U.S. Customs and Border Protection have stated that real-time approvals of ESTA applications will no longer be available.

What is the ESTA?

ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) is a system used to determine whether an individual travelling to the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is eligible to do so. It also identifies whether this travel carries a security risk. Individuals who are approved are allowed to board carriers travelling to the U.S.

Who needs to apply for an ESTA?

You must apply for an ESTA if you are:

  • An eligible national of a Visa Waiver Program country
  • You do not have a visitor’s visa
  • You are travelling for 90 days or less
  • The intention of your travel is for business or pleasure

What’s changed?

Real-time approvals of ESTA applications are no longer available. This means that applications will no longer be approved at the airport on the day of travel. Travellers must apply for an ESTA no later than 72 hours before their flight departs or they will most likely be unable to board the plane.

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