United States. ESTA is not required for U.S. citizens. There are however, several entry requirements that U.S. citizens must follow.

ESTA is only for Visa Waiver travelers that wish to enter the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. ESTA does not apply to U.S. citizens. United States citizens must by law enter the United States with a U.S. passport or other approved travel document such as a U.S. Passport Card.

ESTA does not apply to Green Card holders (Permanent Residents). A Green Card holder with a passport from a Visa Waiver country should not apply for ESTA

United States passport holders should be aware of the following travel requirements:

  • U.S. citizens traveling by air must present a U.S. passport to enter or re-enter the United States.
  • U.S. citizens must be able to show proof of identity and proof of U.S. citizenship when entering the United States by land or sea from the countries of the Caribbean, Bermuda, Mexico and Canada.
  • The U.S. government will make it mandatory for adults to present a U.S. passport or other approved travel document if entering via land or sea on June 1, 2009. Children 16 or below will still be able to show proof of citizenship and a birth certificate in lieu of an approved travel document.