Yes, all applicants for ESTA must have unexpired, up-to-date, and valid digital passports.
This also applies to
of all ages, including infants. The passport must remain valid for the entire duration of your
stay in the United States. You cannot remain in the United States with an expired passport, or
you will be in violation of the Visa Waiver Program.
In order for your passport to be valid with the
Visa Waiver Program requirements, the passport must be digital, the features of which vary according to the date period it was issued,
If you have a machine readable passport that was issued, renewed, or extended before October
26, 2005, then your passport is eligible for travel under the Visa Waiver Program.
If you have a machine readable passport that was issued, renewed, or extended between October
26, 2005 and October 25, 2006, the passport must possess a digital photo printed directly on
to the data page (not attached to it) or an integrated data chip (e-Passport) in the passport.
Please refer to the section below on integrated data chips.
If you have a passport that is machine readable and that was issued, renewed, or extended on
or after October 26, 2006, the passport must have an integrated data chip in the passport
(e-Passport). Please refer to the section below on integrated data chips.
If you have a non-machine readable passport, you will not qualify for the Visa Waiver Program,
and you will have to apply for a visa if you wish to travel to the United States using your
existing passport. Alternatively, you can update your passport to an e-Passport type to
fulfill the passport requirements of the Visa Waiver Program.
What is a biometric passport?
A biometric passport will contain personal data and identifiers, which may include fingerprints,
date of birth, place of birth, and nationality, amongst others.
What is a machine-readable passport?
This kind of passport has an area on the identity page, which has been encoded in a format which can
be scanned by machines. The encoded data contains the information found on the identity page. This
enables greater data security and helps to prevent identity theft.
How can I tell if my passport has an integrated chip?
Passports with integrated data chips (also called e-Passports, digital passports, or biometric
passports) contain personal information found on the identity page that can be read by a machine.
Usually these passports have a logo in the shape of a small rectangle and circle on the cover of
the passport indicating the presence of a chip, similar to this:.
Temporary and emergency passports.
Temporary and emergency passports must contain an integrated digital chip.
Please note that German emergency and temporary passports do not meet the requirements of
the Visa Waiver Program.
Officials and diplomats must obtain a visa if they are travelling to the US for official business,
as the passport holder will not qualify for the
Visa Waiver Program. However, if the trip is not for official business, they should apply for ESTA in the same way
as applicants with other occupations.
I forgot my Group Identification number. How can I log in to check my status?
If you do not remember your group identification number, there are a couple of ways you can retrieve the number. One option is to get in touch with us to retrieve your group identification number here.
You can apply for ESTA any time you like but the U.S. government generally recommends people to apply for ESTA 72 hours before their trip. Even though an ESTA can take just minutes or even seconds to be approved, there are some applications that can take the full 72 hours to process.