ESTA Overview ESTA Overview

ESTA Visa
The official travel authorization
for your trip to the USA

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What is the ESTA Visa?

ESTA is the official travel authorization for the USA and is part of the Visa Waiver Program.

ESTA Logo blau

 

 


The term stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization and it allows you to stay in the USA for a maximum of 90 days without a visa! You can only apply for ESTA online.

ESTA OVERVIEW:

  • Visa-free travel to the USA
  • Stay in the USA for up to 90 days
  • Valid for 2 years
  • Quickly apply online

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ESTA Check - Do you qualify?

Are you planning a trip to the USA and would like to avoid the complicated and lengthy visa applications?

Then you should definitely check whether you qualify for visa-free entry with the Visa Waiver Program and apply for an ESTA Visa!

ESTA Check
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Benefits of our ESTA Service

If you submit your ESTA application to ESTA-Online, you are not only on the safe side, you can also benefit from numerous advantages!

Among other things, we offer you a convenient form with helpful tips. In addition, each ESTA Visa application will be manually checked for completeness and accuracy. In case there are any irregularities, we will contact you immediately and thus avoid an unnecessary denial of your application!

We will then send you your ESTA confirmation in PDF format by e-mail, so that you can either print it out or show it at the airport using your mobile phone.

ESTA requirements

In order to qualify for the significantly cheaper visa-free entry to the USA with ESTA, you must meet certain requirements:

  • You have a valid biometric passport
  • You plan to visit the USA as a tourist or business traveller?
  • You don't want to stay more than 90 days in the USA
  • You are a citizen of a country eligible for the Visa Waiver Program
  • You travel by plane or ship

Citizens of the following countries are eligible to apply for ESTA under the Visa Waiver Program:

COUNTRIES ELIGIBLE FOR ESTA:
Andorra Lichtenstein Australia Lithuania Austria
Luxembourg Belgium Malta Brunei Monaco
Poland Netherlands Czech Republik New Zealand Dennmark
Norway Estonia Portugal Finland San Marino
France Singapore Germany Slovakia Slovenia
Hungary South Korea Iceland Spain Ireland
Sweden Italy Switzerland Japan Taiwan
Latvia United Kingdom Chile

All other nationalities must apply for a US visa.

+++ NEWS +++

Since 11 November 2019, Polish citizens are also eligible to enter the USA with ESTA!

Learn more

 

When do I need to apply for an ESTA?

There is no official deadline from the US authorities for applying for an ESTA. It is, though, highly recommended to apply for an ESTA at least 3 days before your departure to the USA. This is to ensure that by the time you enter the USA, you will be traveling with a valid ESTA. You should be able to show proof of a valid ESTA when checking-in to your flight at the latest.

You should apply for your ESTA at least 72 hours before your flight to the USA.

Since the end of 2018 real-time approvals are no longer available! Therefore, you should apply for ESTA no later than 72 hours prior to departure. We recommend, however, applying for an ESTA as early as possible. Ideally, you should apply for your ESTA 6-8 weeks before your planned trip to the United States so that you have enough time to apply for a US visa if your ESTA is denied.

Due to the risk of having an ESTA application denied, we recommend first planning your US trip (booking flights, hotels etc.) after your ESTA has been authorized. If you do not have families or friends in the USA, you can give the address of the hotel you plan to stay at in the USA.

You can check your ESTA status at any time in your customer account!

What data is required for an ESTA application?

The following information must be given in the ESTA application for traveling to the USA:

  • Personal data
  • Passport details
  • Destination details
  • Contact person in the USA
  • Information about your current employer
  • Emergency contact person

Furthermore, you must also truthfully answer several questions about security, the purpose of your trip and your past, such as if you intend to take up employment in the USA or if you have ever been denied a US visa or entry to the United States.

A biometric passport that is valid for the length of your stay is required for an ESTA application.

How much does an ESTA cost?

Since September 2010, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has been charging $14 for an ESTA application. Travellers from countries eligible for the Visa Waiver Program are required to pay these ESTA costs for each application.

The fee is not charged per entry, but per ESTA application. The costs remain the same for children, students, pensioners, etc.

However, if you choose to use our helpful service and apply for your US entry permit on ESTA-Online.org, we will charge you €49.90, which includes the $14 US fee to the US authorities.

However, in case of a rejection, we will refund you the full amount!

ESTA Newsletter

We'll keep you up to date! With our ESTA newsletter you will be the first to receive the latest news on ESTA and US entry regulations!

How long does it take to fill out the ESTA applicaton?

In general, it does not take long to fill out an ESTA application. If you already know where you will be staying in the USA and have your passport information on-hand, then it will only take about 10-20 minutes to complete the application thoroughly. Make sure you take the time to review all given data before submitting the application. 

Can I update my ESTA Visa?

You can update the following information in your ESTA:

  • Your e-mail address
  • The address in the USA

Even if it is not mandatory, we would recommend that you change your US address before re-entering the USA if it has changed. This way you do not take any risks. The data of your US contact person cannot be changed afterwards.

However, validity of ESTA expires if your personal data or your answers to the security questions change.

Do I need an ESTA if I have a valid visa?

Whether an ESTA is required for entering the USA depends on what kind of valid visa you have and if it matches the purpose of your stay in the USA. Applying for an ESTA, for example, when you have a valid B2 visa is unnecessary because in both cases, you are traveling to the USA as a tourist. The purpose is therefore the same.

On the other hand, people who have been issued a US work visa like the E1 or E2 and want to travel to the USA as tourists. Despite a valid E1 or E2 visa, the visa holder must apply for an ESTA because the purpose of their stay is different.    

As stated on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website:

Quote

"Individuals who possess a valid visa will still be able to travel to the United States on that visa for the purpose for which it was issued."

 

ESTA for children

Children traveling to the USA with their parents have to apply for an ESTA too, even if America is only a transit stop. They cannot travel to the USA under their parent’s passports as they are considered individual people and must have their own passports and their own valid authorization to be in the USA. 

Parents or a third party, like a travel agency or an ESTA agency, must complete and submit the ESTA application for all children under the age of 18. Children usually do not complete the question about employers and usually enter only passport information, their address, information about their parents and a US address.

Parents as well as third parties can apply children for an ESTA.

A passport for children is only valid for an ESTA if it is a biometric ePass. That means the passport must be electronically readable so that the border control officer can read it. Moreover, it has to be valid for the child’s length of stay.

Picture of two happy kids waving the American flag on a bench.

Children have to also apply for an ESTA before traveling to the USA!

 The cost for applying for an ESTA is the same for adults and children. Furthermore, an ESTA is valid for two years for both adults and children.

Can I use ESTA for business trips?

Yes, ESTA can be used to travel to the USA for business as long as you do not stay in the USA longer than 90 days and you do not work for a US company. Business trips that are allowed under the Visa Waiver Program include participating in:

  • Conferences
  • Meetings
  • Consultations
  • Job fairs

You may have problems entering the USA again if you stay longer than 90 days or work/take up employment.

With an ESTA, you can take a business trip to the USA for up to 90 days!

ESTA application denied – What can I do?

If your ESTA application is rejected due to an unintentional mistake or typing error, please contact us immediately if you have applied with us.

We will then immediately try to arrange a correction!

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