US ESTA Requirements

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All travelers to the U.S. under the VWP (including infants and children) must possess a valid machine-readable passport issued by the Govt. of the 38 countries mentioned above. The validity of the passport must extend six months beyond the traveler’s planned date of departure to the U.S. (unless exempted by country-specific agreements).

Passport Requirements for ESTA for the citizens of Chile, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, the Republic of Korea, and Slovakia: E-Passport with an integrated chip containing information from the passport data page.

Passport Requirements for ESTA for the Citizens of Taiwan: E-passport with an integrated chip containing information from the passport data page and national identification number.
Passport Requirements for ESTA for the citizens of Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom vary depending on the date of passport issuance. Please continue reading for further details.



E-Passport for ESTA


Passports issued by VWP countries on or after October 26, 2006 must be e-Passports, with an integrated computer chip capable of storing biographic, biometric and digital photograph information from the data page of the passport holder. You can identify an e-Passport by the symbol on the front cover of the passport booklet (see the image to the right). If you are not having the E-Passport and you are a citizen of a VWP country that joined the Visa Waiver Program prior to 2008, you can still travel without a visa if:

  • You have a valid passport with a machine-readable zone issued before October 26, 2005; or
  • If your passport includes a digital photograph and was issued between October 26, 2005 and October 25, 2006.

If you were issued a passport on or after October 26, 2006 and it is not an e-Passport, you will need to obtain a visa.



Digital Photograph


If any citizen from all VWP country not holding the passports with a digital photograph printed on the data page he/she will be required to obtain a visa to travel to the U.S. A digital photograph is one that is printed on the. It looks like the image to the right.

If your passport does not have this feature, you can still travel without a visa if:

  • You are a citizen of a country that joined the VWP prior to 2008 and possess a valid passport containing a machine-readable zone issued before October 26, 2005, or
  • You have an “e-Passport,” which includes an integrated computer chip capable of storing biographic information from the data page, a digital photograph, and other biometric information.

If you were issued a passport on or after October 26, 2005 and it does not meet the aforementioned requirements, you will need to obtain a visa.



Machine readable passport for ESTA


All VWP countries must issue passports with a machine-readable zone. A machine-readable passport has two lines of text as letters, numbers and chevrons (<<<) at the bottom of the personal information page, along with the bearer’s picture. It looks like the image below.
If your passport does not have this feature, you have two options:

  • Obtain a qualifying, new passport if your country of nationality is producing one, or
  • Obtain a visa.

Please contact your passport-issuing agency or your country's embassy if you have questions about your country’s production of a qualifying e-Passport.


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