Frequently asked questions
- What is travel authorisation?
- Who is required to have travel authorisation?
- Does travel auhtorisation guarantee me admission to the United States?
- Is a travel authorisation a visa?
- How long is my travel authorisation valid?
- When do I need to apply for travel authorisation?
To increase the security of travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, new requirements for travel visa-free have been laid down. Nationals of Visa Waiver Program countries will still be eligible to travel without a visa but will have to obtain travel authorisation prior to travelling to the United States.
Here is how the travel authorisation process works:
The Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) is used to submit a digital application to the Department of Homeland Security. Based on the data entered, the system firstly verifies whether you are eligible to participate and secondly issues travel authorisation.
All passengers (including children, who do not yet require a ticket of their own to travel) travelling under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) must apply for and have an approved travel authorisation prior to travelling to the United States by air or sea.
The electronic travel authorisation merely establishes that you are eligible to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. Upon arrival in the United States you will be inspected by a Customs and Border Protection officer at a port of entry, who will decide whether you may actually enter the USA.
No, an electronic travel authorisation does not serve in lieu of a United States visa when a visa is required under United States law.
Unless revoked, travel authorisations are valid for up to two years from the date of issue, or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.
Applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel to the United States. It is however recommended that travel authorisation applications be submitted at least 72 hours prior to travel