Is a visa required for traveling to Hawaii? : ESTA Online Center

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Is a visa required for traveling to Hawaii?

Is a visa required for traveling to Hawaii?

It is not necessary to apply for visa only if traveling to Hawaii within 90days of sightseeing, short-term business trip or transit, however ESTA application is mandatory. Under Visa Waiver Program (VWP), the system established by U.S. government, those approved for Travel Authorization through ESTA are permitted to travel to Hawaii without holding visa. Although visa is not required for general trip to Hawaii, be sure to apply for ESTA before travel.
Those who have been denied entry to the U.S., have not approved of visa application, or have criminal record in the past may not be permitted to travel by ESTA, and may receive the notification of “Travel authorization declined”. Those who fit in those situations would not be eligible for applying for ESTA, therefore consider apply for visa at the U.S. embassy. In addition, under the Terrorist Travel Prevention Act, those who have traveled or stayed in Somalia, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Iraq, Iran, Sudan, or North Korea after March 1, 2011 are not authorized to travel to the U.S. by ESTA in general.
Due to the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease 2019) infection in each country, U.S. government is restricting the immigration since March 2020.
US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. embassy recommend applying for ESTA as soon as your trip to Hawaii become concrete. ESTA is a mandatory travel authorization system for all ages traveling to Hawaii. Apply ESTA for all your family and group members when traveling together.

Countries participating in the Visa Waiver program (VWP)

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

The VWP is available to British subjects only if they have permanent residency in the Channel Islands, the Isle of Mann, Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, or Wales.

Conditions of eligibility for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)

  1. Must have “Travel Authorization” under ESTA (the Electric System for Travel Authorization)
  2. Staying period in the U.S, including Hawaii must be within 90 days
  3. Must be a national of the participating nation in the VWP, and holds valid passport
  4. The purpose of the travel must be the followings: sightseeing, business, short-term training, contractual negotiations, visiting friend/acquaintance, participation in event/contest without reward, or for the transit.
  5. Must have a round-trip ticket, or one for the next destination when entering the U.S. by sea or air. It is recommended to carry a copy of travel itinerary on paper for e-ticket.

For more information on VWP

Requirements for the entry to Hawaii

A valid passport

Passport requirements Since April 1, 2016, carry an e-passport (with an IC chip) became a requirement for those traveling to the U.S. under ESTA. An e-passport has logo on the cover showing that is with IC chip.

A certificate of testing (PCR) for COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) confirmed negative which is taken within a day to departure

Requirements for certificate confirmed negative It is required to have certificate of testing for COVID-19 confirmed negative from PCR test taken within a day to departure. The certificate is required to be written in English and need to be carried with you since it would be requested to show before boarding the aircraft, and at the immigration on arrival. A PCR test is subjected to those who age 2 (including those becoming 2 in that year) and over.

Certificate of Vaccination Completion (Certificate of COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) Vaccination Completion for Traveling Overseas)

Requirements for Certificate of Vaccination Completion Certificate of COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) vaccination completion for traveling overseas is required to enter Hawaii from outside of the U.S. The certificate is required to be written in English, and either official documents issued by local government or digital data is accepted. It is required to complete your 2nd vaccination more than 14 days prior to your traveling date, or else you would not be allowed to get aboard.

Note :
A previous requirement of pre-travel testing Safe Travels Program (Travel & Health form) for entry to Hawaii was removed as of March 25th, 2022.

Round trip air/sea ticket or air/sea ticket heading for third country from Hawaii

Immigration document

Enter the country under ESTA Customs declaration
ESTA authorization information is not required to show at the arrival airport.
Enter the country under visa I-94 form (arrival/departure record), customs declaration

Note :
I-94 form and custom declaration will be issued on the return air/sea craft. Fill out the form in Roman alphabet with black or blue ball-point pen.


From arrival to immigration

1. To the immigration screening area

On the arrival at the airport, follow guidance of the staff and head to immigration area.

2. What to do at the immigration area

Stand in line of immigration screening for non-resident. Step forward once the immigration officer calls, then show your passport, customs declaration, I-94 form (visa holder only), and certificate of COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) vaccination completion. Fingerprints and face photo will be taken after answering questions such as purpose of visit and the length of stay. The certificate of testing for COVID-19 confirmed negative from PCR test taken at medical institute must be written in English and it must be within a day to departure.

Required items at the immigration area

  • Valid passport
  • A certificate of testing for COVID-19 confirmed negative from PCR test taken within a day to departure
  • A certificate of vaccination completion (Certificate of COVID-19 (Coronavirus disease) vaccination completion for traveling overseas)
  • Personal information that Hawaii state health department can reach (cell phone number and address of your stay)
  • Customs declaration

Automated Passport Control (APC) “kiosk“

Automated Passport Control (APC) “kiosk” is available at Daniel K. Inoue international airport on Oahu. Kiosk is a passport control terminal system subjected for those who are re-entering the U.S. under ESTA with travel history to the country with ESTA since 2009. By kiosk, you can scan passport, record fingerprints, and take head shot on your own without having immigration officer and that shortens time for immigration procedures. On the other hand, if the passport has been renewed, kiosk would not be available even for those who entered the U.S. with ESTA before. Please be advised that regular immigration procedure will be required if your passport has been renewed.
Other than Daniel K. Inoue airport, APC kiosks are installed at major U.S. airports.

Who Is Eligible to Use APC?

U.S. and Canadian passport holders and international visitors from Visa Waiver Program countries are eligible to use APC kiosks. Visa Waiver Program visitors must have Electronic System for Travel Authorizations (ESTA) approval prior to travel and have visited the United States on at least one occasion after 2008.”

For more information on kiosk (APC)

Procedures of how to use an Auto Passport Control (APC) “kiosk”

  • Select your language (Japanese available)
  • Follow the instructions and scan your passport
  • Take an identification photograph
  • Answer questions on your customs declaration, personal information, and travel information
  • Record your fingerprints

An APC receipt for the entry will be issued after completing these procedures. Submit this receipt to the immigration officer.

3. Collect your baggage

Go to Baggage Claim to pick up your baggage(s)
Since baggage is carried by luggage carrousel, wait in front of the one showing your boarding flight number and pick up your luggage by checking claim tag.
In many cases they are arranged on the floor already, check them as well.

4. Go to exit by passing customs

Submit a customs declaration and head for the exit. Follow inspector’s instruction in case your luggage was randomly selected for X-ray inspection.

 The latest information on immigration procedures in Hawaii (2022)

More Details! The latest Hawaiian immigration information in 2022

Immigration screening and other procedures necessary to enter the U.S. will begin once you have arrived at Hawaii. Travelers on their first trips overseas might feel a little nervous during the immigration screening. The flow of immigration screening in Hawaii is explained in greater detail below, to help relieve this tension and unease as much as possible.

Immigration screening takes place soon after you arrive at the airport

Immigration screening will take place soon after you have landed at Honolulu International Airport. After disembarking from the aircraft, follow the arrows in the airport, then the first area you will see is the immigration screening area. Here there are separate lines for U.S. citizens and permanent residents and visitors from overseas. Get in a line following the sign that says “Foreign Passport” or “Non-Resident.” The lines marked “American Citizen” are for U.S. citizens. Since airport security personnel will guide travelers to the correct lines, you should be able to line up relatively smoothly.

Wait in line until you are called

It is your turn when the immigration officer calls “Next”. Please be advised not to go close to the officer before called for your turn otherwise you will be warned. Prepare your passport and customs declaration you filled in the aircraft on your hand while waiting in line for immigration inspection. By applying for ESTA to hold travel authorization, filling out of I-94 form became unnecessary though it was mandatory before. ESTA application is mandatory for traveling to Hawaii without holding any visas, and we suggest for early application.

Questions at the immigration would be in English

After you are called to the booth, the immigration officer will ask you a number of questions, but they are nothing difficult and are rather simple. Typical questions are described below. It would be convenient for you and family or group members traveling with you to familiarize yourselves with these questions in advance.

①What is the purpose of your trip? In most cases, the appropriate answer is “Sightseeing.”
②How long are you staying? Answer by giving the number of days you will stay, such as “five days” or “one week.” In some cases, you might be asked “When are you going back?” instead of “How long are you staying?” In such a case, give the date of your return flight. If you find it difficult to give the date immediately, you may simply show your return ticket or itinerary.
③Where are you going to be staying? Give the name of the hotel or condominium where you will be staying. If you will stay with friends or family and find it difficult to answer the question, show the immigration officer the address of where you will be staying written on a piece of paper. It might be smoother just to show the customs declaration form to the officer, since you have already filled out the address of your stay there.

Record your fingerprints

After the immigration screening questions, fingerprints will be recorded. The officer will inform you as “Finger print” with gesture, place your fingers on the device as instructed. Recorded fingerprints will not be used for any purposes other than immigration screening. Those visitors entered the country under ESTA in the past may be exempted from fingerprints.

Take an identification photograph to complete the process

Lastly, the immigration screening process will be complete after you have taken an identification photograph. The device used to record your fingerprints also is equipped with a camera to take a photograph, so look directly at the lens to take the photo. Remove any headwear or sunglasses before taking the photo. When the immigration officer hands your passport back to you, the screening is complete. Tell the officer “Thank you” and exit the immigration screening area.

Establishment of Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks

The Conditions for use of Automated Passport Control (APC) “kiosk”

Automated Passport Control (APC) “kiosk” is available at Daniel K. Inoue international airport on Oahu since June 2015. Kiosk is a device to complete the immigration procedure on the terminal screen without immigration officer’s inspection. Check the contents below for certain conditions for the use of kiosk.

Must be those visitors with ESTA

Kiosk is only available for those travelers with ESTA. Those visitors with tourist visa, student visa, and green card are not subjected to use kiosk, therefore go through immigration officer for the inspection procedure.

Must have a travel history to the U.S. under ESTA in the past

Those who visited the U.S. under ESTA in the past are subject to use of kiosk. In case of expiration of ESTA, kiosk will be permitted to use by re-apply ESTA and hold travel authorization.

Must hold a passport not renewed or not have any changes

Even satisfying the conditions above, kiosk will not be available if you renew the passport. Those who renewed or made any changes to the passport used for past travel to the U.S. are out of subject to the eligibility for kiosk. Also, ESTA will be expired in the same time when the passport expires. If your passport expiration is within 6 months, apply for ESTA after the renewal of the passport.

Airports where kiosks (APC) are available

As of January 2022, APC kiosks have been installed at 43 airports including Honolulu airport in Hawaii.

APC kiosks are currently operational at the following airports:

  1. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
  2. Aruba Queen Beatrix International Airport (AUA)
  3. Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH)
  4. Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)
  5. Boston Logan International Airport (BOS)
  6. Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT)
  7. Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW)
  8. Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
  9. Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
  10. Denver International Airport (DEN)
  11. Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW)
  12. Dublin International Airport (DUB)
  13. Edmonton International Airport (YEG)
  14. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
  15. Halifax Stanfield International Airport (YHZ)
  16. Honolulu International Airport (HNL)
  17. Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
  18. Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS)
  19. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
  20. Miami International Airport (MIA)
  21. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC)
  22. Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport (MSP)
  23. Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (YUL)
  24. Nassau Lynden Pindling International Airport (NAS)
  25. New York-John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  26. Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
  27. Oakland International Airport (OAK)
  28. Orlando International Airport (MCO)
  29. Philadelphia International Airport (PHL)
  30. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
  31. Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT)
  32. Portland International Airport (PDX)
  33. Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU)
  34. Reno International Airport (RNO)
  35. Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC)
  36. San Diego International Airport (SAN)
  37. San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  38. Seattle Sea-Tac Airport (SEA)
  39. Tampa International Airport (TPA)
  40. Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)
  41. Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
  42. Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)
  43. William P. Hobby International Airport (HOU)
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UPDATE : 2022/05/05