ESTA Application for Citizens of the UK


Country: UK

Capital: London

ESTA Required: Yes

The UK is part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which enables UK 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 UK. The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) has simplified travel to the United States for millions of visitors by only requiring a machine-readable passport. Now, due to heightened security regulations, the same visitors must apply for ESTA in advance. As always, 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).

The 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. U.S.-bound UK citizens 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 Information:

  • 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 the 38 Visa Waiver Countries (including the UK) entering the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program can 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 in to 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 online for future visits.

Who can apply for ESTA?

  • British passport holders and other citizens of Visa Waiver countries who intend to visit the United States under the VWP and is entering the U.S. by air or sea.
  • Travelers transiting through the United States under the VWP.
  • Children and infants who are visiting or transiting under the VWP are also required to have an approved ESTA application.

5 Facts About ESTA

Mandatory since January 12, 2009.

The ESTA Application can be completed in 15 minutes.

UK citizens can apply online.

Over 99% of applications are approved.

Validity lasts up to 2 years.