Skip to main content

Visa Waiver Program and ESTA application

The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens of participating countries to travel to the U.S. for tourism or business for up to 90 days without a visa.

Find out the requirements for ESTA

If you are a citizen of a country participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), you must meet the eligibility requirements to travel to the U.S. under the program. You will also need authorization through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) before beginning your trip. Learn about the VWP and ESTA and if your country participates in the program.

How to request a travel authorization to the U.S. through ESTA

If you find out your country participates in the Visa Waiver Program:

  1. Confirm that your passport meets the program requirements. You must have an electronic passport or “e-Passport” to participate in the VWP. This type of passport includes a chip.

  2. Complete the ESTA application online.

  3. Pay the fees: The total cost is $21. When you apply, you will pay a $4 processing fee. If you are approved to travel to the U.S., you must pay an additional $17 authorization fee. Learn about the payment options available to pay ESTA fees.

When you complete and submit the form and processing fee, you will get an ESTA application number. Use that number to check the status of your application. It may take up to 72 hours to find out if you are authorized to travel to the U.S. under the VWP.

Each approved ESTA application is generally valid for two years and allows multiple visits to the U.S. within that period without having to apply for another travel approval. If your passport expires in less than two years, you will receive an ESTA approval valid until the passport's expiration date.

When you travel to the U.S. for tourism or business under the VWP, you may stay up to 90 days per visit.

If you have questions about the ESTA and VWP application process, visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) FAQ page.

Other travel documents you will need to enter the U.S.

Even if you qualify for the VWP, you will need to bring a passport from your country of citizenship to enter the U.S. Generally, a visitor’s passport must not expire less than six months from the date they plan to exit the U.S. But some countries extend the validity of their passports for an additional six months after expiration. They are known as being part of the “Six Month Club.” Learn which countries are exempt from the six-month passport rule.

When you enter the U.S., officials at your port of entry will issue you a Form I-94W, an electronic record of your entry date. Learn more about I-94W and how to apply.

LAST UPDATED: May 20, 2024

SHARE THIS PAGE:

Have a question?

Ask a real person any government-related question for free. They will get you the answer or let you know where to find it.

Top