How to complete the ESTA application form

In order to apply for an ESTA travel authorization for visiting the US, you must first fill out an online application form (available here). In this form, you have to provide your passport details, personal information, some details about your itinerary (e.g. whether you are traveling to the US or just transiting) and answer some background questions.

You can find a detailed step-by-step guide on how to fill out every field in the application form here:

Step 1: Passport Details

In this step, you have to provide your passport information. It is really important that all of this this information matches the one on your passport. Any discrepancies might void your application, so ensure that you enter your first and last name exactly as it appears in the machine readable zone (MRZ) at the bottom of your passport, and the rest of the information as it appears on the bio page of your passport.

In this step, you have to provide the following information:

  • First Name – Should be entered exactly as it appears in the machine readable zone of your passport.
  • Last Name – Should be entered exactly as it appears in the machine readable zone of your passport.
  • Gender
  • Date of Birth
  • Place of Birth – Should be entered in the same format as it appears on your passport.
  • Country of Birth
  • Passport Number – This is the number that appears on your passport bio page. This number is unique to your passport, and not the same as your personal identity number.
  • Nationality/Country of Citizenship
  • Passport Issuing Country – This is the country which issued your passport. Typically this is the same as your nationality.
  • Date of Issuance – The date your passport was issued. It appears in the bottom left corner
  • Date of Expiry – The date on which your passport expires. It appears at the bottom of your passport, to the right of the issuance date.

Step 2: Other Nationalities

In this field you have to declare if you are currently, or have previously been, a national/citizen of any other country than the one indicated above. In case you answer either question affirmatively, you then have to answer which country you are or were a national of, and for how long.

Step 3: Email Address

Here you have to provide the email address where you want to receive your approval letter. This is also where you will be contacted if any additional information is required in order to complete your application. It is thus important that you enter this email address correctly, as you might otherwise not receive the response to your application.

Step 4: Personal Details

In this step, you have to provide your personal information, such as your address and contact information, the names of your parents, and your current job situation.

In this step, you have to provide the following information:

  • Have you ever had any other names or aliases? – If that is the case, you must provide your former name(s).
  • Have you ever been issued a passport or an identity document by another country? – If you answer affirmatively, you have to specify the document type, document number, and document issuance date.
  • Contact Information
    • Address
    • City
    • State/region/province – Here you should provide the region you live in, for example “London”
    • Country
    • Country Code – E.g. “+44” if you are a using a British phone number.
  • Parents
    • Father’s First Name
    • Father’s Last Name
    • Mother’s First Name
    • Mother’s Last Name
  • Employment
    • Do you have a current or former employer?

Employment Information

If you answered affirmatively on whether you have any current or former employer, you must provide the following information:

  • Employer’s Name – The name of the company you work or worked for.
  • Employer Address
  • City
  • Region
  • Country

Step 5: Itinerary Information

To begin with, you have to answer the following question:

  • Is your journey to the US in transit to a third country?

If you answered “No”, you must also answer the following question:

If your final destination is the US (i.e. you are not just transiting through the US), please provide the following information about your US contact person. This can be a friend, family member, hotel, Airbnb host, etc. If you don’t have any contact person, you can write “UNKNOWN” in the text fields and “0000” in the phone number field.

  • Name
  • Address
  • State – E.g. New York, Texas, etc.
  • Country Code
  • Phone Number

Emergency Contact

Regardless of whether you are traveling to the US or merely transiting, you are asked to provide an emergency contact, either inside or outside the US:

  • First Name
  • Last Name
  • Email Address
  • Country Code
  • Phone Number

Step 6: Background Questions

In order to complete your application, you must answer nine background questions to establish your eligibility for an ESTA authorization. Please read these questions carefully before answering:

  1. Do you have a physical or mental illness, or are you addicted to drugs, or do you currently have some of the following diseases: Cholera, Diphtheria, Tuberculosis infectious, Plague, Smallpox, Yellow Fever, Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers, including Ebola, Lassa, Marburg, Crimean-Congo, Severe acute respiratory illnesses capable of transmission to other persons and likely to cause mortality.
  2. Have you been arrested or convicted of a crime that resulted in serious damage to property or serious harm to another person or state authority?
  3. Have you ever violated any law regarding the possession, use or distribution of illegal drugs?
  4. Are you seeking participation in, or have you ever participated in, terrorist activities, espionage, sabotage or genocide?
  5. Have you ever committed fraud or given a misleading image of yourself in order to obtain, or help others obtain, a visa or access to the United States?
  6. Are you currently looking for work in the United States, or have you previously been employed in the United States without prior permission from the United States Government?
  7. Have you ever been denied a US visa that you applied for with your current or previous passport, or have you ever been denied entry into the United States or had your application for entry into the United States withdrawn at a U.S. entry point?
  8. Have you ever stayed longer in the United States than the period allotted to you by the U.S. government?
  9. Have you traveled to or been to Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen on March 1, 2011 or later?

If you answered questions 9 affirmatively, you may still be able to obtain an ESTA authorization, provided that you visited those regions in your capacity as a member of a Visa Waiver Program government or military. However, upon arrival in the US, you may be asked for proof to verify this statement.

Step 7: Waiver of rights

In order to finalize your applications, you have to agree to waive certain rights by submitting your application: I have read and understand that I hereby waive my right to reconsider or appeal a CBP (US Customs and Border Protection) official’s decision to enter for the entire period of my travel permit obtained through ESTA, or to contest the deportation as a result of an application for entry under the Visa Waiver Program except in the case of an application for asylum.

In addition to the above waiver as a condition of each entry into the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, I accept that submission of biometric identifiers (including fingerprints and photographs) during the process upon arrival in the United States reaffirms my waiver of any right to reassess or appeal a CBP (US) Customs and Border Protection) official’s decision to enter and contest the deportation following an application for entry under the Visa Waiver Program except in the case of an application for asylum.


I, the applicant, confirm that I have read, or have read to me, all the questions and statements on this application and understand all the questions and statements on this application. The answers and information provided in this application are, to the best of my knowledge, true and correct.

Step 8: Payment Window

Before you can submit your application, you must pay all applicable payment fees using your credit or debit card.

Step 9: You receive your approval letter at your email address

After you have completed and paid for your application, you will receive a reply already within an hour. However, if your application require additional processing, it may take up to 72 hours before you receive a response. Make sure you check your inbox for any requests for additional information.

Step 10: Your ESTA authorization is now valid

After you receive your approval letter, you are now ready to go. Your authorization is electronically linked to your passport, so that is all you need to verify your ESTA status.