New ESTA Visa Rules For U.S.A. Travel - What You Need To Know

4 November 2014
Read Time: 1.1 mins

PLEASE NOTE: Since this article was originally published there has been further ESTA updates. Please read the latest ESTA details here.


Are you planning travel to or via America? Did you know you need an ESTA (Electronic System Travel Authorisation) visa waiver certificate? Effective today, changes to the program mean additional questions need to be completed. Here is what you need to know prior to departure.

What is an ESTA and do I need one?

All travel to or via the U.S.A. require a mandatory ESTA application for countries that are part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). This includes Australia and New Zealand. An ESTA is valid for two years and multiple entries. All travellers to or via America are required to complete the application a minimum of 3 days prior to departure.

What are the new details required?

In addition to the standard eight questions as part of application, you are now required to also provide:

  • Basic background information
  • Passport information
  • Current or previous employer details
  • Address in the united States
  • Emergency contact

I have an ESTA already, what do I need to do?

Anyone with a valid, existing ESTA may continue to travel to or from the U.S.A. until the ESTA expires or circumstances change.

When does an ESTA have to be renewed?

  • Once it has expired (two year validity)
  • If the passport number changes or expires
  • If the traveller's name changes
  • If the traveller's gender changes
  • If the traveller's country of citizenship changes 

How do I apply for an ESTA?

You can apply online. There is a small fee payable by credit card for each application.

Once processed you will receive a certificate to take when travelling. All applications must be processed at least 3 days prior to your departure or travel may be denied.

More questions? Speak with your travel consultant for more information or cal 133 133 today.

Jason Dutton-Smith

I’m a passionate traveller and a first class nomad wannabe. I have a love for the written word and enjoy sharing stories that inspire travel. I like ordinary but love extraordinary. I’ll dance and sing karaoke to anything 80’s, will drink hot tea even if 40 degrees, love food and have a wicked sweet tooth. Architecture excites me, the window seat thrills me and anything aviation enamours me. I’m a perpetual dreamer who lives by Saint Augustine’s wise words – “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”. My intention is to read War and Peace!