Published On: Fri, Sep 11th, 2015

Redesigned website launched for US visa waiver program visitors

estaWASHINGTON, USA -- US Customs and Border Protection has launched the redesigned website for visa waiver program (VWP) visitors to apply for an electronic system for travel authorization (ESTA) prior to traveling to the United States. The new website makes the process of applying for an ESTA more user-friendly and will improve and better facilitate the experience for VWP travelers wishing to visit the United States.

“We recognized the need to improve upon the ESTA application process and with feedback from our stakeholders and travelers, we are proud to launch this easier-to-use site,” said Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske. “CBP remains committed to promoting travel and tourism to the US by improving the international arrivals experience and this website, along with trusted traveler programs and automated passport control are important steps to enhancing travelers’ arrival experience.”

The website has new and improved functionality and navigation capabilities in addition to its new look displaying US landmarks. Some of the new and updated features include:

• Access to frequently asked questions at any time during the application process.

• Mobile-friendly design allows VWP visitors to apply and check the status of their ESTA using their smartphones.

• Users will be able to translate the page into a different language at any point in the application by choosing one of the 23 languages in the language selector.

• The Group feature has been moved to the beginning of the application process making it easier for families and groups to submit their applications at once.

CBP conducted focus groups as part of the redesign process to better understand how to improve the website for the more than 19 million VWP visitors who use it each year.

VWP visitors who have already applied for an ESTA using the old site will be able to access their ESTA on the new site. Travelers with a valid ESTA will not have to reapply for a new ESTA until their current ESTA expires or they receive a new passport.

CBP reminded VWP visitors that ESTA applications can only be submitted through the official website. ESTA is not affiliated with any third-party sites. CBP recommends ESTA applications be submitted as soon as an applicant begins making travel plans.

The VWP enables nationals of 38 designated countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business purposes for stays of 90 days or less without first obtaining a visa. All nationals or citizens of VWP countries are required to have an approved ESTA prior to boarding a carrier to travel by air or sea to the United States under the VWP. ESTA applications should be submitted at least 72 hours before travel, and once approved, will generally be valid for up to two years or until the applicant’s passport expires, whichever comes first. Authorizations will be valid for multiple entries into the United States.

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