ESTA for Portuguese Citizens -

ESTA for Portuguese Citizens

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In 1999, Portugal became a member of the Visa Waiver Program and as a result, citizens of Portugal are entitled to apply for an ESTA when they wish to visit the US. This is a much easier and straightforward process than applying for a US Visa.

ESTA Requirements and Important Information

  • ESTA applicant must have a valid biometric passport
  • Can only be used for visits to the US of up to 90 days maximum
  • The same ESTA may be used for multiple visits whilst valid
  • Children are required to have their own ESTA
  • Travel authorisation is required when visiting US by air or by sea
  • Remains valid for up to 2 years
Application for Portuguese Citizens

Do Portuguese Citizens Need a Visa for the USA?

Portuguese citizens don't need a visa per se; they need travel approval and it can come in the form of a US visa or an ESTA. ESTA or Electronic System for Travel Authorisation is an approval to enter the US that does not function as a visa. It's much easier to get and is only available to certain countries - members of the Visa Waiver Programme.

Benefits of Applying for ESTA for Portuguese Citizens

As members of the Visa Waiver Program, citizens from Portugal can benefit from the much simpler process of applying for an ESTA instead of applying for the US Visa. Additional benefits include a much faster processing time, as the ESTA is normally approved within 24 hours. It can take considerably longer than this if there are any system issues, so it is advisable to apply for an ESTA at least 72 hours before planning to travel to the US.

The ESTA application form is very short, especially when compared to the longer application form related to the US Visa application. The fee that you must pay for the application is also cheaper for an ESTA than it is for the US Visa, which is another key benefit.

The entire ESTA application process is completed digitally, with no requirement to attend an interview in person at the US embassy, which is the case when applying for a US Visa.

How Portuguese Citizens Can Apply for ESTA

Provided that Portuguese citizens have a biometric passport, a valid email address and a card to make the transaction fee with, they are eligible to apply for the ESTA and all of the benefits that this entails. Citizens of Portugal can visit the ESTA application website and fill in the required details. The form is very short to complete, often taking around 10 minutes to fill in everything.

The applicant will be required to provide their passport details, personal details such as name address, date of birth and medical history. There is also a section related to criminal convictions and recent travel history related to certain countries. Once all of the details have been completed, the applicant should check over all the details they have provided to ensure they are correct, make the application fee payment and submit their application.

The US Department of Homeland Security will then screen the applicant to determine whether they are happy to approve the application.

How Soon Should You Apply for an ESTA?

You can submit an application at any time before your trip to the US, but it is recommended to apply as soon as you start preparing travel plans or before you buy the airline tickets.

US ESTA for Portugal: Validity and Permitted Stay

For Portuguese nationals, the stay is permitted for 90 days per entry. The ESTA will enable visitors to enter the US multiple times for two years after it is issued, but none of these visits can exceed 90 days. The trip must be for business, tourism or medical purpose only; nothing else is permitted.

When Do Portuguese Nationals Need to Obtain New ESTA?

In the event that any of the following situations occur, Portuguese citizens must submit an application for a new ESTA:

  • The passport is about to expire
  • A new passport has been issued
  • They alter their name or gender
  • The responses to the ESTA qualifying requirements alter

ESTA Processing Time

ESTA approval usually takes up to 72 hours, but in most cases, the applications get approved quickly - in a matter of hours.

What to do if ESTA is Declined

In the event that an ESTA gets declined, it is possible to send another application if the details provided in the previous application were incorrect. However, if the ESTA application has been declined and all the details provided were correct, then the only other option is to apply for a US Visa. This can be done by completing a DS 160 form and arranging an interview at the US Embassy.

US Embassy Address in Portugal

U.S. Embassy Lisbon
Avenida das Forças Armadas
1600-081 Lisboa

Do ESTA Requirements Apply to Travelers Under 18?

Before accessioning the United States, all travelers - including minors - must acquire an ESTA, regardless of their age. The same set of documents and requirements is applicable to both adults and kids. Parents or legal guardians are allowed to submit an application on behalf of their children.

Does an ESTA Place Obligations on United States or Canadian Dual Citizens?

Individuals native to Portugal but also having US/Canadian citizenship do not require an ESTA or a visa. To ease customs clearance at their entry into America, it is best for this dual-citizenship group to show their American/Canadian passports when checked by Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

Benefits of ESTA for Portuguese Citizens:
  • Application is fast to process
  • Visit US for business, tourism, medical or transit
  • Can be used multiple times
  • Use for trips to US up to 90 days long
  • Form is very short to fill in
  • Everything is processed digitally

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.


The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) permits Portuguese nationals to visit the United States for up to 90 days without a visa for leisure or business purposes. To enter the US under VWP, they need to apply for an ESTA.
You may enter the United States as many times as you like using either an ESTA or a visa. The immigration officer would likely interrogate you in-depth about the reason for your visit if you use ESTA to enter the country again quickly after staying there for close to 90 days.
Citizens of Portugal can spend a maximum of 90 days in the US without a visa, under an ESTA. But they can only travel for tourism, business, or medical purposes in this case.