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.  You can find out more about the visa waiver program by clicking here.

Under the presidential proclamation from March 2020, travelers from countries in the European Schengen Area cannot enter the U.S. (please note that there are certain exceptions).Please click here to find out more about the Schengen travel ban.

What will happen if you currently have a valid ESTA and you will try to enter the U.S. despite the Schengen travel ban?

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection indicated that any traveler that has a valid ESTA and who tries to enter the U.S. while the travel restriction is still in place will have his/her ESTA cancelled. Please note that you will not be refunded any money if your ESTA is cancelled.

Can I apply for ESTA in the future if it was cancelled or will I not be eligible for ESTA?

Yes. You can apply for an ESTA in the future if it was cancelled, and you will have to pay the ESTA fee again.

Please note that even if you are simply transiting through a Schengen country, you will be considered to have been “present” in a Schengen country and you will not be allowed to enter the U.S. If you try to enter the U.S. if you transited through a Schengen country, you will have your ESTA cancelled.

Please see the list of Schengen countries when you click here.

Please note that if you have been in a Schengen area country in the past 14 days prior to your entry to the U.S. and you want to come to the U.S., you will have to qualify for an exception. To find out more about the exceptions, click here.

Please click here to visit our blog post on whether your ESTA will be denied if our visa is revoked.

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