CBP Launches Redesigned ESTA Website for Visa Waiver Program Visitors
New website makes the process of applying for an ESTA more traveler-friendly
WASHINGTON — U.S. Customs and Border Protection launched today the redesigned website for Visa Waiver Program (VWP) visitors to apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) prior to traveling to the United States. The new website makes the process of applying for an ESTA more user-friendly and will improve and better facilitate the experience for VWP travelers wishing to visit the United States.
“We recognized the need to improve upon the ESTA application process and with feedback from our stakeholders and travelers, we are proud to launch this easier-to-use site,” said Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske. “CBP remains committed to promoting travel and tourism to the U.S. by improving the international arrivals experience and this website, along with Trusted Traveler Programs and Automated Passport Control are important steps to enhancing travelers’ arrival experience.”
The website has new and improved functionality and navigation capabilities in addition to its new look displaying U.S. landmarks. Some of the new and updated features include:
- Access to frequently asked questions at any time during the application process.
- Mobile-friendly design allows VWP visitors to apply and check the status of their ESTA using their smartphones.
- Users will be able to translate the page into a different language at any point in the application by choosing one of the 23 languages in the language selector.
- The Group feature has been moved to the beginning of the application process making it easier for families and groups to submit their applications at once.
CBP conducted focus groups as part of the redesign process to better understand how to improve the website for the more than 19 million VWP visitors who use it each year.
VWP visitors who have already applied for an ESTA using the old site will be able to access their ESTA on the new site. Travelers with a valid ESTA will not have to reapply for a new ESTA until their current ESTA expires or they receive a new passport.
CBP reminds VWP visitors that ESTA applications can only be submitted through the official website. ESTA is not affiliated with any third-party sites. CBP recommends ESTA applications be submitted as soon as an applicant begins making travel plans.
The VWP enables nationals of 38 designated countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business purposes for stays of 90 days or less without first obtaining a visa. All nationals or citizens of VWP countries are required to have an approved ESTA prior to boarding a carrier to travel by air or sea to the United States under the VWP. ESTA applications should be submitted at least 72 hours before travel, and once approved, will generally be valid for up to two years or until the applicant’s passport expires, whichever comes first. Authorizations will be valid for multiple entries into the United States.
CBP remains committed to promoting travel and tourism to the U.S. by improving and streamlining the international arrivals experience. Trusted Traveler Programs and Automated Passport Control (APC) are important steps to enhancing travelers’ arrival experience. VWP visitors can use APC kiosks to expedite their entry at many international airports around the United States. More than 3.5 million travelers are enrolled in trusted traveler programs such as Global Entry, NEXUS and SENTRI. These programs allow CBP officers to process travelers safely and efficiently while enhancing security and reducing operational costs.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.