Yes, you require your passport to travel to the US as well as your ESTA as the authorisation is
centred around your passport number. This must be an electronic passport (ePassport) with a
digital chip containing biometric information about the passport owner and that also has a
machine readable zone on the biographic page. You can identify if you have a chip by checking
if there is a small logo of a rectangle and a circle on the front of your passport,
similar to this:.
A machine readable passport is one that contains two lines of text on the bottom of the
information page of your passport. This text contains symbols and letters that can be scanned
by machines for information. The passport must also contain a digital photograph, i.e. one that
is printed directly onto the data page.
Please be aware that if your passport is not machine readable and you’re a citizen from a Visa Waiver
Program country, you would need to apply for a standard visa to visit the U.S.
Name changes and gender changes
If you have changed your legal name or gender, you will need to bring legal proof of any identity
change as well as proof showing you were the holder of the previous identity, if you have not
changed your passport yet.
Once you land in the United States, you will also need to fill any required paperwork, such as
customs declarations, which may be filled in at an Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosk when you
You will also need to provide border agents with information on your United States point of contact
and where you will be staying in the U.S., along with the reasons for your journey to the U.S.
(whether for business or pleasure), and the duration of your stay.
Documents that support your answers to such questions may also be useful, such as copy of return
flight tickets (showing you will not be present for more than 90 days in the U.S., and that you are
travelling with a commercial carrier), receipts and tickets for travel and accommodation, etc.
Will strikes and delays affect my ESTA application?
If airlines go on strike and your flight is cancelled, this shouldn’t affect your ESTA application. Once your ESTA is approved it remains valid for 2 years or until your passport expires, this depends on which one comes first.
Do I need specific travel plans to apply for ESTA?
You do not need specific travel plans when you are applying for an ESTA, you just need to fill in the address where you will be staying. If you’re travelling around the U.S. then you can just write the first place you’re staying at as a point of reference.
If you have obtained your ESTA authorisation, but your passport is due to expire before the end of the 2-year validity period, then your ESTA will expire automatically with the expiration of your passport.