ESTA: Required document for a trip to the United States

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To travel for tourism to the United States, several essential documents are mandatory, such as a valid passport (valid for at least six months after the entry date into the country) and either the ESTA or the Tourist Visa (B-2). For Portuguese citizens or those from an eligible country under the Visa Waiver Program, the ESTA is sufficient and involves less bureaucracy than a visa.


The ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) is an online system designed for citizens of countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program who intend to travel to the United States for up to 90 days for tourism, business, or transit purposes.  

The ESTA is used to determine the eligibility of travelers entering the United States before they board their flight. Typically, the entire process is relatively quick, but it’s advisable to request authorization as early as possible before your trip, preferably at least 72 hours before boarding to avoid any significant risks. It’s important to remember that ESTA approval doesn’t guarantee entry into the United States; the final decision lies with the immigration officer during the airport interview.

General information

When applying for the ESTA, it’s necessary to fill out quite a bit of information for each person, such as full name, date of birth, passport number and expiration date, among others. After that, this information is submitted and sent for a validation process. Most of the time, this process results in a positive response, and the ESTA is accepted. However, occasionally, it may be denied due to an error in the information provided, requiring resubmission for validation, incurring an additional cost of +$4.00 per person. 

🏷️ Price:

$21.00 per person – As a matter of curiosity, this fee increased from $14.00 to $21.00 between 2018 and 2023, which means a 50% rise in less than 5 years. 

🗓️ Expiration Date:

The ESTA has a relatively short validity considering its cost, as it lasts only for one year from the moment it’s approved, allowing multiple entries into the United States during this period. Additionally, if the passport expires, the ESTA becomes invalid. In the month prior to expiration, you’ll receive an email notifying you of the impending expiration.

🌎 Link for the solicitation:

Click aqui to access the link for the ESTA form

This ESTA document, generated after approval of the information, is requested at the time of boarding the flight to the United States. It’s essential to have the ESTA for boarding, as otherwise, boarding is denied. Documentation requirements for entry into the United States can change, so always remember to validate with the embassy to ensure nothing is overlooked and that the trip indeed happens. 

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