What is ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation)?

All travelers to the US require a Visa and there are several types. Certain countries however are exempt from needing a Visa when travelling to the United States for 90 days or less; this is the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

ESTA, Electronic System for Travel Authorisation, is the system that now manages and processes the applications for travelers wanting to enroll in the VWP.

You can submit an application to ESTA using .

Which countries participate in the Visa Waiver Programme?

Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Malta, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.

(As at October 2013)

What are the requirements for submitting an ESTA application?

All citizens or nationals of VWP countries (please see above) who plan to travel to the U.S. on a plane or cruise ship for temporary business or pleasure for 90 days or less under the VWP will need authorisation via ESTA.

If the travel to the United States is a stopover en route to another country, an authorisation via ESTA is still required.

How do I apply for ESTA?

Visit to apply for ESTA authorisation.

Complete the online form paying close attention to the data required from your passport, pay the mandatory application fee and then submit your application for travel authorisation.

I am travelling with my family. Can I make a group application?

Currently it is not possible to submit bulk/multiple applications. You will need to submit an individual application for each person travelling in your family/group. The same applies if you are travelling within any group.

Can someone else apply for ESTA on my behalf?

A third party can apply on your behalf and pay your application fees however you are responsible for the information that is being submitted by the third party in your application.

How long before I travel must I submit my ESTA application?

You can submit your application any time prior to travel however we highly recommend you apply at least 72 hours before leaving. Whilst most applications are completed within 4 hours of submission, there are sometimes factors out of our control which can delay processing the application.

If you are intending to travel within 72 hours then we suggest contacting us at [email protected] so that we may do our best to Fast Track your application.

How long is an ESTA valid for?

Each ESTA application is valid for 2 years or until your passport expires, whichever comes sooner.

What are the possible responses I may receive?

  • Authorisation Approved: Travel authorised.
  • Authorisation Denied: Traveler must obtain a nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate before traveling to the U.S. Please check the US Department of State website for more information at
  • Authorisation Pending: ESTAFastTrack will update on progress on your application updates up to and within 72 hours to receive a final response. In 99% of cases, an answer is provided within 4 hours.

Do ESTA applications cost anything?

There is a fee of £79.99 per ESTA application which includes a $14 fee paid directly to the United States Customs and Border Protection. Payment for ESTA applications must be made online by credit card or debit card.

If I gain my ESTA authorisation, does that mean I can enter the country?

An authorisation to travel only permits a traveler to board a plane or ship for travel to the United States without a visa.

In all cases, U.S. Customs and Border Protection staff will make a final assessment at ports of entry or pre-clearance centers.

I have recently applied via ESTAFastTrack for ESTA authorisation but my contact information has changed, what do I do?

Contact us as soon as possible at [email protected] so that we can update our records so that you don’t miss any updates on your application.

Will my personal details be protected and secure?

Yes. The website is operated by ESTAFastTrack and employs the latest security enhanced technology to prevent unauthorised access to the information entered and viewed. We use 128-bit encryption provided by a GeoTrust SSL certificate. Information entered by applicants using the ESTAFastTrack website is 100% secure and encrypted and access to such information is limited to those with a professional need to know. We do not sell data to any third parties and once your transaction is completed, sensitive private information (credit card details) will not be stored on our servers.