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Do I need an ESTA for New York?

Do I need an ESTA for New York?

ESTA - Electronic System for Travel Authorization

ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) is an online application form that you will need to complete for your New York trip. ESTA is part of the enhanced security requirements in the USA. Anybody travelling to the US, under the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP), needs an ESTA. The VWP allows most British Citizens, with a valid electronic passport to visit the US, for up to 90 days, without a visa. Even though you don’t need a visa, you are required to apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA), at least 3 days BEFORE you travel to New York.

How do I apply for an ESTA?

It’s easy to apply for an ESTA online. It costs $14, which can be paid by credit card or PayPal. Usually, you’ll receive approval to travel within a couple of seconds but it can take a bit longer. You can go to ‘Check ESTA Status’, on the website and log in to see the status of your application. I advise that you apply within plenty of, time to avoid any delays. “Authorisation Approved” means the ESTA was approved and you are good to travel. “Travel Not Authorised” means that you must contact your embassy or consulate and “Authorisation Pending” means you need to check the status again, later.

Make sure other members of your group also fill in this information. Even babies travelling, without a plane ticket, need their own ESTA. The ESTA is valid for 2 years from application and you can retrieve it on the site if you return to the US, within this time. You don’t need to re-enter the information, except is if your passport has changed. Then you need to reapply and pay the fee again. You should be aware that there are companies who are willing to fill the application for you, who will charge a lot more. Please know that you are then paying for an unnecessary service. Everybody can apply for ESTA themselves.

Eric’s Tip: It’s possible to apply for an ESTA for multiple people, in a group-application. In my experience, however, there are often more complications that come up with these applications. I recommend making all applications separately. It will take a little more time but will ensure that the application goes through without frustration. 

Applying for ESTA without a credit card

When you apply for ESTA via the official site, you can only pay by credit card or Paypal. This can be an issue for some. If you don’t have a credit card and want to pay with your debit card, you can use a website that will fill the application for you. There are, however, additional service fees charged in this process. Apply for an ESTA application with E-visums.co.uk.

Do I need to fill in any more forms?

You don’t need to fill in any extra forms if you have an ESTA, however, if you have a visa you do. The best thing is to check with the flight attendant handing out forms during your flight, bring a pen with you just in case. Customs forms are handed out mid-flight and should be filled it in right away, don’t wait until you’re at customs. Family members with the same surname, only need to complete one form.

How long do I need to have left on my passport?

Do you have a UK passport and are you travelling with an ESTA? In order to enter the United States, your passport must be valid up to and including the day that you are due to leave. To avoid problems in unexpected situations, like a missed or cancelled flight or illness, it’s more realistic to travel with a passport that has a longer validity period.  Also, every traveler, including children and babies, must have their own passport. (This information was last updated on 1st February 2018).

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