USA visa and ESTA information
Read the visa requirements to enter the US, and how to apply.
This page is for people visiting the US, who might need a visa or an ESTA to enter the country.
For information about visas for some of our other destinations, visit our Visa and entry requirements page.
An ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) allows you to stay in the US for up to 90 days and allows travel to Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean. ESTAs are valid for two years, or until your passport expires, whichever is sooner.
On this page you'll find:
How to apply for an ESTA
Apply for an ESTA direct with US Homeland Security
You can apply for your ESTA directly with US Homeland Security, at a charge of $14. Take a look at our information section below to find out more.
Apply for an ESTA direct with our Flying Club partner VisaCentral
Alternatively, our partners VisaCentral, the global visa and passport experts, can apply for your ESTA on your behalf for a fee. And if you're a Flying Club member, you'll also earn two miles for every £1 you spend.
To obtain your ESTA:
- You must apply at least 72 hours before you travel.
- You must hold an individual machine-readable passport or ePassport (one containing a chip). If you don’t, you’ll need to get a visa instead.
- Provide accurate information on your ESTA application.
- Usually you will receive a response in seconds, but for very few passengers it could take up to 72 hours.
- If your ESTA is denied, you will need to get a visa.
- If you already have a visa for the US, you will not need an ESTA.
- You must apply online for your ESTA - either directly with Homeland Security, or our partners VisaCentral. More information is provided below on both of these recommended options.
How long does it take to get an ESTA?
Applications are usually instantaneous. For those applications which are not immediately approved, travellers are required to continue to log in to the Government website to check for ESTA application approval.
Do I need to print my ESTA?
Once an application is submitted and processed successfully, an email confirmation will not be generated. We'd advise you to print the confirmation web page, or jot down your application number for safe keeping and future reference.
Can I get an ESTA if my passport is due to expire?
You need to make sure your passport is valid when you apply for your ESTA. If you apply for an ESTA when your passport has expired, or is about to expire, you may not receive notification from the Government that travel cannot be permitted.
Where can I find out more about my ESTA application?
For more information about your ESTA application please view the US Government's dedicated FAQs.
Countries using the visa waiver programme (ESTA)
Applicable countries, 1 of 1
Certain people will not be able to get an ESTA, even if the country they're from is eligible for the visa waiver programme (VWP). This will be the case if:
- You're a national of a VWP country who has travelled to or been present in Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen on or after March 1, 2011 (with limited exceptions for travel for diplomatic or military purposes in the service of a VWP country).
- You have dual nationality with a VWP country and either Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria. (Not including Libya, Somalia and Yemen)
If this applies to you you'll still be able to apply for a visa using the regular immigration process via the US embassies or consulates (contact details below), but you'll no longer be able to enter the US under the Visa Waiver Programme (ESTA).
If you need a US visa for urgent business, medical, or humanitarian travel to the United States, the US embassies and consulates will be on hand to process applications on an expedited basis.
If you already hold an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) and you previously indicated that you have dual nationality with one of the four countries listed above on your ESTA application, your ESTA will no longer be valid.
Tel: 0207 499 9000
Opening hours: Mon to Fri, 08.30 - 17.30