ESTA application (How long does it take?)

The ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) applications are typically processed quickly, with most approvals within 24 hours. However, there are instances where additional processing might be required. To ensure seamless travel arrangements and prevent any potential delays, it's advisable to submit your ESTA application at least 72 hours before your planned departure to the US. For further insights into the processing time of the US ESTA application, continue reading.

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Here’s the information regarding ESTA application processing time:

  • Typical Processing Time: Most ESTA applications are processed, and a decision is conveyed within minutes of submitting the application.
  • Maximum Processing Time: If additional security checks are necessary, a final decision on your ESTA application may take up to 24 hours.


  • Applying for ESTA at least 72 hours (3 days) before your intended travel to the US is advisable. This allows sufficient time for processing and addressing any potential issues.

Important to Note:

  • While ESTA approval is obtained, it doesn’t guarantee entry into the US. Ultimately, border officials retain the final authority to grant or deny entry, even with an approved ESTA.

You can conveniently apply for your US ESTA through Visas for Future, guaranteeing a swift and straightforward application process. Our team of visa experts will ensure a straightforward process for your application.

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If you’re seeking a quick application process for your US ESTA, we provide a service to expedite your application within 24 hours. Upon approval, we will promptly deliver it to your email inbox.

  • Valid for two (2) years or until the traveler’s passport expires, whichever occurs first.
  • Allows multiple entries.
  • Permits a stay of 90 days per entry.1
  • The cost is $46.82.
  • Important to note: ESTA is not a visa.

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what does esta mean?

ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization. It’s a program run by the United States government that allows citizens of certain countries to travel to the US for short stays (usually up to 90 days) without obtaining a full visa.

Importance of knowing the processing time for US ESTA

Understanding how long it takes to get your US travel authorization (ESTA) is really important for a few key reasons:

  • Planning Your Trip: Knowing how long it takes for your ESTA to be processed will help you plan your trip better. You’ll know exactly when to apply to get approval for your travel dates.
  • Avoiding Last-Minute Problems: Applying for your ESTA early helps avoid any last-minute issues. Sometimes, other countries even need your ESTA for flights that pass through the US. Knowing how long it takes to process can stop any unexpected problems.
  • Handling Emergencies: If you must travel urgently, knowing the processing time helps determine whether you can get your ESTA in time. If not, you can make other plans without worrying.
  • Feeling Confident: It is reassuring to know how long it usually takes to get your ESTA. This way, you can plan your trip confidently, knowing you’ve given yourself enough time to get approval.
  • Saving Money: Some might pay extra to speed up their ESTA approval. But if you know the regular processing time, you can decide if paying extra is necessary or if you have enough time to wait.
  • Preparing for Reapplications: Knowing how long it takes to process if your ESTA application is denied or expires helps you plan when to reapply. This ensures you have valid authorization for future trips.

Things to remember to fasten up your ESTA Application

To speed up your ESTA application process, here are some important things to remember:

  • Use a Secure Internet Connection: Ensure you have a stable and secure Internet connection when filling out your application. This helps prevent connectivity issues and ensures your data is transmitted safely.
  • Clear Cookies and Cache: Before starting your application, clear your browser’s cookies and cache. This helps ensure the application form loads correctly and prevents technical issues.
  • Prepare Required Information: Gather all necessary information before starting your application. This includes your passport details, travel itinerary, and contact information.
  • Complete Application Early: Submit your ESTA application well before your planned travel dates. This gives you time to address any issues or delays during the processing.
  • Use Correct Information: Double-check that all the information you provide is accurate and matches the details on your passport exactly. Any discrepancies can delay or even lead to rejection of your application.
  • Review Application Thoroughly: Review all the information you’ve entered before submitting your application. This helps catch any errors or omissions that could cause delays or complications.
  • Pay Attention to Payment: Have your payment method ready to complete the application process smoothly. Ensure that your credit or debit card information is entered accurately to avoid payment processing delays.
  • Check Email Regularly: After submitting your application, check your email regularly for updates or requests for additional information. Respond promptly to any communications from the ESTA system to avoid delays.

How long is the ESTA visa valid? 

An approved ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) is typically valid for two years from the approval date or until the traveler’s passport expires, whichever comes first. During this validity period, travelers can use the same ESTA approval for multiple trips to the United States, as long as each trip is within the allowed duration of stay of 90 days or less.

How can I check if my ESTA is still valid?

You can easily check the status and validity of your ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) online. Here’s how:

  1. Visit the CBP ESTA website.
  2. Click “Check ESTA Status” in the top navigation bar.
  3. You’ll have two options to retrieve your ESTA status:
    • Option 1: Provide your Application Number (if you remember it)
      • Enter your application number, date of birth, and passport number.
      • Click “Submit.”
    • Option 2: Don’t Know Application Number
      • Click the button “I do not know the application number.”
      • Enter your travel document information, including:
        • Country of citizenship
        • Date of birth
        • Passport number (issued by)
        • Passport issuance date
        • Passport expiration date
      • Click “Submit.”
  4. The website will display the status of your ESTA application. It will be one of the following:
    • ESTA Authorization Approved: This means your ESTA is valid for travel.
    • Application Pending: Your application is still under review.
    • ESTA Application Expired: Your ESTA is no longer valid, and you’ll need to apply for a new one.

Eligible countries for US ESTA

If you are a citizen or national of any of the countries listed below that participate in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), you are eligible to apply for admission under the program:

  • Andorra
  •  Australia
  •  Austria
  •  Belgium
  •  Brunei
  •  Chile
  •  Croatia
  •  Czech Republic
  •  Denmark
  •  Estonia
  •  Finland
  •  France
  •  Germany
  •  Greece
  • Hungary (Only Hungarian citizens born in Hungary.)
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Monaco
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  •  Norway
  •  Poland
  •  Portugal
  •  San Marino
  •  Singapore
  •  Slovakia
  •  Slovenia
  •  South Korea
  •  Spain
  •  Sweden
  •  Switzerland
  •  Taiwan (Only holders of passports with a national identification number.)
  •  United Kingdom

General guidelines for the US ESTA

The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Here are some key points about ESTA:

  1. Purpose of Travel:
    • ESTA is designed for travel to the U.S. for business or pleasure purposes.
    • It does not allow for employment, study, or residence in the U.S.
    • It is not a visa.
  2. Duration of Stay:
    • Travelers can stay in the U.S. for up to 90 days per visit.
    • Overstaying can result in being barred from future travel under the VWP and may affect future U.S. visa applications.
  3. Validity:
    • An approved ESTA is generally valid for two years or until the traveler’s passport expires (whichever comes first).
  4. Requirements:
    • Eligibility and Criteria:
      • Will stay in the United States for 90 days or less for business, pleasure or transit.
      • Arrive using a carrier that is a signatory of the Visa Waiver Program.
      • Unless the traveler is a resident of contiguous territory or adjacent islands, their travel cannot conclude in these areas.
      • Traveler’s valid email address.
      • Traveler’s home address and phone number.
      • Traveler’s emergency point of contact is phone, address, and email.
    • Documents:
      • Valid passport(s) from a Visa Waiver Program country.
      • Have a return or onward ticket.
  5. Application Process:
    • Step 1: Click on “Get United States ESTA now.”
    • Step 2: Fill out the order form.
      • Name
      • EmailPhone number
      • Nationality
    • Step 3: Pay the ESTA fee using a debit or credit card.
      • Review your application details and proceed to payment.
    • Step 4: Answer intake forms correctly.
      • Personal information
      • Passport information
      • Additional travel details.
    • Step 5: Upload the required documents.
      • Upload a scanned copy of your passport biographical page (JPEG format, less than 200 KB).
    • Step 6: Submit application
      • Carefully review your application once more and submit it.
    • Step 7: Receive your US ESTA.
      • If approved, you’ll receive your US ESTA via email.
      • Print the US ESTA and carry it with you during your travel.
  6. Admissibility Determination:
    • ESTA approval does not guarantee entry; U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers determine admissibility upon travelers’ arrival.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can ESTA be approved quickly?

Yes, ESTA applications can often be approved very quickly.

What happens if ESTA is rejected?

If your ESTA is rejected, you must apply for a visa at a US embassy or consulate to travel to the United States.

Can I apply for ESTA twice?

Yes, you can apply for ESTA twice.

What are common ESTA mistakes?

Common mistakes when applying for ESTA include providing incorrect passport information, making typographical errors in personal details, failing to disclose past visa denials or immigration violations, selecting the wrong response to security or eligibility questions, and using unofficial third-party websites for application submission, which may lead to additional fees or scams.

  1. U.S. Customs and Border Protection. (2024). Official ESTA Application Website. Dhs.gov. Retrieved March 30, 2024. <https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta> []

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Rosalie Santos
Written by

Rosalie is a content writer who loves to learn and share knowledge. She has a background in education and teaching, which helps her write clear, accurate, and engaging content. She writes about travel, culture, and education topics. She also handles Turkey and India visa applications, which she learned from Lei Achumbre, the COO of Visas for Future and a visa expert. She fulfills visa orders and answers customer service questions once a quarter.

Glen Vidania
Managed by Glen Vidania

Glen Vidania is the Content Manager at Visas for Future, a company that offers online visa services for eco-friendly travelers. He is a certified Content Marketer and an experienced academic writer. He writes and promotes content that is informative, engaging, and relevant to the readers. He had work experience and gained skills in writing articles, data entry, SEO email marketing, and guest posting. He is also an expert in applying for visas for Turkey and India.

Glen Vidania
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Cite this article

MLA Style

Santos, Rosalie. "ESTA application (How long does it take?)." Visas For Future, https://www.visasforfuture.com/esta-application-how-long-does-it-take/. Accessed on 30 March 2024.

Chicago Style

Santos, Rosalie. "ESTA application (How long does it take?)." Visas For Future. March 30, 2024. https://www.visasforfuture.com/esta-application-how-long-does-it-take/.

Published: 30 Mar 2024 1:58 UTC

Last modified: 19 Apr 2024 8:16 UTC

Reading time: 9 minutes

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