VWP Visa Waiver Programme / ESTA Electronic online Travel Application for the US United States Of America

United States: US Visa Waiver / ESTA Scheme Information

For information on airport security procedures & luggage restrictions on flights to the United States please see the ‘America Flights’ section

Legal Disclaimer Though the information herein has been very carefully researched it is given only as a guide for reference purposes. Anyone participating in this scheme – which is now mandatory for those wishing to travel to the United States without a visa should use the links provided below to check their eligibilty to particapte. They should also note that United States Department of Homeland Security who oversee this process have the right to add or remove countries from the scheme and change its operating criteria at any tme.

Personal Status Of Applicants

All must have applicants a valid passport. Children named on their parents passports must make a seperate application. There may be specific variations to the guidelines determined above in individual countries which will result in individuals because of their personal status may effect their entitlement to participate in the scheme.

Further Information And Advice On The Visa Waiver Sxheme & The ESTA Process

An individual can establish whether he or she is eligible to participating in the scheme by using the US Governments ‘Visa Waiver Wizard

External Websites:

There is no charge for the application or entitlement that a successful application to ESTA renders. The Visa Waiver Wizard above should be able to supply you with all relevant information to the application. Other commercial organisations offering you assistance with any such application will apply an administration charge.

Information on how to apply for a VISA proper is given on the US Government Travel website. Various commercial organisations will make visa applications on your behalf likewise and apply an administration charge for so doing. This charge will be over and above the processing fee charged by the Americam Embassy / Consulate.

Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) Criteria

The American Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has introduced a new mandatory online visa registration system for people who because of their personal status in certain countries (See bottom of this article) do not need to apply for a visa to visit the United States.Authorisation to participate in this scheme permits and individual to enter the United States as a tourist or on business provided their stay is 90 days or less without obtaining a visa. The guidelines and rules associating with this scheme do not apply to US citizens travelling overseas.

This VWP scheme is known as ESTA – the Electronic System For Tracel Authority ( ESTA ) is mandatory process for all nationals or citizens from the countries named below wishing to enter the United States for a stay of 90 days or less without a visa. It applies to all such visitors whether their entry into America is by air or sea and irrespective of whether their visit is for business or tourist purposes.

Automatic Exclusions From The VWP Scheme

The rules dos not apply to U.S. citizens traveling overseas.

Anyone wishing to stay for 91 days or more must obtain a visa.

Individuals that possess already valid visa will still be able to travel to the United States on that visa for the purpose it was issued. Individuals traveling on valid visas will not be required to apply for an ESTA.

Individual that have previously been refused a visa on or offline cannot participate in this scheme and should contact their local American Embassy / Consulate.

Countries Authorised to Participate In The Visa Waiver Scheme:

Andorra, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom*

Seven other countries have recently been approved for membership of this scheme.: Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovak Republic and South Korea.

The US Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, may add / remove countries from or alter the criteria for this programme at any time.

Addittional Criteria For Specific Countries Specified Above:

Visitors from Andorra Belgium Brunei, Liechtenstein and Slovenia must present a machine-readable passport in order to be granted admission under the VWP.

Citizens From The Above Countries Who Cannot Apply To The Scheme

UK Passports: Only United Kingdom passports notated with “British Citizens” and/or “with unrestricted right of abode in the United Kingdom” are eligible for VWP admission. Holders of passports indicating that the bearer is a British Subject, British Dependent Territories Citizen, British Overseas Citizen or British National (Overseas) do not qualify for VWP travel

How To Apply / To Register For The VWP Scheme Via ESTA

To apply for authorization to travel to the United States under the VWP, travellers should log on to the ESTA web-based system and complete an application online providing the biographical and eligibility information required.

ESTA applications may be submitted at any before travelling to the United States but not less than 72 hours before their departure time*. VWP travellers are encouraged to apply for authorization as soon as they begin to plan a trip to the United States. If applicants’ destination addresses or itineraries should change after their authorization has been approved, they may easily update that information through the ESTA website.

Once an ESTA application has been successfully completed and submitted online, the application will be queried against appropriate law enforcement databases etc.. All ESTA application data will remain active for the period of time that the ESTA authorization is valid.

*Note: The United States Border Authorities advise all people wishing to enter the US under this scheme to make their application when they start to plan their visit. This is because anyone who is not accepted for this scheme online may have to wait a considerable time before they can be interviewed and appeal the decision. See Refused Applications below

Notification Of The Outcome Of All Applications

Usually, ESTA will provide an almost immediate determination of an applicants eligibility for travel under the VWP. Possible responses include: Authorization Approved, Travel Not Authorized, or Authorization Pending.

Refused & Rejected Applications For VWP

If an ESTA applicant is denied authorization to travel to the United States under the VWP, he or she will be referred to www.travel.state.gov for information on how to apply for a visa to travel to the United States. Find your nearest European US embassy here If your application for a Travel Authorization is denied, you must apply for a B-1 Visitor Visa or B-2 Tourist Visa which can take months. There is a fee of over $130 for this process.

Emergency Applications In Person

These should be made to you nearest American Consulate / Embassy. However there is no guarantee that any such application will be made within a specific time frame. For details of your nearest European American Embassy / Consulate see the US Embassies page

Approved ESTA Travel Authorization Notes:
  • valid for two years or until the traveller’s passport expires, whichever comes first.
  • valid for multiple entries into the U.S.; but
  • it does not a guarantee of admissibility to the United States at a port of entry. ESTA approval only authorizes a traveller to board a carrier bound for the U.S. under the VWP. In all cases, CBP officers make admissibility determinations at all US ports of entry. For additional information, please see Know Before You Go” at their website.
Retention Of Data In VWP Applications:

All information submitted to the Department Of Homeland Security will be retained for onel year, and then will be ‘archived’ for a further twelve years to allow retrieval of the information for law enforcement and investigatory purposes.



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