ESTA travel visa application in three easy steps:

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Step 1
Start Online ESTA Application
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Step 2
Make Online Payment
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Step 3
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What is the Visa Waiver Program?

What is an ESTA Visa Waiver Program? This page covers some of the most frequently asked ESTA Questions, that you might be interested in. The Visa Waiver Program is a U.S. government program that enables citizens from participating countries to enter the United States for business or visitor purposes without obtaining a visa. The advantage of entering the United States with an approved ESTA application is that you can travel to the United States on short notice. While citizens of Visa Waiver Countries, including New Zealand, are eligible to apply, not everybody can enter the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. Travelers with a passport from any other country must obtain a B-1 or B-2 Visitor Visa in advance. Note that you must apply for a travel authorization (ESTA) in advance, while the Form I-94W usually is completed while flying to the USA or before entering the U.S port of entry.

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The traveler must provide the following personal information: first and last name, gender, birth date, passport number, passport issuing country and expiration date, citizenship. The applicant is also required to answer eligibility questions regarding convictions for certain crimes, communicable diseases, arrests, and past history of visa revocation or deportation. Applicants may also provide information about the travel details such as the destination, hotel, and flight number. ESTA NZ applications can be completed at any time before traveling to the US under the Visa Waiver Program, and in the majority of cases, ESTA allows for an almost instant determination of qualifications for trips under the VWP. However, DHS advises and urges VWP tourists to complete ESTA applications as soon as they begin planning a trip to the United States. VWP visitors do not need to have specific plans to visit the United States before applying for an ESTA, but candidates are advised to indicate their destination information and itineraries if the information is available. Each ESTA application that is approved is generally valid for 2 years or until the applicant's passport expires.


Applicants from New Zealand are not required to have detailed and specific plans to travel to the United States before they submit for a travel authorization ESTA. If applicants are unsure of the travel details for the United States when they submit the ESTA application, they do not have to fill out the fields for the travel details. The travel details can be updated once the travel plans are finalized. It is not required to update the travel details if they change after the ESTA has been approved. The US Government recommends that applications for travel authorization be submitted as early as possible. An authorized ESTA is not the same as a visa. It will not fulfill the legal and regulatory requirements to present in lieu of a U.S. visa when one is required by U.S. law. Individuals with valid visas will be able to visit the United States for the intent for which they were issued. Individuals traveling with valid visas do not need to apply for an ESTA.


If an ESTA application is not approved by the US Government and the applicant wishes to continue with his plan to travel to the United States, the traveler has the possibility to apply for a non-immigrant visa at any American embassy or consulate. Unless his or her situation has changed, the traveler will not be eligible for an ESTA and must apply for a visa either at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you misinterpreted a question in the ETSA application, or assumed something in your context was a reason for your denial and later discovered it wasn't, we recommend contacting official sources to review your response.

How long is travelers’ personal data stored in the ESTA system?

ESTA application data is retained for the duration of the ESTA’s validity period, which is typically two years or until the traveler’s passport expires, whichever one comes first. DHS will then keep this information for another year before archiving it for twelve years for the reference of law enforcement, national security, or investigative purposes.

Once the information has been stored, the number of authorities who can access it is further reduced. This retention is consistent with CBP’s border search authority as well as the border control mission mandated by Congress for CBP.

Data associated with active law enforcement records, enforcement activities, investigations, or cases, including denied ESTA applications, will be available for the duration of the law enforcement operations to which they are related.

ESTA has enabled the paper I–94W form to be automated in air and sea environments. When a VWP visitor is accepted using the automatic system, the corresponding admission record will be kept for 75 years, in full compliance with the retention schedule for I–94W.

I–94W and I–94 data are kept for this period of time to ensure that information about a specific admittance to the United States is accessible for providing any applicable immigration or other enforcement benefits.

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What are the ESTA countries?

Eligible countries for the Visa Waiver Program and the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA):

  • Visa waiver country flagAndora
  • Visa waiver country flagAustralia
  • Visa waiver country flagAustria
  • Visa waiver country flagBelgium
  • Visa waiver country flagBrunei
  • Visa waiver country flagChile
  • Visa waiver country flagCroatia
  • Visa waiver country flagCzech Republic
  • Visa waiver country flagDenmark
  • Visa waiver country flagEstonia
  • Visa waiver country flagFinland
  • Visa waiver country flagFrance
  • Visa waiver country flagGermany
  • Visa waiver country flagGreece
  • Visa waiver country flagHungary
  • Visa waiver country flagIceland
  • Visa waiver country flagIreland
  • Visa waiver country flagIsrael
  • Visa waiver country flagItaly
  • Visa waiver country flagJapan
  • Visa waiver country flagSouth Korea
  • Visa waiver country flagLatvia
  • Visa waiver country flagLiechtenstein
  • Visa waiver country flagLithuania
  • Visa waiver country flagLuxembourg
  • Visa waiver country flagMalta
  • Visa waiver country flagMonaco
  • Visa waiver country flagNetherlands
  • Visa waiver country flagNew Zealand
  • Visa waiver country flagNorway
  • Visa waiver country flagPoland
  • Visa waiver country flagPortugal
  • Visa waiver country flagSan Marino
  • Visa waiver country flagSingapore
  • Visa waiver country flagSlovakia
  • Visa waiver country flagSlovenia
  • Visa waiver country flagSpain
  • Visa waiver country flagSweden
  • Visa waiver country flagSwitzerland
  • Visa waiver country flagTaiwan
  • Visa waiver country flagUnited Kingdom

Please note that United Kingdom nationals who can use the ESTA visa waiver program must have a right of permanent residence in England, Wales, Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands, Scotland, or the Isle of Man.