If you are traveling and have to stop in an American airport, then you are required to have a valid ESTA – even if you are not leaving the airport and are traveling somewhere else. We have the answers to all your questions about ESTA and transit flights.
The official travel authorization for your trip to the USA!
Yes, even if you only have a layover and never leave the airport, you are required to have an ESTA. People traveling through the USA are stilled considered visitors of the United States by the US authorities and must have, therefore, a valid US visa or an ESTA travel authorization.
You are required to have an ESTA if you can travel visa-free to the USA under the Visa Waiver Program. If a traveler has a layover in an American airport on their way to a different destination, they are still considered visitors by US authorities. Therefore, they need a valid travel authorization to enter the USA.
Airlines are required to inform the U.S. Department of Homeland Security of their passengers’ traveling status. If you cannot show that you are in the USA with a valid ESTA, then you will not make your connecting flight.
All people traveling to the USA, who do not already have a valid US visa, need an ESTA. Even if you are in transit in the USA and flying to another destination, the US authorities require you to have an ESTA travel authorization.
The ESTA application for people in transit is practically the same. The only difference is that you do not need to include a contact person in the USA and a US address.