ESTA Application for Swiss Citizens


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Country: Switzerland

ESTA Required: Yes

Switzerland is part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The program enables Switzerland citizens to travel to the United States without a visa. On January 12, 2009, ESTA (the Electronic System for Travel Authorization) became a requirement of the Visa Waiver Program. ESTA is an application system for all travelers from Visa Waiver Countries, including Switzerland. The Visa Waiver Program has simplified travel to the United States for millions of visitors by only requiring a machine-readable passport. Visitors can apply for a Travel Authorization (ESTA) in advance. A machine-readable or e-passport from a Visa Waiver country is still required to gain admittance into the country. The entire ESTA application process is conducted online and operated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

A Travel Authorization is not a visa. In fact, a person from a non-visa waiver country should not even attempt to apply for a Travel Authorization. The purpose of ESTA is to allow DHS to pre-screen all Visa Waiver Travelers before they leave their respective countries. Travelers from Switzerland are recommended to apply for the Travel Authorization at least 72 hours prior to departure. An approved Travel Authorization does not guarantee entry but is a prerequisite to travel to the United States by air or sea carrier.


Important Facts About ESTA:

  • ESTA (U.S. Travel Authorization) is not a visa. It is a pre-authorization to board a U.S.-bound ship or airplane.
  • The purpose of ESTA is to let the U.S. government pre-screen all Visa Waiver Travelers before they leave their respective countries.
  • Citizens of one the 38 Visa Waiver Countries (including Switzerland) entering the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program should apply.
  • It is recommended to apply for ESTA at least 72 hours prior to departure.
  • If your ESTA Application is denied, you will be required to apply for a B-1 Visitor Visa or B-2 Tourist Visa.
  • An approved ESTA Travel Authorization does not guarantee entry into the United States.

Why should I apply for ESTA?

  • Starting on January 12, 2009 citizens from Visa Waiver countries must apply for ESTA (U.S. Travel Authorization) in order to be eligible for admittance into the United States.
  • The ESTA Travel Authorization is valid for up to two years and can easily be updated for future visits.

Who needs to apply for ESTA?

  • Any person who intends to visit the United States under the Visa Waiver Program and is entering the U.S. by air or sea.
  • Any person transiting through the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.
  • Children and infants who are visiting or transiting under the Visa Waiver Program are also required to have an approved ESTA application.

About ESTA Applications

Online application process

Application takes less than 15 minutes

Over 99% approval rate (source: DHS)

Mandatory starting on January 12, 2009

Valid for up to 2 years