ESTA for Swiss Citizens -

ESTA for Swiss Citizens

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Switzerland joined the Visa Waiver Program in 1989 and Swiss citizens are able to apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) instead of obtaining a US visa. This makes it easier for Swiss citizens travelling to the US for business, tourism, medical or transit purposes.

ESTA Requirements and Important Information

  • Use for visits to US for a maximum of 90 days
  • Use for visits to US for a maximum of 90 days
  • Requires a biometric passport
  • Required for travellers either flying or arriving by sea to the US
  • Valid for two years, or until passport expires
  • For business, tourism, medical or transit purposes
  • Children required to have their own ESTA
  • Use for multiple visits to the US
Application for Swiss Citizens

Benefits of Applying for ESTA for Swiss Citizens

The ESTA is ideal for Swiss citizens that want to visit the US for a holiday, or who make regular business trips to the US. The ESTA has a simple application process and takes less than 20 minutes to complete and submit the form. All that citizens of Switzerland require is a valid, biometric passport, an email address and a card to make the ESTA application fee payment with.

So, the process is much easier compared to applying for a US visa, which involves filling out a longer form and attending an interview at the US Embassy. It also costs less to apply for an ESTA than for a US visa and the ESTA is valid for two years (or until passport expires). The ESTA holder is able to use that same ESTA for numerous visits to the US without needing to reapply for another ESTA.

Usually, you can apply for an ESTA and get the response within about 24 hours, although it is recommended that Swiss citizens apply for their ESTA at least 72 hours before they plan to travel. This will allow for any delays and system problems that could affect travel plans.

How Swiss Citizens Can Apply for ESTA

Citizens of Switzerland require a valid passport, card to pay the application fee with and a valid email address. They must complete all of the mandatory information required in the ESTA form, including personal information, passport details and security related questions.

Once the form is completed the applicant should carefully check all of the details that they have supplied to ensure they are correct and accurate. Any errors could mean that the application is denied and could disrupt travel plans to the US, as travellers would not be allowed to board the flight without a valid ESTA in place. Once the application has been submitted, the applicant will receive an email to confirm whether. It has been approved or declined.

What Are the Essential Documents Required for the US ESTA?

Swiss citizens who are applying for a US visa must provide the following documents:

  • Clear digital photos taken recently
  • A legally valid photo ID
  • A legally valid passport has at least one blank page and doesn't expire for at least six months from your entry date in the US
  • An uploaded scan of the information page on your passport
  • A certificate of health
  • Proof of accommodation in the US
  • Documents stating the purpose of your travel
  • A valid email address for updates and document delivery
  • A credit card or debit card for making payments

ESTA Processing Time

The average processing time for obtaining ESTA approval for Swiss citizens is typically very fast; most ESTA applications submitted by Swiss citizens are approved within minutes.

How Much in Advance Should I Apply?

The best option is to apply for a US ESTA at least 72 hours before your departure date. It’s best to apply as soon as you know your definitive travel plans, to avoid any potential delays.

How Long Can Swiss Citizens Stay in the US Under ESTA?

Citizens of Switzerland, under the ESTA, can stay up to 90 days in the USA, and the period begins immediately upon arrival. An appropriate US visa is required if you intend to stay for a longer period than 90 days.

Can A Swiss Citizen Stay Longer Than 90 Days or Extend Their ESTA Beyond 90 Days?

Swiss citizens cannot stay in the US under an ESTA beyond the 90-day limit. There is no possibility of extending the validity of Este. For a longer stay, as we mentioned in the previous section, a visa is necessary, for example, a B1/B2 visitor visa.

Is It Possible to Change Your Status After Entering The US?

The status can be changed only in special circumstances: due to medical or some other extreme reasons (in these cases, it is best to consult the US Embassy). In addition, there is no possibility to change the status after entering the USA under Est. If Swiss citizens wish to change their status, they must leave the US before their 90-day stay and apply for an appropriate visa outside the US.

When Will You Need to Get a New US ESTA?

A new ESTA application is required if any of the following circumstances occur:

  • Your passport expires
  • You obtain a new passport
  • You change your name
  • You change your gender
  • A certificate of health
  • There is a change in your answers to the ESTA eligibility criteria.

What to do if ESTA is Declined

If an ESTA application is declined because the applicant made a mistake on the form, they can re-apply, providing the correct details and paying another application fee. If it has been declined for a different reason, the applicant can try applying for a US visa instead. There are many different types of US visa including tourist, working and studying visas which may be relevant for the purpose of the intended trip to the US. To apply for a US visa, complete a DS-160 form and arrange an interview at the US Embassy in Switzerland.

The US Embassy in Switzerland:

U.S. Embassy Bern
Sulgeneckstrasse 19
CH-3007 Bern, Switzerland

Are the Children Required to Have Their Own ESTA Approval?

Every person, regardless of age, must have their own ESTA travel authorisation when travelling to the US under the Visa Waiver Program. This includes children as well. Parents applicate for ESTA on behalf of their children.

Do Dual Citizens of Switzerland and the United States or Canada also need to Apply for an ESTA?

Dual citizens of Canada and the US do not need to apply for an ESTA because they can use their Canadian passports to enter the US.

The Differences Between an ESTA the and a Visa Explained

The visas and Esta are very different, despite the fact that they both serve the same objective: to let you into the country.

Users may apply for an ESTA online, and the process is far simpler than getting a visa, which requires them to visit the US embassy for an interview. Another distinction is that the visa grants more advantages; it should be underlined, however, that obtaining a visa does not guarantee admission to the United States.

Under What Circumstances Will a Swiss Citizen Need a Visa Instead of an ESTA?

Sometimes, a Swiss citizen will require a visa rather than an ESTA to enter the United States.

Individuals rather need a visa instead of ESTA when:

  • Planning to stay longer than 90 days;
  • Planning to work or study in the United States;
  • They have a criminal history;
  • They are travelling for some other purpose than tourism or business;
  • They are ineligible for the Visa Waiver Program.
Is a Printed Version of the ESTA Travel Authorisation Required to Show at the Airport?

Although having a paper version of your ESTA travel permission to provide at the airport is optional, it's good to have one if the electronic system experiences any problems. You may also save a digital document duplicate on your phone or another electronic device. It is advisable to be prepared because certain airlines or border agents can also want a printed copy.

Does ESTA Approval Guarantee Entry Into the USA?

Unfortunately, an ESTA travel authorisation does not guarantee entrance into the United States. The final decision on entry depends on the customs and border protection officer. This means they can still deny entry if the applicant is ineligible or poses a security or health risk to the country.

Benefits of ESTA for Swiss citizens:
  • Use for multiple visits to US
  • Quick to process
  • Visit US for tourism, business, medical or transit
  • Valid for visits of up to a maximum of 90 days
  • Application is quick to complete
  • Use mobile or desktop to apply
I Have More Questions, What Should I Do?

Visit the FAQs and ESTA Requirements sections on the official website to learn more if you have further queries about the ESTA application procedure. Also, you may email the support team whenever you need more information or individualised assistance.

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.


A visa is required for Swiss nationals only for certain purposes and for trips lasting more than 90 days. If one's visiting as a tourist for less than 90 days, they don't need a visa and can use ESTA.
ESTA is a cheaper and faster option with a 100% online process. It is important to know that it is only suitable for Swiss tourists or business travellers that stay less than 90 days in the US.
From the date it was approved, ESTA lasts for 2 years. It cannot be extended after its expiration.
In case you run out of ESTA while you're there, be sure to get a new one before you leave the US (must be valid for the entire time you're in the US).