U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently launched a new mobile application that allows travelers from 40 countries to submit applications for U.S. travel through their smartphones and tablets. The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is an automated online application system which determines the eligibility of visitors traveling to the United States to enter the country without obtaining a visa stamp at a U.S. consulate. Pursuant to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Visa Waiver Program, an ESTA approval authorizes eligible travelers to enter the United States for up to 90 days for business or tourism-related travel. 

Though each trip is limited to 90 days, an approved ESTA application remains valid for a period of two years, or until the passport expires, whichever comes first. An eligible traveler can make multiple trips to the United States during this period, without having to re-apply for another ESTA.

Prior to the launch of the ESTA mobile app, travelers could apply for authorization only through the official CBP website, which continues to service ESTA applications. According to CBP’s recent announcement, the new ESTA mobile app allows travelers to:

  • Launch an ESTA application;
  • Scan an image of their passport;
  • Have their passport read and confirmed;
  • Upload a live video selfie to confirm their identity;
  • Add personal and travel details to their application;
  • Answer eligibility questions;
  • Review and submit their application;
  • Make changes or updates to their application or profile;
  • Receive notifications and application status updates; and
  • Save time by storing their preferences and profile details within the app.

The ESTA mobile app is available in 24 languages and is designed to serve travelers in all 40 countries whose citizens are permitted by DHS to travel to the United States for business or tourism for stays of up to 90 days without a visa. Travelers can download the free ESTA mobile app from the App Store (Apple) or the Google Play Store (Android).