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Electronic System Travel Authorisation
What is an ESTA?
An Electronic System for Travel Authorisation is an automated system used to determine the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Programme.Currently citizens of countries eligible for the Visa Waiver Programme fill in a green form while en route to the USA. ESTA will become compulsory from 12 January 2009. Passengers will need to apply for one no later than 72 hours prior to departure.Customers may not be able to travel if they do not have a valid ESTA.
Do I need to apply for an ESTA?
Currently it is not compulsory to apply for an ESTA but from 12 January 2009, travellers must have pre-authorisation to travel. We recommend customers apply at the time of booking or at least 72 hours before travel.Customers making late bookings can still apply, but there is risk that they may not receive immediate confirmation. Customers do not need to have firm travel plans in order to apply for an ESTA.
How do I apply for an ESTA?
Customers can provide the information via https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/. The USA Department of Homeland Security recommends that applications be submitted no less than 72 hours prior to travel. In most cases a response will be received immediately, although the process may take up to 15-20 minutes to complete.
What information is required for an ESTA?
Travellers must provide biographical data including name, date of birth, and passport information. Address in the United States and flight detail elements of the application form are optional. Travellers will also be required to answer Visa Waiver Programme eligibility yes/no questions regarding communicable diseases, arrests and convictions for certain crimes, and past history of visa refusal among others.
How far in advance can travellers apply for an ESTA?
Travellers are not required to have specific plans to travel to the United States before applying for an ESTA. However, the USA Department of Homeland Security recommends that an ESTA approval be obtained as soon as a traveller begins to plan a trip to the USA and no later than 72 hours before departure.
How long is an ESTA valid?
Approved ESTA applications are valid for two years and allow for multiple trips to the USA. However, a new ESTA will have to be obtained if an individual has a new passport within the two-year period or if any answers to the YES/NO questions on the ESTA application form change within this period.
How will the airline know if customer has a valid ESTA when they arrive at the airport?
A message is received from the US Customs that confirms whether or not the passenger has a valid ESTA.
Do customers require an ESTA even if Im just transiting through the US?
Can I still apply if I am travelling in less than 72 hours?
Those making late bookings can still apply, but there is risk that they may not receive immediate confirmation.
Do customers who are citizens of a country not eligible for the visa waiver programme need an ESTA?
There is no change to the current visa arrangements for citizens of non-visa waiver countries.
Can agents apply for an ESTA on behalf of customers?
It is the responsibility of the traveller to complete the ESTA application and obtain authorisation
If a customer has a multiple passports do they need an ESTA for each one?
The traveller must have a valid ESTA for the passport that they are using to travel on and presenting at the airport. A separate application should be made for each passport that a traveller uses to enter the US.
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