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When to apply for ESTA?

Cases where you need to apply for ESTA:

  • Children; whether accompanied or not; (regardless of age) who are nationals of Visa Waiver Countries (VWPs) must have their own ESTA authorization before traveling to the United States for a tourist stay up to 90 days.
  • If you have dual nationality, one from a VWP country and one from a non-VWP country; you must apply for an ESTA If you travel under the VWP with your VWP passport, otherwise the ESTA does not apply if you use the passport of a non-VWP country and in this case you must have a visa not an ESTA.
  • If you are a permanent resident of Canada and a national of a country participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and you arrive in the United States by air or sea, you must apply for an ESTA.
  • If you are a national of a country participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and enter the United States by air or sea from Mexico or Canada, you must apply for an ESTA.
  • If you are a national of a VWP country and plan to cross the U.S. only to travel to another country. You must apply for an ESTA and remember to select “yes” to the question “Is your trip to the United States only a transit to another country? ».
  • If you are travelling from Guam or Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) to the U.S., an inspection is required to see if this trip is under the VWP, in which case you will need to make an ESTA request.
  • If you are a national of a VWP country and travel under the VWP to Puerto Rico or the United States Virgin Islands for short-term business or tourism, an ESTA application is required.

Cases where you do not need to apply for ESTA:

  • If you are not a national of a VWP country, you must have a VISA and therefore an ESTA does not apply to you.
  • Not all U.S. nationals or citizens need to apply for an ESTA authorization to travel to the U.S. Their American passports replace the Visa or ESTA.
  • Persons with a valid visa will still be able to travel to the United States for the purposes the visa was issued and do not need to apply for an approved travel authorization (ESTA) when travelling.
  • If you are a legal permanent resident of the United States and a national of a Visa Waiver Program (VWP) country, you do not need an ESTA.
  • If you are travelling with a Canadian passport, an ESTA application is not required as well.
  • If you are a national of a country participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and enter the United States by land from Mexico or Canada, an ESTA application is not required. You will need to fill the form I-94W and complete a manual entry process at the land border. But if you have an ESTA, you will not be required to complete the I-94W form and your registration process will be faster.
  • ESTA is not required if you are a permanent resident in Canada and a national of a VWP beneficiary country and enter the U.S. by land. However, having an approved ESTA in this case will facilitate your entry procedure to the USA and the form I-94W won’t be needed.
  • Concerning GUAM and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), if you wish to visit these two destinations and you benefit from the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), you will not need an ESTA. However, you may not exceed a maximum stay of 45 days and you will not be allowed to return to the U.S.
  • If you are travelling to GUAM and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) from the U.S., no ESTA is required as this trip is considered a domestic flight.