ESTA for Finnish Citizens -

ESTA for Finnish Citizens

In this article

Citizens of Finland can benefit from applying for an ESTA as the country is part of the Visa Waiver Program meaning they do not require a US visa to travel to the US. Finland became a member of the VWP in 1991 and citizens of Finland can visit the US for tourism, business, medical or transit purposes using the ESTA.

ESTA Requirements and Important Information

  • Maximum stay in the US is 90 days at a time
  • Required for travellers flying or arriving by sea to the US
  • Valid for two years (whilst passport remains valid)
  • Use for multiple trips to the US during validity
  • Links electronically to a biometric passport
  • Use for tourism, business, transit or medical purposes
  • All individual must have their individual ESTA, including children
Application for Finnish Citizens

Do Finnish Citizens Need a Visa to Go to the United States?

Finnish passport holders who plan to visit briefly do not need a visa for the US and can take advantage of the visa exemption. They can apply for an online entry permit through the ESTA application.

With a US ESTA, Finnish visitors can make multiple entries to the country for up to 90 days per visit, for purposes such as tourism, business, and transit.

However, if Finnish nationals want to stay longer in the US or visit for other reasons like long-term studies or job-seeking opportunities, they need to get the appropriate visa.

US ESTA vs US Visa: What Are the Differences?

Although similar in purpose, an ESTA authorisation and a visa are not the same.

To obtain an ESTA, one must complete an online application, while a U.S. visa requires a DS-160 form and an embassy appointment in the country of residence. The latter takes several weeks to process with unpredictable timelines that may not align with travel plans. It is more expensive compared to ESTA too.

However, an approved U.S. visa provides several rights that are not extended to ESTA applicants. Also, entry to the United States is not guaranteed for approved ESTA applicants since their admissibility is subject to CBP's discretion at the U.S. border.

Benefits of Applying for ESTA for Finnish Citizens

Citizens of Finland have many advantages due to being in the VWP and therefore being eligible to apply for the ESTA. One of the key advantages is that the process of applying for an ESTA is considerably quicker than if you apply for a US visa. With a US visa, a long DS-160 form must be completed and also you must arrange an interview at the US Embassy in Finland.

The ESTA application can be submitted by filling in an online form and you will quickly receive confirmation by email as to whether your application has been successful. There is no need to visit the Embassy and the whole processing time is usually no more than a day. Processing time can vary but usually takes just a few hours, although it is recommended that you apply at least 72 hours prior to travel plans for the US in case any issues arise.

When your ESTA is approved, you are able to use it for multiple visits to the US provided that your passport remains valid and that you do not stay for longer than 90 days at a time. Additionally, it costs less to apply for an ESTA than it does to apply for a US visa.

How Finnish Citizens Can Apply for ESTA

Citizens from Finland must have a valid biometric passport to be able to apply for an ESTA. Another requirement is to have a valid email address for the correspondence to be sent to and a card to make the payment for the application fee.

Once you visit the ESTA application website, you will be required to complete a set of questions such as name, address, DOB and medical questions. The application will be screened by the Department of Homeland Security to determine whether the application will be approved, or refused. The form is quick to fill in and is usually done in just 10 minutes.

Passport Requirements

For Finnish nationals planning a trip abroad, it is essential that their passport remains valid for at least six months past their scheduled departure. Furthermore, those utilizing the Visa Waiver Programme are obliged to maintain a passport with chronological integrity for no less than 90 days. If such requirements can't be fully established, then visitors may remain in the country until their documents reach their anticipated termination date.

Additionally, the passport has to be an electronic, biometric one, also known as e-passport.

Do Finnish Minors Have to Get a US ESTA?

When Finnish families plan a visit to the USA with minors, they must fill out an individual application for each family member.

However, parents or legal guardians of minors can complete the application on their behalf and use the same email ID for all requests.

Do Dual Citizens of the United States or Canada Need an ESTA?

No, Finnish citizens holding dual citizenship don't have to apply for an ESTA or a visa. Instead, they should use their American or Canadian passports when traveling to the US.

US ESTA Ineligibility: Who Doesn’t Qualify for an ESTA?

Individuals with certain criminal records, communicable illnesses, previous deportation or overstaying in the U.S. will most probably need a visa to enter the US. Travelers with minor traffic offenses without arrest or conviction are allowed to apply for an ESTA. However, having an outstanding fine or warrant could get you denied.

The same goes for travelers who have visited Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, North Korea, Yemen, Sudan, and/or Syria, or are nationals of these countries. Also, visa-free travel does not permit work, study or stays beyond 90 days.

What to do if ESTA is Declined

In the event that the ESTA is refused, there may still be a possibility of visiting the US. If you think the ESTA was refused because you made a mistake on the application form, you may be able to resend a new application but will need to pay a second application fee. If the ESTA was declined for another reason, you may be able to travel to the US by obtaining a US visa through the US Embassy in Finland.

US Embassy in Finland

U.S. Embassy Helsinki
Itäinen Puistotie 14 B
00140 Helsinki

Benefits of ESTA for Finnish citizens:
  • Can be used on several visits to the US
  • Quick to process
  • Use for tourism, business, medical or transit
  • Fast application completion
  • Can apply using a mobile or desktop
  • Use for visits to US of up to 90 days
When Must a US Visa Be Obtained Instead of an ESTA?

If you want to extend your stay beyond 90 days or the purpose of your travel is something other than short-term tourism, transit, or business purposes you should apply for the appropriate US visa instead of an ESTA. Also, getting a US visa is recommended if you are subject to any restrictions imposed by the Immigration and Nationality Act.

Written by Abisola Fikayomi

Abisola is an accomplished writer interested in US Travel, immigration, passports and visas. She’s passionate about exploring new places and cultures and willing to share her experiences, expertize and findings with others. That is her primary drive for specialising in this industry.


Finnish nationals have the benefit of being able to take advantage of the Visa Waiver Program to enter the United States without a visa for up to 90 days for each occasion for tourism, transit, or business activities once all requirements for VWP eligibility have been met and a valid ESTA is present.
Yes, Finns can travel to the USA with a valid passport; along with meeting the criteria of qualification of the Visa Waiver Program, having a current ESTA enables Finnish citizens to visit without needing to obtain a visa during their stay under that period.
Individuals from Finland may remain in the USA for a maximum of 90 days without a visa; although, they must adhere to all the stipulations of the Visa Waiver Program in order to do so. When there is any intent that exceeds this amount of time or any other motives for visiting exist, acquiring a visa becomes necessary.