Your questions – ESTA official - Esta authorization application to the United States
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Your questions

Our answers to your most frequently asked questions

How to submit a group of ESTA applications ?

Groups of people who wish to travel to the U.S. for up to 90 days can make a group of ESTA requests that will facilitate their case management in parallel..

Since it is quite possible for each traveller to make his own request, the grouped ESTA request allows only one person to be in charge of managing the group of requests, he will have to provide some mandatory information, such as surname, first name, date of birth and email address. The group contact person will have accessibility to perform all management actions such as :

  • View the group of applications
  • Check the status of applications
  • Make the payment
  • Change information
  • Add or remove applications within the group (a new application or an unpaid application)
  • Checking the status of all responses in a group (a “Pending” response for an application in a group will not delay the processing of the remaining requests).

All in all, no special discount is applicable for a group of family or friends, each traveler must pay the costs of managing his file, even for children.

Dual nationality and passport problems, what to do ?

If you have dual nationality and you don’t have a passport from another country, don’t worry! Complete the travel authorization application form as you would normally do and leave the "Passport Number" field blank.
If you have several passports, you must enter the most recent passport information even if it has already expired.

For how long the information provided for an application is stored ?

The validity period is one of the main differences between an ESTA authorization and a visa, an ESTA is valid for a maximum period of two years from the day of its issue.

If the traveller’s passport expires before two years, the ESTA authorization expires with it automatically and it is necessary to reapply for a new travel authorization with the new passport.

As previously indicated, in addition to the two years of validity of ESTA, a new period of one year is added for the storage of your information provided at the time of an application.

This storage is important for national security; investigators and law enforcement use it for control and security reasons.

Sigue un nuevo período de doce años, durante el cual el Ministerio de Seguridad Interna almacena solo los datos. Durante el período de almacenamiento.

A new twelve-year period follows during which the Ministry of Homeland Security only archives the data. During the archiving period, the number of agents having access to this data will still be limited and the retrieval of information from your contact details will only be permitted for national security or law enforcement reasons.

The United States Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is currently implementing a change to the I-94W forms regulations.

It is expected that the ESTA demand data would be used instead of the information assembled through the I-94W on paper. In this case, the storage time of the information provided during an application becomes identical to that of the I-94W forms, which is equivalent to 75 years of storage.

To note:

Some information will be archived for life: this is the case for data related to police databases, immigration services and refused ESTA applications.

Does ESTA guarantee your admission to the UNITED STATES ?

Having an approved travel authorization only grants you the right to return to the U.S. without a Visa.

However, this authorization does not mean that you are eligible to enter the U.S. territory.

In all cases, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers determine your eligibility upon arrival at the ports of entry.

This inspection may reveal that you are inadmissible under the visa waiver program or for any other reason does not meet the legal and regulatory requirements of the United States.

Will my ESTA be refused in case of error during registration ?

Normally, you must be careful when registering and you must not exceed the required fields.

In case you enter the wrong contact information, your request for authorization will not be rejected, but you will be asked to do a manual review.

Consequently, additional time will be added before the official result of your travel authorization request is obtained from the UNITED STATES.

 

Packing your carry-on luggage for the United States

Your baggage regulations are complex and must be taken into account when travelling to the U.S.

You will soon be flying with your ESTA authorization under the Visa waiver program and you want to be reassured that you are not carrying a prohibited item in your carry-on baggage ?

Would you like to check your baggage in the hold ? You take your baby with you and are not sure you can take his food on board ?

www.esta-official.co.uk will be your guide to prepare your luggage in all serenity so to make a journey which will respect the safety measures; we have gathered for you the rules and the specific restrictions concerning the transport of goods, precious objects and cash…

Knowing that your luggage can be checked by authorities and to avoid problems related to customs inspections, it is essential to know in advance what is allowed and what is not.

Is my information secure and confidential ?

Our ESTA2018 website uses strict and distinct technology to safeguard unauthorized access to information entered and accessed.

Eventually, information submitted by applicants is protected by strict confidentiality controls in accordance with applicable U.S. laws and regulations.

Only those who need the information for security reasons will have access to it.

Is the payment secured ?

The www.esta-official.co.uk system requires secure use of the payment method, that is, your payment information will not be saved or conserved internally after the bank transaction.

The banking service is the only one able to record this information which is inaccessible by www.esta-official.co.uk

Your payment is 100% secure.

Do children have to apply for ESTA ?

Whether accompanied or not, a child from a country benefiting from the exemption program, and even at a very young age, must have an ESTA application to travel to the US.

Of course, the obligation of the ESTA authorization also concerns simple stops or transits.

Generally, an ESTA authorization request for a minor must be solicited by his or her guardian and carried out exactly like that of an adult.

You must understand the terms of the ESTA on behalf of your child, and when registering, please select the second option from the Waiver section (third part only) on the form.

Children must have their own passports to apply for ESTA. If a child is on his parent’s passport, he will not be eligible to apply.

Note that Children with a passport (Kinderreisepass) do not benefit from the Visa Waiver Program and require a valid Visa to travel to the US, unless their passports have been issued or extended by October 26, 2006 .

You will be charged for an ESTA request for a child, like for an adult and without any reduction, if you have a large family, we advise you to make a group application and pay the bill at once.

Expired passport, what to do?

ESTA will expire once your current passport expires or your passport information changes.

In this case, you are asked to make a new request and go through the same procedure including the payment.

For more information about the data you can change after submitting your application, please see the article “What information can I update? ».

Why is a visa authorization required by the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)?

Under United States law, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has implemented several measures to enhance the security of the Visa Waiver Program.

The primary measure was ESTA’s founding, which provides an additional layer of security that helps DHS determine two criteria before a stranger travels:

  • If the applicant has the right to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
  • If the trip is a risk to US law enforcement or internal security.

 

Why is an ESTA application required?

Under the “Recommendations for Implementing the 11/9 Act 2007” (11/9 Act) Section 217 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has implemented several measures to enhance the security of the Visa Waiver Program.

The first step was the ESTA, which provides an additional layer of security to assist DHS in determining whether the applicant is entitled to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) or whether he is a risk to U.S. law enforcement or internal security.

When should an ESTA request be made?

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 of 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 that is a member of 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 occurring as 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 you cannot apply for an ESTA.
  • All U.S. nationals or citizens do not need to apply for an ESTA to travel to the U.S. Their American passports replace the Visa or ESTA..
  • People with a valid visa will still be able to travel to the United States for the purposes for which 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 Authorized ESTA 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 complete the I-94W form and complete a manual entry process at the land border. Unlike if you have an authorized 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 of 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 to the US and the I-94W form will not 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.

 

What to do in exceptional passport situations?

Under the Visa Waiver Program, U.S. law has implemented a flexible system that facilitates the travel procedure to the United States.

Taking as an example the case where your name has been changed and you still keep the passport with the old name, the ESTA system allows you to apply with your new name and your old passport number.

From there, even travel to the U.S. will be allowed with a ticket carrying your updated information and your old passport.

Por otro lado, suponiendo que ya tiene el permiso de aprobación y que si tiene obligado a cambiar de nombre después de un matrimonio, divorcio u otras circunstancias legales.

Assuming you have already obtained your approved authorization and you were obliged to change your name as a result of marriage, divorce or other legal circumstances; you will be asked to make a new ESTA request before 72 hours of your next trip.

Sin embargo, el sistema puede hacer excepciones en situaciones de emergencia y rápidamente a su situación. Como resultado, si cobrarán tarifas adicionales por cualquier solicitud de autorización de viaje.

Lately, for those who have a post-dated passport, your ESTA application with the new passport number can only be made after your marriage and issuance of the passport.

Frequently, in such situations the application process will take no more than 20 minutes.

Difference between a VISA and an ESTA?

A USA visa is a document that is delivered by the US embassy and that meets all the legal and regulatory requirements of the United States.

Citizens who have a valid visa will still be able to travel to the United States for the purposes for which that visa was issued and are exempt from applying for a travel authorization (ESTA) before the trip.

Since ESTA does not meet the legal criteria, it cannot be considered a Visa.

What types of answers can I receive after an ESTA request?

Once your travel request is processed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), you will receive an immediate response or within two to three days.

However, this response is not automatically a positive response. Indeed, here are the three status of the application that you can receive:

Authorization approved:

Your travel authorization has been approved under the Visa Waiver Program. Therefore, you will be allowed to make several trips to the U.S. during the next two years. However, this authorization does not garantee your admission to the U.S., the final decision on your admissibility will be made by the Customs and Border Protection officers upon your arrival at the ports of entry.

Authorization Pending:

This means that your application has not yet been processed by the responsible authorities.

Assuming that this response cannot be considered as a refusal, since the delay of the decision can take up to 72 hours.

In this case, you will have to wait to receive the official decision of your request.

Travel Not Authorized:

Unfortunately, this means that you are not authorized to travel to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) only.

However, this does not deprive you of returning to the U.S. permanently, you may be able to obtain a valid visa from the U.S. embassy for your trip.

What if I transit through the U.S. to another country?

Having an approved travel authorization or visa is required not only to travel to the U.S. but also to transit through the U.S. to another country; this application applies to all nationals or citizens of Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries.

In short, if you are planning to transit through the U.S. just to travel to another country, remember to select “yes” to the question “Is your trip to the U.S. occurring as a transit to another country?» on the ESTA travel authorization application.

How to apply for a group of applications?

Do you travel with family or friends or even in a working group? Making a group travel request to the U.S. is now available on our website www.esta-offial.co.uk
First, please select “group of applications” on the home page of the website, then, you must designate the total number of adults and children (see the previous article: Submit a grouped ESTA request).
One applicant will be in charge for making the payment after the creation of the group, and finally, he or she will also have the opportunity to check the status of all applications that are part of the group.

Non alcoholic drinks in the cabin and checked-in?

To ensure the safety of aircrew and passengers, the transport of certain liquids, both in the cabin and checked-in, is strictly regulated.

Non-alcoholic beverages are allowed but must not exceed a maximum of 100ml.

However, it is recommended to store your non-alcoholic beverages in Ziploc plastic bags of 20 * 20cms, this bag must not exceed 1 liter in total of the liquids transported.

Such as:

  • Juices and sodas
  • Coffee (Liquid)
  • Bottled water

These liquids are allowed checked-in and also in the cabin but in limited quantities (less than 100 ml).

Regardless of the actual amount of liquid carried, you must empty the excess of your beverages before inspection point.

Once the security check is over, you can fill your empty container.

Likewise, you have the right to take empty drink containers such as coffee thermos with you during the checkpoint, and fill them afterwards.

How can I get more information about VISA WAIVER PROGRAM?

Find more information about the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) on the internet sites: CBP and Department of State.