No. As long as the plane you are on is not landing in any continental United States territory, you
do not require any ESTA authorisation (or visa) as you won’t be passing through U.S. customs and
immigration or setting foot on U.S. soil. This rule generally applies to flying through any
nation’s airspace. The only time
you would need an ESTA
is if you were landing on U.S. soil, even if it’s just for a stop-over. You can have a look at
this page for more information on stop-overs
However, if an airplane is passing, or potentially passing, through U.S. airspace, then the U.S.
government requires travellers to provide information about themselves. This forms part of Secure
Flight, an enhanced security check for passengers, and involves the United States being provided with:
- Your full name as it appears on your passport
- Your date of birth
- Your gender
- If applicable, your redress number (a number provided to passengers by which, if they believe
they have been improperly or unfairly delayed or prohibited from boarding an aircraft, to seek
resolution and avoid future delays).
Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD) information
is used to conduct watchlist matching of passenger information against the Terrorist Screening
Database (TSDB) for all flights that fly over the continental United States, and is important for
Homeland Security to prevent any people in the ‘No fly list’ from entering U.S. airspace.
This means that SFPD information will be required for travellers flying to or from Canada,
Mexico, Cuba, and the Dominican Republic. This information would need to be submitted at least
72 hours before your departure.
If you have provided your full
Advance Passenger Information (API)
while booking a flight, however, then the airline will provide the required personal details for you.
This is just the information which you would have supplied when you bought your ticket. This system
has been adopted by the US, most EU states, and a number of other countries. Airlines generally ask
for this information during the booking stage or occasionally during check-in.
API consists of:
- Your full name as on your passport