If you are travelling to the USA, the US authorities have introduced a requirement for passengers travelling under the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP), to register for Electronic Travel Authority. Passengers who have not applied for and received travel authorisation via ESTA prior to travel may be denied boarding, experience delayed processing, or be denied admission at the US port of entry. However, neither possession of a visa, nor meeting the basic requirements for travelling visa-free on the VWP, guarantees admission to the United States. As with most countries, the final determination of admissibility is made by immigration officials at the port of entry. Please remember that issue of ESTA does not guarantee admissibility to the United States - it is only part of the travel approval process.
All queries in relation to this requirement should be addressed via the US Embassy Consular department. Please remember that if you are refused boarding or denied admission at the US port of entry, you will still be subject to our cancellation charges in accordance with the terms of our contract with you.
There is an online application form which is available now at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov. Prior to travel, you will need to visit this website and fill in the on-line application (currently in English only).
US Customs and Border Protection has announced that from 8th September 2010, a fee of $14.00 will be charged for each application for a new or renewed ESTA. All Payments must be made by credit or debit card when applying for or renewing an ESTA at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov. The ESTA system accepts the following credit/debit cards: MasterCard, VISA, American Express, and Discover. Your application will not be submitted for processing until all payment information is received.
If you intend to travel to the United States of America, you must apply for entry via ESTA a minimum of 72 hours prior to travel.
Your ESTA will be valid for up to two years, or until your passport expires - whichever comes first. It is also valid for multiple entries to the US. However you must amend any necessary data, such as date of travel and your address whilst in the US.
Yes. The requirement for you to apply for ESTA does not remove the need for you to provide the same or similar information for API (including first night address). ESTA is an additional requirement - it does not replace any existing documentation.
Please consult the VWP information on the US Embassy London website: http://www.usembassy.org.uk.