When you are a citizen of a country that is part of the Visa Waiver Program, you can come to the United States without obtaining a visa from a U.S. Consulate. However, you still have to apply for authorization to travel to the United States through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (“ESTA”). With the ESTA authorization, you can stay in the U.S. for a maximum period of 90 days at a time, and the purpose of your travel can be only tourism or business. The fee for ESTA authorization is $14 and ESTA is valid for 2 years. Please click here if you want to find out more about ESTA.
When applying for an ESTA there are 2 options:
- Apply for an individual application, or
- Apply for a group of applications
You, your spouse, and 3 children want to come to the U.S. on vacation and you want to apply for an ESTA. You went on the ESTA website and you may be confused on whether to file 5 individual applications or submit one group application.
The answer is that you can either submit each ESTA application as an individual application (in the hypo above 5 individual applications) or you can also file them as a group of applications. In the later case, you will have to appoint a group contact person (this can be you or your spouse if you are over 18).
Either option is fine. The Group ESTA applications are intended for large tourist groups but could also be used by families.
Do I have to submit an ESTA application if I have a minor child?
Yes. Your child (regardless of age) will need to have its own ESTA to be able to enter the U.S. You can submit the ESTA on your child’s behalf but you will have to confirm that you understand the terms of ESTA on behalf of your child.
Please see our blog post on whether you can travel to the U.S. on ESTA if your visa was denied when you click here.
Please click here to find out more about ESTA.
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