ESTA Guidelines for Children Travelling to US
If you are planning a family trip to the US then there are plenty of factors that you will need to consider from your flight schedule through to arranging travel authorization for your group. If you are travelling to the US, then you should bear in mind that authorization to enter the country is different than some of the countries that you may have visited before. When travelling to the United States, you must obtain travel authorization before you travel, which may be in the form of an ESTA.
An ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) enables travel to the US for a period of up to 90 days. It forms part of the Visa Waiver Program arranged by the US government. The application process can be completed online in a fairly straightforward process, where you must answer a number of questions to ascertain whether you will be granted permission to enter the US.
When you are taking your children to the US, it is important that you also apply for an ESTA for them to travel. Essentially, you will need to apply for children’s ESTAs in the same way that you apply for your own. Anyone under the age of 18 must get an adult to complete their application by answering the questions in the questionnaire. Alternatively, you can complete an ESTA group application to include your entire family to make everything a bit easier.
Children must have their own valid passport to able to qualify for an ESTA and cannot be included on your passport. When you are applying for an ESTA, whether collectively or individually, it is important to apply at least 72 hours before you are travelling.
Applying for a group ESTA
To save time and process all of the family’s travel authorization at once, you can simply go to the ESTA website and fill in the online form for groups travelling to the US. Any children under 18 visiting the US must be accompanied by their parents or legal guardian, so be aware of that if you are applying for a child’s ESTA.
The form itself should not take too long to complete, with information being asked such as the family name and the details of the applicant. You must complete a list of questions including personal details, passport information and also your travel plans. There is a section titled ‘Details about your health and character’ in which you are required to provide information regarding your health and some questions related to criminal convictions, as well as asking whether you have travelled to Iraq, Syria, Iran or Sudan since March 1 2011.
Once you have completed all of the required details, you will need to submit the group application and then make the payment for your group’s ESTAs. The amount of time it takes to receive the response varies depending on whether there are any issues and how quickly the processing takes but usually the application will be accepted or declined within 24 hours of submission.