ESTA Requirements

ESTA Passport Requirements

Does your passport meet the requirements for Visa Waiver Program (VWP) travel?

Your passport must meet certain requirements to qualify for the Visa Waiver Program when applying with the ESTA form. Please check the general requirements as well as the country-specific details found here to ensure that your passport is acceptable for the Visa Waiver Program.

General Passport Requirements.

  • All applicants for the ESTA must have a valid passport, including children of any age.
  • Your passport must remain valid for the duration of your stay in the United States. You cannot remain in the United States with an expired passport, or you will be in violation of the Visa Waiver Program.
  • If you have a machine readable passport that was issued, renewed or extended before October 26, 2005, then your passport will qualify for travel under the US Visa Waiver Program.
  • If you have a machine readable passport that was issued, renewed or extended between October 26, 2005, and October 25, 2006, you must have a digital photo printed on (not attached to) the data page or an integrated data chip (e-Passport) in the passport. See below to determine the presence of an integrated data chip.
  • If you have a passport that is machine readable and was issued, renewed or extended on or after October 26, 2006, you must have an integrated data chip in the passport (e-Passport). See below to determine the presence of an integrated data chip.
  • If you have a non-machine readable passport (very old) you will not qualify for the Visa Waiver Program and will need to apply for a visa if you wish to travel to the United States using your existing passport. Alternatively, you can update your passport to an e-Passport type to fulfill the passport requirements of the Visa Waiver Program.

Machine readable passports

This type of passport will have an area on the identity page that has been encoded in a format readable by a machine. This encoded data contains the information found on the identity page.

Integrated data chips

Passports with integrated data chips are also known as e-Passports, digital passports or biometric passports. These passports include a data chip that stores personal information found on the identity page that can be read by a machine. The graphic below can be found on the front cover of your passport to indicate this type.

 

Temporary and emergency passports

Temporary and emergency passports must have an integrated digital chip (e-Passport type). German emergency and temporary passports do not meet the requirements of the Visa Waiver Program.

Valid official and diplomatic passports need only to be machine readable and are usable if the purpose of the trip is not for official business. If the purpose of the trip is for official business, the passport holder will not qualify for the Visa Waiver Program and must obtain a visa due to the nature of their travel purpose.

United Kingdom
ESTA UK

Nearly all recent machine readable UK passports will qualify as valid for the ESTA process.

If you have an extension in your UK passport, it does not meet the requirements for the Visa Waiver Program, and you cannot apply for the ESTA. If you need to travel to the United States, you can either get a new passport without an extension or apply for a visa.

Post-dated passports can be problematic when they become active near the time of travel to the United States or while on a visit to the United States. The ESTA application form's passport information must match the passport used when traveling to or within the United States. The Visa Waiver Program states that your allowable visiting period duration in the United States is up to 90 days or until you passport (used for the ESTA application) expires. You must leave the United States if the passport used for travel authorization expires, regardless if you have a post-dated passport that becomes active. Any time passport information changes, a new travel authorization must be obtained through the ESTA process.