ESTA Guide

ESTA Guide – Step by Step

In the following, detailed instruction on how to complete your ESTA application is presented. All pieces of information should be given truthfully because untrue statements could lead to problems when attempting to enter the US. In the worst case, wrong answers could result in an ESTA rejection.

Please keep in mind that all information you need to provide is intended to enhance the security of the United States. Thus, your data will only be submitted to the responsible US authorities but not to any other third party.


The official entry permit for the USA!

General Information

We are happy to assist you in applying for your ESTA so that you can have a successful trip to the USA!  For your application, you should be prepared to have the following information ready to hand: 

  • Valid biometric passport
  • Personal data (including names of your parents)
  • If applicable: address of current or former employer
  • Address of your accommodation or contact person in the USA
  • Your payment information (bank details, PayPal, credit card, etc.)

All mandatory fields in the application form are marked with an asterisk (*) and must be completed. 


If questions should arise in the course of the application, you are welcome to contact our service team. We look forward to supporting you while filling in your ESTA application. 

Contact form


Step 1: Personal and Travel Data

Create an ESTA Account

Before you can start filling in your ESTA application, you have to create a customer account. As an ESTA is valid for two years, you can log into your account and check your ESTA status at any time after applying for your ESTA. Please use a valid e-mail address and choose a secure password in order to generate a valid ESTA account.

Create an ESTA Account

Accept the Conditions

In order for us to file your ESTA application on your behalf and submit it to the US authorities as well as to collect and process your personal data in accordance with the German Data Protection Act (GDPA), it is indispensable for us to receive your consent. In order to allow us to submit your ESTA application, simply click on the two boxes at the bottom left to check them.

Accept conditions

Quantity of people

After successfully generating a personal customer account, you can then include the number of travelers. Do you only want to apply for an ESTA for yourself or do fellow travelers have to be included in a group application? The number you enter here decides how many ESTA applications you would like to register for. 

Afterwards, please enter all data for every individual applicant one after the other. 

Quantity of people


If you are submitting multiple ESTA applications, be sure to get digital copies of your fellow travelers' passports so you can upload them within the ESTA application process.

Uploading your passport

Have the data page of your passport ready to upload at the beginning of your application. All relevant passport data will then be automatically transferred into the designated form fields through the data reading software integrated into the application process.

The upload file must be a clearly readable image of the respective data page including passport photo and machine-readable area (lower third of the data page) and has to be uploaded as jpg, jpeg, png, or gif.

The following data will be transferred automatically:

  • Family name
  • First name
  • Gender
  • Passport number
  • Country of issue
  • Nationality
  • Date of birth
  • Validity

The machine-readable part of your passport (outlined) must cover the full width of the photo.


ESTA cannot be approved with a temporary passport or a children's passport. Also, if you have applied for a new passport, you must request a new ESTA.

Names of Parents

Your parents' names are mandatory fields. If you do not or only partially know these names, please enter 'UNKNOWN' in the appropriate fields.

Names of parents in the ESTA application

Contact Details of the Applicant

Your current contact details, such as address and telephone number, are also compulsory fields and must be filled in.

Phone Number

Enter the telephone number where you can best be reached. You can choose between the following options: 

  • Job
  • Landline
  • Mobile
  • Other

You can select the country code from the dropdown menu. Please enter your phone number, including the area code, without any spaces in the field "Phone."

phone number in the ESTA application

If you do not have a phone number, you can also enter the phone number of a contact person, such as a family member, friend, or business associate. If you choose this option, please select "Other" in the dropdown menu for "Type of phone number."

Home Address

Indicating a valid address is essential when applying for an ESTA and must be submitted!

In the form, street names can be abbreviated in the usual way. The following spellings would therefore be possible:

  • Main St.
  • Main Str.
  • Main Street

Home address in the ESTA application

E-Mail Address

Please also provide an E-Mail address that you can access on an unrestricted basis. Your approved ESTA confirmation will later be sent to this E-Mail address. 

E Mail address in the ESTA application

Attention will always send your ESTA approval as a PDF attachment via E-Mail to you. Therefore, please check your E-Mail inbox as well as the junk mail folder on a regular basis. As a standard rule, postal dispatch of your ESTA confirmation does not take place but can be requested.

Information on your employment

If you are or ever were employed, you need to answer ”Yes” to this question. As a consequence, the employer is required to complete the ESTA application. In this case, please indicate the name of the company or organization of your current or former employer.

What is often overlooked when answering this question is that the following information is also allowed in the "Name of employer" field:

  • Self-employed
  • Student
  • Child
  • Housewife
  • Stay-at-home-parent

You can also enter any other wording here to describe your current employment status.

Employment information in the ESTA application

However, if you have never been employed in any form, you can answer the question about your employment with "No."

Social Media

Since the end of May 2020, you should also provide information about your online presence for the past five years. If you do have social media accounts that you have used during this time, answer 'Yes' to this question. Furthermore, you need to enter the corresponding ID or your user, profile, or screen name as chosen for the respective social media supplier.

Social Media in the ESTA application

If you do not use social media, you can answer this question with "No."

The US authorities intend to use this data query to identify terrorists more quickly to protect national security. They should only have the possibility to read public posts so that your privacy is not affected! A good time to check your own settings for Facebook & Co again.

Emergency Contact Details

In case something happens to you in the USA (an accident, serious illness, etc.), the US authorities will inform your emergency contact. This can be someone inside or outside the US, such as

  • a family member
  • a friend
  • a business associate.

All fields must also be completed here! If you don't have an emergency contact or don't know the last name, you can fill in the fields with 'UNKNOWN' and/or enter two zeros (00) for the phone number.

Emergency Contact Details in the ESTA application

Travel Information

The amount of the requested travel information depends on whether the USA is your final destination or if your trip is in transit to another country, which means you would not leave the airport, but, for instance, only change flights at an American airport.

Travel Information in the ESTA application

If you would like to enter the USA, this question needs to be answered with "No" and a contact person in the USA has to be indicated.


Even if you need the ESTA permit for transit only, we recommend applying for a regular ESTA as a precaution. ESTA is valid for two years, which means you can use it again when reentering the US in this time period. If you have no US contact due to the planned transit, enter the name and address of the US airport where you will arrive

US Contact

Your contact person within the USA could be, for example:

  • a friend
  • a relative
  • a business associate

However, if you do not know anyone in the USA or are planning a round trip, it is best to state the name, address, and phone number of your (first) place of accommodation in the USA, e.g., a hotel.

You can also fill in the fields with ”UNKNOWN” if you really don't have a planned accommodation or anything comparable. However, we strongly would like to encourage you to include a US contact if possible.

US contact in the ESTA application

Passport Date of Expiry

How long your passport needs to be valid for your ESTA application depends on your citizenship. Citizens of the so-called Six Month Club can travel with a passport valid until the day they leave the USA.

Passport Expiry date for the ESTA application

The black marking indicates where you can usually find your passport's date of expiration.

Passport or Identity Card from another Country

If you have ever received or still hold a passport or identity card from a country other than the issuing country of your passport specified in the ESTA application, you must answer this question with "Yes" and provide the following information:

  • Country of issue
  • Type of document (passport or identity card)
  • Document number (passport number or identity card number)
  • Expiration year

If you do not know the expiration year and/or document number, you can also enter four zeros (0000).

Another country in the ESTA application

Other Citizenships at the Time of Application

If you have another nationality at the time of the ESTA application, i.e., so-called dual citizenship, you must select the appropriate country from the dropdown menu.

Other citizenships in the ESTA application

You must also indicate how you acquired this citizenship. Different countries have different laws for obtaining citizenship, such as the principle of descent in Germany. The following options are, therefore, available to you when you fill out this question:

  • Ancestry (one or both parents are citizens of this country)
  • Naturalization (you have applied for and obtained citizenship)
  • Birth (you were born in the country)
  • Other

If you choose "Other," you must briefly elaborate on how you obtained this citizenship.

Other Citizenships in the Past

If in the past - i.e., before filling in the ESTA application - you had held a nationality that you surrendered, please select the appropriate country from the dropdown menu.

Former citizenship of another country in the ESTA application

Membership in Trusted Traveler Programs

If you are participating in the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Global Entry Program or any other Trusted Traveler Program for facilitated entry into the United States, please enter your membership number here.

Global Entry Membership in the ESTA application

Filling out the ESTA Security Questions

To enable the US authorities to assess possible risk factors of the traveler, there are nine final security questions on the topics:

  • Health
  • Criminal records
  • Drugs and drug abuse
  • Terrorist Intentions
  • Former VISA/ESTA Fraud
  • Work intentions in the U.S.
  • Unauthorized exceeding of the duration of stay in the USA
  • Citizenship of or travel to certain “problematic” countries

Again, it is essential to answer all questions truthfully. Please read them very carefully. In the worst case, you may be permanently denied to enter the USA (with an ESTA) if the US authorities can prove a false statement.

If you have to answer “Yes“ to one or more questions, your ESTA application will be denied. In order to save you unnecessary costs for the application, will not complete your application in this case. You would have to apply for a US Visa instead.

1. Security Question: Health and Addictions

The first question raises many concerns when filling out the ESTA application – Do you have to answer "Yes" if you have the flu? No, you don't have to!

Whether a disease is a danger to the population depends on two factors:

  1. The disease is contagious and can be transmitted through body fluids, breath, or insect bites.
  2. The spread of the disease is difficult to control and difficult to cure.

Although the flu or cold fulfills the conditions of factor 1, the spread can be controlled, and the chances of recovery are good. You can therefore answer "No" with a clear conscience at this point

However, if you suffer from any of the following diseases, you must answer "Yes":

  • Lymphogranuloma venereum
  • Cholera
  • Gonorrhea
  • Diphtheria
  • Granuloma inguinale
  • Chancroid
  • Plague
  • Infectious leprosy
  • Smallpox
  • Yellow fever
  • Active tuberculosis
  • Syphilis (infectious stage)
  • Viral hemorrhagic fever, including Ebola, Lassa, Marburg, Crimean-Congo fever
  • Acute respiratory diseases that are transmissible to others and can be fatal (for example, COVID-19)

If you have suffered from one of these diseases in the past but are now cured, you can answer "No" but should carry a medical certificate confirming this.

With regard to addictions, if you occasionally use drugs that are permitted in your home country and also do not have a serious addiction problem, you can answer "No" at this point. However, if you are addicted to drugs, you must answer "Yes."

2. Security Question: Previous Penalties or Convictions

The question about previous convictions and sentences really only has to be answered with "Yes" if the offense causing the conviction was serious bodily injury or serious damage to property.

However, if it is only a fine notice, e.g., for speeding, you can calmly answer "No" here. Note, however, that prior convictions and sentences do not become time-barred for the US authorities!

3. Security Question: Drug Use or Trafficking

The question of illegal possession, consumption, and trafficking of and with drugs is based on the first security question. It is important to note that you only have to answer "yes" to this question if it has brought you into conflict with the law in your country.

If you are acting within the scope of official legislation in your activities involving intoxicants, you may check "No" at this point!


Since possession of up to 5 g of cannabis per person is allowed in the Netherlands, Dutch people may answer "No" to this question if you do not exceed the country's own regulations.

4. Security Question: Terrorist Intentions

If you have not been involved in terrorist, espionage, and/or sabotage activities in the past or plan to be involved in such activities in the future, you can also answer "No" to this question.

5. Security Question: Former VISA/ESTA Fraud

If the US authorities noticed that you knowingly provided false information when applying for a US visa or ESTA in the past, you must answer "Yes" here. As this means that you have practically no chance of entering the United States, you should make sure that you always answer all the questions in the ESTA application truthfully so that such a case will never occur!

6. Security Question: Work Intentions in the USA

You only have to answer "Yes" to the question about work intentions or illegal employment in the USA in the past if

  1. you're planning on looking for a paid job in the US 
  2. You have worked in the USA in the past without a valid work visa.

However, this is not the case if, for example, your non-American employer sends you to a conference in the USA. In such cases, you may also stay in the USA with an ESTA for up to 90 days and can therefore answer this question with "No".

7. Security Question: Visa or ESTA denial in the Past

If this is not your first ESTA application and an application was denied in the past or if you were denied entry to the US at the US border, you must answer "Yes" to this question. In this case, no ESTA will be granted to you.


Although answering "Yes" to an ESTA security question basically eliminates your chance of receiving ESTA approval, you must provide truthful answers to all questions in the ESTA application. If you give false information, you may be subject to permanent entry bans and criminal penalties. In the event of an ESTA rejection, please contact our staff at the US Visa Service.

8. Security Question: Unauthorised Exceeding of the Duration of Stay

The question of an unauthorized exceeding of the duration of stay refers to your possible USA visits in the past. If you have ever stayed in the United States longer than permitted by your US visa or ESTA, you must answer "Yes" to this question.

9. Security Question: Citizenships of or Travel to Certain Countries

US authorities classify Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia, North Korea, Libya, and Syria as problematic countries. If you traveled to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen on or after March 1st, 2011, or have been in Cuba since January 12th, 2021, you no longer qualify for the ESTA process.

The duration and reason for your stay are irrelevant here. You would need to apply for a visa in this case.

Also, if you are a citizen of Cuba, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, or Syria at the same time as being a citizen of a VWP country, you will not be granted ESTA approval.

Confirmation of Comprehension and Order

At this point, you must confirm that you have understood and truthfully answered all questions and that you authorize us to submit your application to the US authorities (the responsible Department of Homeland Security). To do so, place two checkmarks in the appropriate place.

Confirmation of Comprehension and Order in the ESTA application

Step 2: Summary of Your Data

After completing the ESTA application, an overview of all of your entered data will be displayed. We kindly would like to ask you to carefully double-check all information you have provided. If you notice any errors, you can use the pencil symbols to go directly to the section of the application.

Step 3: Decide for the appropriate service package

Trust the USA experts at We offer 3 different service packages for your ESTA application.

Are you interested in a basic application or would you like to use our "all-inclusive" package? Choose between the packages Economy, Premium, or First Class.


ESTA Packages

Step 4: Payment

In the penultimate step, the total amount to be paid will be displayed. At this point, you can also enter a possible voucher code. You can then conveniently choose between the following payment options:

  • Credit Card
  • PayPal
  • Apple Pay
  • Sofort

After you have agreed to our general terms and conditions, the data protection declaration, and the premature expiry of the right of withdrawal, you can click on the button 'Continue to payment page' to reach the page that allows you to complete the payment. Your ESTA application will then be transmitted to us and we will start working on it. 

Step 5: Application Successfully Submitted

Congratulations! You have now come quite a bit closer to your USA trip. As soon as your application has been sent to us, we will carefully check your data and will contact you directly in case of any ambiguities.

Once all details are correct, we will submit your ESTA application to the US authorities, and afterwards, you will shortly be notified of your status by e-mail.

Note: It can take up to 72 hours for the US authorities to process your application! However, we usually process your application immediately after receipt.

Apply Now