Do I need an ESTA for New York?
ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) is an online application form that you will need to complete for your New York trip. ESTA is part of the enhanced security requirements in the USA. Anybody travelling to the US, under the Visa Waiver Programme (VWP), needs an ESTA. The VWP allows most Australian Citizens with a valid electronic passport to visit the US, for up to 90 days, without a visa. Even though you don’t need a visa for New York, you are required to apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA), at least 3 days BEFORE you travel to New York.
How do I apply for an ESTA?
It’s easy to apply for an ESTA online. It costs $14, which can be paid by credit card or PayPal. Usually, you’ll receive approval to travel within a couple of seconds, but it can also take a bit longer. You can go to ‘Check ESTA Status’ on the website and log in to see the status of your application. I advise that you apply within plenty of time to avoid any delays. “Authorisation Approved” means the ESTA was approved and you are good to travel. “Travel Not Authorised” means that you must contact your embassy or consulate and “Authorisation Pending” means you need to check the status again, later.
Make sure other members of your group also fill in this information. Even babies travelling, without a plane ticket, need their own ESTA. The ESTA is valid for 2 years from application and you can retrieve it on the site if you return to the US, within this time. You don’t need to re-enter the information, except is if your passport has changed. Then you need to reapply and pay the fee again. You should be aware that there are companies who are willing to fill the application for you, who will charge a lot more. Please know that you are then paying for an unnecessary service. Everybody can apply for ESTA themselves.
Do I need to fill in any more forms?
You don’t need to fill in extra forms if you have an ESTA, but if you have a visa, you do. Best is to check with the flight attendant handing out forms during the flight and bring a pen with you just in case. Customs forms are handed out mid-flight and should be filled it in right away, don’t wait until you’re at customs. Family members with the same surname, only need to complete one form.
How long do I need to have left on my passport?
Do you have an Australian passport and are you travelling with an ESTA? In order to enter the United States your passport must be valid up to and including the day that you are due to leave the country again. To avoid problems in unexpected situations, like a missed or cancelled flight or sickness, it is more advisable to travel with a passport that has a longer validity period. Also, every traveler, including children and babies must have their own passport. (This information was last updated on 25th November 2019).