Passport for your ESTA application

Are you planning to travel to the United States and do you need to apply for an ESTA? Then you will need a valid biometric passport! Learn more about the features of an e-passport.


The official entry permit for the USA!

What is a biometric passport?

A biometric passport, also known as an electronic passport, e-passport, or digital passport, is a paper passport containing electronic data stored on an integrated microchip.

Since April 1st, 2016, only biometric passports have been accepted for visa-free entry into the USA. This means that it must contain a chip that provides the biometric information of its holder.

An e-passport can always be recognized by this symbol:

Symbol biometric passport

Expedited passport for ESTA?

You can use an expedited passport for your ESTA application as it is a fully valid document that has only been processed and issued in a faster procedure for an additional fee.

Temporary passport for the ESTA application?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to apply for an ESTA with a temporary passport and travel to the USA without a visa. We recommend that you apply for an expedited passport if you are under urgent time pressure, as this can be used for the ESTA application without any problems.

If you have applied for a new passport but have not yet received it, you need to wait with your ESTA application until you have your new passport in your hands.

Passport ESTA

Passport upload in ESTA application

Have a photo of the passport data page ready to upload at the beginning of your application. The integrated data reading software will automatically transfer all passport data into the designated form fields.

The upload of the data page of your passport including the photo and machine-readable area in the lower third of the page is done either by making a live photograph within the application process or ( e.g., if your device camera is not working) manually as a jpg, jpeg, png, or gif file.

It is important that the machine-readable part takes up the full width of the photo so that it can be read correctly. The following data is available:

  • Family name
  • First name
  • Gender
  • Passport number
  • Country of issue
  • Nationality
  • Date of birth
  • Validiy
image machine readable zone of passport

The Machine Readable Zone (marked in red) of your passport must fit in the photo completely so that your data can be read correctly.

Does my child also need a passport for ESTA?

Yes, a valid biometric passport is also a mandatory requirement for your child's ESTA application.

The ESTA application cannot be made with a child passport or child ID as it is not electronically readable and therefore cannot be checked at the border control.
Consequently, children need a biometric and electronic passport (ePassport) for the ESTA registration and the vacation in the USA, which must be valid over the entire duration of the USA stay.

Validity of your passport

The required validity of the passport for the ESTA application depends on the nationality of the applicant. As a rule, each passport must be valid for at least another 6 months when you leave the USA, i.e. cover your entire stay on American soil plus 6 months.

An exception is the countries of the Sixth Month Club.

What is the Six Month Club?

However, the majority of persons who have received an ESTA travel authorization are covered by the "Six Month Club" exemption. Travelers from Germany, Spain, or Canada, for example, only need a passport, which must be valid for the duration of the planned stay.

New passport - new ESTA?

As soon as you apply for a new passport, the validity of your approved ESTA application expires automatically, even if the 2 years have not yet been reached.

An ESTA approval is always linked to a passport and the corresponding passport number. Since your new passport will receive a different passport number, you will need to submit a new ESTA application.

I lost my passport - Is my ESTA still valid?

Have you lost your passport and reported this loss? Unfortunately, you can no longer use a lost or stolen passport for your ESTA authorization, even if you find it again.

So if you have a valid ESTA and officially report the loss of your passport, you must always apply for a new entry permit.

If your passport is permanently lost, please apply for a new passport and afterwards for a new ESTA.

Entering a problematic country and ESTA

The USA has classified the following countries as critical due to the threat of terrorism:

  • Cuba
  • Iraq
  • Iran
  • Yemen
  • Syria
  • Libya
  • Somalia
  • Sudan
  • North Korea

Anyone who entered these countries on or after March 1st, 2011 (or after January 12th, 2021, in the case of Cuba) will not be eligible to apply for ESTA.

However, a stay in one of these countries after your ESTA was approved will also cause problems during a later US entry and can lead to the cancellation of your ESTA approval.

Apply for ESTA