What Information Is Required for ESTA Application?

The ESTA application is a very short form that you can complete digitally and you must provide the information for a set of questions that will determine whether your application is approved or not. Generally, it will only take around 10 minutes to find all of the required information on the application but your application will be quicker if you have all of the required information to hand.
Information required in the ESTA application form:
  • Name
  • Address
  • DOB
  • Passport details
  • Parents' names
  • Contact details
  • Employment details
  • Travel details
  • Emergency contact details
In addition to providing this information, there is a section containing eligibility questions which asks you about any criminal convictions, terrorist activities, physical or mental disorders, drug abuse and fraudulent activity. You will also need to confirm whether you have travelled to/visited Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen since 2011.
The eligibility questions are the main information that the Department of Homeland Security have in place to help them to screen applicants for any risks related to security and health to the US. The Department of Homeland Security is also interested in whether an applicant has previously overstayed in the US longer than they had permission for, or whether a previous visa has been refused.
There is also an optional section where the applicant can provide their social media usernames. This is a question that Homeland Security only recently added to the ESTA application process. Given that this section is optional, the majority of applicants leave it blank, so it is likely that Homeland Security will review whether this question needs to be included or made mandatory in the future.
On the ESTA application, all of the required information that is mandatory is marked with an asterisk and if the required information is not completed, you will not be able to progress to the next page or submit the application.
Once all of the answers have been completed on the application, it is important that the applicant thoroughly checks the answers that they have provided because a small error could result in Homeland Security declining the application. So, information like the passport number should be carefully checked to ensure the correct details are being provided before submitting the application.

What happens after the application is submitted?

When the ESTA application is submitted, it will then be reviewed by the Department of Homeland Security and if there are any issues flagged regarding the answers provided in the eligibility questions, then the ESTA will usually be refused. If an ESTA application is declined, there is still a chance that the applicant would be able to visit the US by applying for a tourist visa instead, or any other relevant type of visa that they may be eligible for, depending on their reason for visiting the US.
If the ESTA application is approved, then the ESTA will be automatically electronically linked the applicant’s passport. When the person arrives at the CBP, the border agents will check the passport to see that there is a valid ESTA linked to it. However, even if a traveler has a valid ESTA, the CBP may still find it necessary to prevent them from entering the US, should they deem them to be a security or health threat to the US.

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