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About the official ESTA application website

Travelers planning to visit the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) must first obtain authorization by applying for ESTA online through the official ESTA application website (https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/). The official ESTA application website is administered and operated by United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP), an unit of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

This is one of the organizations of the federal government of the United States. It was established in November 2002 to be in charge of protecting the United States from those threats such as terrorist attacks and natural disasters.

United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

It is one of the largest U.S. government agencies, under the supervision of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Its duties are to protect the U.S. from unlawful or dangerous activities, through means such as cracking down on drug smuggling, fighting terrorism, and preventing human trafficking and entry of agricultural pests. In light of its nature as a centralized government agency managing matters related to U.S. national borders and ports, its large number of approximately 52,000 staff members are assigned to airports, ports, border checkpoints, and border regions. The Department was established in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, through the integration of related agencies (customs, border control, and plant and animal quarantine stations) that previously had been split among multiple departments such as the Department of Justice, the Department of the Treasury, and the Department of Agriculture. It also administers and manages the official ESTA website.

Countries whose citizens are eligible for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)

  • Germany
  • France
  • Finland
  • Estonia
  • Denmark
  • Czech Republic
  • San Marino
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden
  • Chile
  • Brunei
  • Belgium
  • Austria
  • Australia
  • Andorra
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Portugal
  • Japan
  • Taiwan
  • South Korea
  • Switzerland
  • Spain
  • Ireland
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Monaco
  • Malta
  • Hungary
  • Greece
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Lichtenstein
  • Luxembourg
  • United Kingdom

Note: Subjects of the United Kingdom eligible to use the Visa Waiver Program are limited to those with permanent residency of the Channel Islands, the Isle of Mann, Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, and Wales.

Conditions of those eligible for the Visa Waiver Program(VWP)

  • ① Must have applied for and obtained authorization using the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).
  • ② Period of stay in the United States must be no longer than 90 days.
  • ③ Must carry a passport (with an IC chip) from one of the above nations participating in the Visa Waiver Program.
  • ④ Purpose for visiting U.S. must be one of the followings: sightseeing, business, training, contractual negotiations, visiting acquaintances, participation in events without receiving any compensation, transit, passage.
  • ⑤ If entering the U.S. by sea or air, must possess a ticket to the next destination or a return ticket.
    If using e-tickets, carry a copy of your travel itinerary.

See here for details of the Visa Waiver Program.(https://esta-center.com/en/vwp/index.html)

Applying using the official ESTA application website

Access the official ESTA application website (https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/), and then enter your application information and travel information, in single-byte alphanumeric characters. Then, answer the suitability questions and make payment for the application fee of $14 by credit or debit card (MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Discover) or using your PayPal account. You may make payment for applications up to groups of 50 at one time. Also, the content of the official ESTA application website is available in numerous languages, not just in English. Choose your language from the pulldown menu in the upper right of the homepage. However, any inquiries sent via the official website must be in English.

Submitting inquiries via the official ESTA application website

You may submit inquiries via email from the official ESTA application website of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/). You also may make inquiries by telephone. In either case, service is available in English only. Since U.S. embassies and consulates are not responsible for ESTA, they are unable to answer questions on matters such as the state of an application submitted or reasons for denial of travel authorization. If you have any inquiry after applying for ESTA on the official website, access the official website again and describe your inquiry in detail by email.

Contacting U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

Tel.: 1-877-227-5511
Hours (weekdays): 8:00 am – 5:00 pm,
Eastern Standard Time (EST)

Inquiry form (English only)
CBP INFO CENTER (https://help.cbp.gov/app/ask)

General frequently asked questions and answers regarding ESTA are available on the official website of Customs and Border Protection (CBP):
https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/list/kw/esta/search/1

Back to the ESTA application homepage
updated:2018/10/1