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?

A valid, biometric passport is also a mandatory requirement for your child's ESTA application. The ESTA application cannot be submitted with a child's passport or child ID card.

Validity of your passport

The required validity of the passport for ESTA applications depends on the nationality of the applicant. For many visitors to the USA, passports must be valid for at least 6 months after their intended departure. Exceptions to this rule apply only to nationals of countries that are members of the US government's Six 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?

You have lost your passport and also reported this loss? Then, unfortunately, the validity of your ESTA has expired. For security reasons, passports reported as lost or stolen can no longer be used for ESTA - even if they are found later.

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

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 1dt, 2011 (or in the case of Cuba, since January 12, 2021) is excluded from the ESTA system.

Also, a stay in one of these countries after ESTA approval causes problems for a later US entry and can lead to the termination of the ESTA approval.

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