US ESTA Application: A Step-by-Step Guide

Are you making your ESTA application? We've laid out the applications process on this page to walk you through it, and you'll find that it's not as difficult as you might think. Follow the instructions and make sure that you fill in all of your information correctly. If you have any questions about the process or the ESTA form, you can find answers below.
If you want to travel to the United States then you require travel authorization before you are able to enter the country. An ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) is a type of travel authorization that is available to citizens of countries that are in the Visa Waiver Program, as defined by Homeland Security. If you are a citizen of one of the countries listed under the Waiver Program, you will not require a USA visa and can apply for ESTA visa instead.
The Visa Waiver Program is administered by the Department of Homeland Security as part of the United States Customs and Border Protection to monitor who is entering the US by using an electronic system that is linked to the traveler's passport.
Homeland Security decides which countries are members of the Visa Waiver Program and officials from countries who want to become a member of the Visa Waiver Program have discussions with Homeland Security to try and meet the criteria to join.
When a traveler goes through the Border Protection in the US, the Customs Border and Protection will check the traveler's passport to verify that a valid ESTA is linked to it.
When applying for the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, you will require a valid passport and you should have your passport number with you when you are submitting your application to the United States Homeland Security Department.
Apply for ESTA

Starting Your Application

Make your way to the application page by clicking on the "Apply for ESTA" button.
When you've entered the application page, you'll be faced with a number of forms to fill out. Make sure to fill in all of the information in English. Any fields marked with a red asterisk* are obligatory and must be filled out - if you don't then you won't be able to complete your application. These are very simply - just fill in the information requested. The first part of the form requires details about you. You'll need to fill in your name, surname (Family Name), your gender, date of birth, where you were born, and also the names of your parents. You'll also need to fill in the information to get in touch with you - your email address, telephone number, and also your home address.
I need to use characters or letters not in American English. How do I write them?
If you're filling out information in the form but you have a character not used in American English, you can use these replacements.
You can also check the part of your passport that contains multiple chevrons (<<< >>>) for the universal spelling of your name. You can type it in exactly as it's found there.
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ß = ss
ü = ue
Å = aa
æ = a e
ë = e
ø = oe
ö = oe
ä = ae
ñ = n

Your Details

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Next, you will need to fill out information related to your employment, and if you wish then you can add information related to your social media. The employment information is required on the form as this is to ensure that you are not entering the USA to work without the proper permissions.
Social media information is completely voluntary, and you don't have to submit it if you prefer not to.
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You will need to fill in your emergency contact information. This is used if somebody needs to get in touch with you, but they are unable to for some reason. This is important to include and is another obligatory field.
Your emergency contact will be somebody who can be called and contacted in case of an emergency - for example if you need medical attention and somebody needs to be contacted.
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You will then be required to fill out information regarding your travel plans. You will need to include information on your travel - if you are using the U.S. to transit you will still need ESTA and so this is an important step. Next, you will be required to fill out your passport information.
This is necessary, as it will need to be used when you are flying to verify your identity matches that of your ESTA application. If you're not sure of the validity of your passport check our FAQ here . If you are a member of the Global Entry Program, now is also when you an input information regarding this.
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Eligibility Questions

There are a number of requisites which must be taken into account - these are known as the eligibility questions and it's very important that they are filled in correctly and truthfully. If you are denied because of one of these questions then your application will need to be re-submitted.
Homeland Security will screen all ESTA applications to check that the eligibility questions have been answered correctly. Even if your ESTA is approved, you are not guaranteed entry into the US, as the US Customs and Border Protection agents may decide to refuse you entry to the United States, if they feel it is necessary.
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Completing Your Application

After you have completed all of the forms, you will be shown a summary of all of your information. This is the time to make sure that all of the information that you entered was correct. You can't change any of this information once your application has been submitted and approved, so make sure that it's all correct at this stage. Submitting wrong information will mean applying again.
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At the bottom of the page you will be shown the following message, read through it and tick it before continuing. If, after this step, your information is incorrect then your application will need to be re-submitted. Once you've confirmed your details you will be taken to a payment screen, you will be shown the total and you can enter your card details.

How to Apply for ESTA - Common Queries

Don't panic - you can still access this information. Check your ESTA status on the homepage of the official website, and input your family name, first name, and passport issuing country, in addition to our passport number and date of birth. This will let you access your application.
More questions about your application? Check our FAQ page.
If your country is not in the Visa Waiver Program, you will be required to apply for a visa instead if you want to travel to the United States. In order to do this, you will need to complete a DS-160 form and attend an interview in the US Embassy or Consulate to determine whether you will be granted a USA visa.
You should keep up to date with the relevant travel information between your country and the US, by checking the US Borders and Protection website. Your country could be added to the Visa Waiver Program in the future, if the US Homeland Security are satisfied that the relevant criteria has been met.

Our Customer Reviews

Speedy service!
Got my ESTA back within just hours, thanks so much for the helpful support and speedy service.
Millard
Nottingham, UK
Highly recommend.
Our company has lots of business meetings in the US and we always use this service to make sure everything is in place for the flights. Highly recommend.
Lawrie
Leicester, UK
Very quick answer.
There were some parts of the form that I couldn’t find guidance for, but they were able to answer all of my questions very quickly.
Penley
Norwich, UK
Expert help of the agent.
Wow, this was all done and dusted in no time at all. Thanks to the speedy and expert help of the agent.
Gowri
Singapore, Singapore
Great service. Fast approval!
Great service. When I first looked at the form I was worried about putting the right information in but the agent told me exactly what I needed to do to get my ESTA approved fast.
Jaya
Singapore, Singapore
Glad to chose their support.
They immediately pointed out some mistakes that I made that would have caused issues with the application, I’m so glad I chose to get their support.
Lewis
Brisbane, Australia
Super friendly, helpful staff.
I couldn’t believe how quickly my ESTA came back for my planned visit to Las Vegas. Super friendly, helpful staff – thanks.
Laurence
Perth, Australia
Amazing service.
Guided my through the process from start to finish, answering all of the questions I had about the details required on the form. Amazing service.
Jarrod
Birmingham, UK
Friendly and helpful staff.
Totally impressed with the great customer service I received. Friendly and helpful staff.
Oistin
Cork, Ireland
Worth for the hassle.
Nothing was too much trouble for the agent I spoke to, I hate filling in forms but they took all of the hassle away.
Murphy
Dublin, Ireland