ESTA for citizens of Israel

As of October 19th, 2023, Israeli citizens can submit an ESTA application for visa-free travel to the USA! Learn what this means for Israelis and how the ESTA application works.

ESTA for citizens of Israel

US visa exemption for Israel

A privilege that has long been granted to many countries worldwide is now being offered to Israeli citizens: visa-free entry into the USA through a cheap, fast, and uncomplicated electronic ESTA travel authorization.

The ESTA program allows citizens of Visa Waiver member countries to visit the United States for a maximum of 90 days for business or leisure, provided they meet the required criteria.

Effective October 19th, 2023, Israeli citizens can apply for ESTA. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security had officially accepted Israel into the US Visa Waiver Program on September 26th, 2023.

ESTA requirements

Travelers who wish to use ESTA must not only be citizens of a country participating in the Visa Waiver Program but also meet additional requirements. These relate to the purpose of the journey and certain individual characteristics or life events of the traveler.

If you are a citizen of one of the soon-to-be 41 countries in the Visa Waiver Program, you can travel to the USA with ESTA, provided:

  • You have a biometric passport (e-passport) that is valid for the duration of your travel (or six months beyond the date of arrival for some countries).
  • Your purpose of travel is for leisure, business, or transit in the USA.
  • Your stay in the United States will not exceed 90 days.
  • You do not currently hold a visitor visa for the USA.

What changes for Israeli citizens with ESTA?

Since the introduction of ESTA, Israeli citizens can enter the US in a much more cost-effective and uncomplicated manner and with drastically reduced waiting times. Previously, entry was only possible with a classic visa from the embassies or consulates.

A comparison between an ESTA and a classic US visa:

Entry to the USA ESTA US visa
Application: online form application + appointment in the embassy
Processing time: max. 72 hours 15 - 30 days
Cost: approx. € 49.90 (with additional services and securities via from $ 185
Maximum stay: 90 days 180 days and more (depending on visa category)
Suitable for: tourist travel, business travel, transit, medical treatment tourist travel, business travel, students, job applicants, spouses, fiancées, immigrants (Green Card)

The cost for ESTA approval on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security website is $ 21 but does not include additional services and security.

When do Israeli citizens need a visa instead of an ESTA?

Israeli citizens must apply for a US visa if they:

  • aspire to work in the USA
  • study in the USA
  • have the desire to immigrate to the USA
  • have not received ESTA approval after an application (ESTA denied)

Important ESTA information at a glance

Learn everything you need to know about traveling to the USA with ESTA:

  • ESTA is not a visa, but a visa-free travel authorization.
  • As an ESTA traveler, you have limited rights, and you are only allowed to stay in the USA for tourism, business, or transit.
  • In order to avoid complications or rejection, all information must be truthful.
  • An ESTA authorization is usually valid for two years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first. Exceptions to the 2-year rule apply only to certain countries.
  • If your US visa application has been denied in the past, your ESTA application may also be denied.
  • You must apply for your ESTA at least 72 hours prior to your departure to the United States (however, it is recommended to do so at the beginning of your travel planning).
  • If your life circumstances change significantly (e.g., change of name, gender, or citizenship), you must apply for a new ESTA.
  • Travelers with an approved ESTA can visit the USA for up to 90 days at a time.

How to apply for ESTA

You can submit your ESTA application through or directly to the US government.

Remember that any mistake can jeopardize your ESTA approval and cause you to be banned from the ESTA system forever. That's why we recommend that you apply through an ESTA agency. For a thorough review of your information and personalized ESTA application assistance, use

ESTA application: step-by-step guide

This is how you complete your ESTA application on

  1. Create an ESTA account with a valid email address.
  2. Specify the number of travelers and provide the requested information for each person.
  3. Upload a clear image of each traveler's passport data page.
  4. Enter your parents' names, contact information, employment information, and social media information (if applicable).
  5. Provide emergency contact information and relevant travel information.
  6. Provide information on dual citizenship or other passports.
  7. Answer the ESTA security questions truthfully on topics such as health, criminal history, and more.
  8. Review all data entered for accuracy and make corrections as needed.
  9. Choose from the three service packages: Economy, Premium, or First Class.
  10. Pay the ESTA fee.

After payment, your application is checked for accuracy, corrected with your help (if necessary), and then submitted to the US authorities. You will be notified of the application status within minutes in some cases but within 72 hours at the latest.

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