What information does ESTA need?

When applying for an ESTA, the information provided will help the department of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) cross check your information with no-fly and criminal databases. This is done in order to prevent individuals who might pose a threat to national security from entering the United States.
Implementing this extra level of security is the top priority, the authorities also recognize that it is important to make the process of collecting the required data as simple and as straightforward as possible.
This is a list of the information that ESTA needs for the application:

Applicant information

Please note that you will need a good quality scan of your passport, the machine readable part needs to be clear for the page to be able to read it – if it is not clear enough then an error will appear.
On this page you need the following information:
  • City of birth - the system will also accept the town you were born in, or if you do not know you can always write ‘unknown’.
  • Country of birth
  • Passport Number - this field will be populated automatically when you upload your passport on the page.
  • Country of citizenship
  • National Identification Number - only applicable if the country you are from issues an Identification Card
  • Passport details - this includes things like issuance date and issuing country.
    • You also need to indicate if you were issued a passport or an identity card by any other country. In this section, ESTA will require the issuing country, document type, document number, and expiration year. You will also need to state if you hold or have held a citizenship of any other country.
    • This page on the application will also ask if you are a member of a CBP Global Entry Program. This program allows for the expedited clearance for pre-approved travelers when they arrive at the U.S. so if you are a member you can use an automated kiosk when you land at airports that have this option available. Travellers need to go through a rigorous background check as well as interviews in order to be considered for the Global Entry Program.
  • The names of your parents.
  • You will also need to input your contact information - such as your address, phone number, and email address.
  • You need to specify your current or past employment information, you can also list that as "No" if you do not have a job at the moment or if you did not have a job in the past.

Travel Information

If you’re not stopping in the U.S. during transit on your way to another country, you need to indicate your U.S. point of contact information. You will also need to write the address you’re staying in the U.S. - this can also be the same as the point of contact. Where you will be there in transit, indicate this.

Eligibility Questions

These are a series of Yes or No questions to determine whether or not you are eligible to travel using ESTA. You need to answer these questions truthfully as your information can be cross checked with travel and criminal databases.
In this section you will be requested to provide the following in relation to yourself:
  • Any history of mental illness, criminal activity, or communicable disease
  • Whether you have ever committed fraud or engaged in terrorist activities, sabotage, or genocide
  • Whether you are currently seeking employment in the U.S. or worked in the United States without the necessary government permission
  • You need to state if you were previously denied a visa to the U.S. or overstayed a visa
  • The last thing is that you need to state whether or not you have travelled to Iraq, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen on or after March 1 2011.
You will also need to nominate someone to be your emergency contact in or out of the U.S.

Related FAQs

How can I check my ESTA application if the application number doesn’t exist anymore?

Once your ESTA permit has expired, you will not be able to check it and the number will no longer exist, therefore you will have to apply for a new ESTA authorisation. This means you will have to fill in the form once again and you will have to repay the fee.

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Can I fix a mistake on my ESTA application?

Prior to payment, you can amend all the details in your application. Once you have paid and submitted your ESTA application, there are some mistakes that you can amend but the majority will require for you to submit a completely new application.

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How Long Does an ESTA Application Take?

One of the key benefits of applying for an ESTA instead of applying for a US visa is that the processing time is much faster. The whole process is completed online, which means that the administration elements are much quicker. Generally, an ESTA application will take less than 72 hours to get processed but in many cases, it is much quicker than this, even taking a few minutes in some applications.

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