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Visa Waiver Program
 

 

Nationals of Visa Waiver Program member countries are required to register online ahead of their visits to the United States through the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA). To apply for travel authorization please visit the ESTA website:  https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/

Nationals of Visa Waiver Program countries may travel to the United States without visas only if they have tamper-proof biometric passports.  For citizens of Lithuania, passports issued after August 28, 2006 meet this requirement. Passengers are advised to bring a print-out of their ESTA authorization to the airport when they travel. 

It is highly recommended that all travelers check their ESTA status before they start their travel to the U.S. even if originally they received an Approved status, because status may change.

For more information about the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and the Electronic System of Travel (ESTA) please see the Frequently Asked Questions below.

What is the Visa Waiver Program?

The Visa Waiver Program allows foreign nationals from certain countries to travel to the United States for business or pleasure and for stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa.

What do I need to do to travel without a visa?

In order to travel to the United States without a visa, travelers must first visit the Electronic System of Travel Authorization (or, ESTA) website at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/ to obtain travel authorization.  We advise that you obtain ESTA authorization two weeks before your planned date of departure.  Nationals of Visa Waiver Program countries may travel to the United States without visas only if they have tamper-proof biometric passports.  For citizens of Lithuania, passports issued after August 28, 2006 meet the requirements.  ESTA fee is 14 USD.  In case ESTA is denied only 4 USD are charged.  

What kind of passport do I need to travel without a visa?

Nationals of the new countries of the Visa Waiver Program who want to travel with the VWP must carry biometric passports. For Lithuania, these are passports issued after August 28, 2006.

What is the Electronic System for Travel Authorization?

ESTA is an automated system used to determine the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and whether such travel poses any law enforcement or security risk.

How does the travel authorization process work?

The Department of Homeland Security and the United States Customs and Border Protection have provided a secure public Web site with an automated form for you, or a third party, to complete in order to apply for a travel authorization.  Once you enter the required biographic and travel information on the secure Web site, your application is processed by the system to determine if you are eligible to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program without a visa.  The system will provide you with an automated response, and prior to boarding, a carrier will electronically verify with the United States Customs and Border Protection that you have an approved travel authorization on file.

Does a travel authorization guarantee me admission to the United States? 

If your electronic travel authorization is approved, this approval establishes that you are eligible to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. However, like visa, it does not guarantee that you are admissible to the United States.  Upon arrival in the United States you will be inspected by a Customs and Border Protection officer at a port of entry who may determine that you are inadmissible under the Visa Waiver Program or for any reason under United States law.

How long is a travel authorization via ESTA valid?

Each approved ESTA application will be valid for a period of two years, such that a visitor may travel to the United States repeatedly within a two-year period without having to apply for another ESTA.  Travelers whose ESTA applications are approved, but whose passports will expire in less than two years, will receive an ESTA valid until the passport's expiration date.

When do I need to apply for a travel authorization?

Applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel to the United States. We recommend that travel authorization applications be submitted two weeks prior to travel.  Unless revoked, travel authorizations are valid for two years from the date of authorization, or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.

How do I apply for authorization to travel to the United States?

Step 1: Complete Your Application

Enter all required information. You will be asked to provide information from your passport and your travel arrangements, and to answer seven security questions.  Each member of your party must have an approved travel authorization or a visa, regardless of age.

Step 2: Submit Your Application

Review your answers for accuracy.  To make corrections, return to the application by selecting the Previous button.  Prior to submitting your application for processing, you can print out a copy for your records.  However, you will not be required to show a printed copy of your application.  Once you complete this step and submit your application, you will not have the option of printing a copy of your application.

Step 3: Receive and Record Your Application Number

After you submit your application, the system will provide you with an application number.  Record this application number for your records.  To check the status of or to update your application, you will be asked to provide your application number, passport number, and date of birth.

Step 4: Make payment 

The 14 USD fee is charged for ESTA approval. In case ESTA is denied only 4 USD are charged.  The payment can be made only by credit card (debit cards are not acceptable).  If you do not have a credit card somebody else can make a payment for you.

Step 5: Receive Response to Your Application

In most cases the Electronic System for Travel Authorization will return an Application Status immediately.  In cases where more time is needed to determine the status of the application, an answer will be returned within 72 hours.  Steps will be provided to check the status of the pending application. The three possible responses are:

  • Authorization Approved. Your travel authorization has been approved and you are authorized to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.  This response does not guarantee admission to the United States; a Customs and Border Protection officer at a port of entry will have the final determination.
  • Travel Not Authorized. You are not authorized to travel under the Visa Waiver Program.  This response does not deny entry into the United States.  This response only prohibits traveling under the Visa Waiver Program.  You may be able to obtain a visa from the UNITED STATES Embassy for your travel.  Please visit the Embassy website.
  • Authorization Pending. Your travel authorization is under review because an immediate determination could not be made for your application.  This response does not indicate negative findings.  A determination will be available within 72 hours.  Please return to this Web site and choose Update or Check the Status of a Previously Submitted Authorization to Travel to the United States.  Your application number, passport number, and birth date will be required to check the status of your application.

Step 6: Print ESTA

Print and have your ESTA approval with you when travelling to the U.S.  Please note that ESTA is valid for 2 years.  

Can I complete the ESTA application in Lithuanian language?
 
You can view the ESTA application in a variety of languages including Lithuanian.  However all answers must be provided in English regardless if you are using the Lithuanian version of the form or the English version of the form.

What information do I need in order to complete the ESTA application?

The traveler must provide (in English) biographical data including name, birth date, and passport information.  The traveler will be required to answer VWP eligibility questions regarding communicable diseases, arrests and convictions for certain crimes, and past history of visa revocation or deportation, among others.  The traveler may also provide optional travel information such as the flight number and destination address in the United States.

What information can I update?

  • E-mail address
  • Telephone number
  • Airline and flight number
  • City where you are boarding
  • Address while in the United States

What should I do if the information on my passport has changed?

If you obtain a new passport or there is a change to your passport information, you must apply for a new travel authorization.

What should I do if I am not approved for a travel authorization?

If you receive a Travel Not Authorized response to your travel authorization application, but wish to continue with your travel plans, please visit the United States Embassy website for additional information about applying for a visa. The denial of a travel authorization only prohibits travel under the Visa Waiver Program and is not a determination of eligibility for a visa to travel to the United States.

In the event you are not approved for a travel authorization, no court shall have jurisdiction to review an eligibility determination under the Electronic System for Travel Authorization.

If I am not approved for travel through ESTA, may I reapply?

You may reapply for an ESTA after a period of ten days, but please note that unless your circumstances have changed, you will not qualify for an ESTA and will need to apply for a nonimmigrant visa at a United States Embassy or Consulate.  In addition, reapplying with false information for the purposes of qualifying for an ESTA could make you permanently ineligible for travel to the United States.

What if my ESTA denial is a mistake?

DHS is carefully developing the ESTA program to ensure that only those individuals who are ineligible to travel to the United States under the VWP or those whose travel would pose a law enforcement or security risk will be refused an ESTA.  If an applicant believes that they have been refused an ESTA in error, or that the information they entered in ESTA was incorrect, the applicant can submit an inquiry to the DHS Travel Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP) website at www.dhs.gov/trip.  However  there are no guarantees that a request for redress through DHS TRIP will resolve the VWP ineligibility that caused an applicant's ESTA application to be denied.

Please note that Embassies and Consulates will not be able to provide information about ESTA denials or resolve the issue that caused the ESTA denial.  Embassies and Consulates will be able to process an application for a non-immigrant visa, which, if approved, will be the only way that a traveler whose ESTA application has been denied would be authorized to travel to the United States.

I was denied an ESTA approval and need to travel tomorrow.  Can I get an emergency appointment at the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate? 

Unfortunately, we are unable to guarantee next-day appointments because of varying demand for visas.  As a result, we encourage you to apply for an ESTA authorization far in advance of your travel. 

What about my current, valid visa?

Individuals that possess a valid visa will still be able to travel to the United States on that visa for the purpose it was issued.  Individuals traveling on valid visas will not be required to apply for an ESTA.  Visa-holders are not required to travel with a bio-metric passport.

Can I apply for an ESTA authorization if I was previously refused admission to the United States under the VWP?

Travelers who have been refused admission to the United States will not be eligible for an ESTA approval and must visit http://vilnius.usembassy.gov/ for information on applying for a visa to travel to the United States.

Do I need a round-trip ticket in order to travel without a visa?

At the United States Port of Entry you may be required to present a return trip ticket to a foreign destination.

When must I obtain a visa instead of using the Visa Waiver Program?

  • If you are planning to work (including internships), perform, study or participate in an exchange in the United States.
  • If you intend to visit the United States for more than 90 days.
  • If you intend to arrive in the United States aboard a yacht or other carrier that has not signed a specific agreement with the United States government guaranteeing to transport you out of the United States if you are found to be inadmissible or deportable.
  • If you believe any grounds of inadmissibility at the Immigration and Nationality Act § 212(a) apply to you, you should apply for a nonimmigrant visa before traveling to the United States.
  • If you received a Travel Not Authorized message from the Electronic System of Travel Authorization (ESTA). 

Are there disadvantages to using the Visa Waiver Program? 

Before using the Visa Waiver Program, be aware of the following conditions that apply and carefully consider your options:

  • If you are admitted to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, you may not change or extend your non-immigrant status.
  • If your admission is denied, you have no right to appeal a determination as to admissibility.
  • If you are found to have violated the terms of your admission, you also have no right to review or appeal, other than on the basis of an application for asylum, any removal action arising from an application for admission under the Visa Waiver Program.

What if a Visa Waiver Program applicant is found to be inadmissible?

Travelers applying for admission to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program who are determined to be inadmissible to the United States will be denied admission and returned to their country of origin, or a third country from which the traveler holds a round-trip ticket, aboard the carrier on which the traveler arrived in the United States.

How do I get more information on the Visa Waiver Program?

http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/id_visa/esta/

http://www.travel.state.gov/

Is this ESTA Web site secure and private?

Yes. This Web site is operated by the United States Government and employs technology to prevent unauthorized access to the information you enter and view. Additionally, this Web site operates under the rules and regulations as specified by the United States Privacy Act.

What does my computer need to use the ESTA to submit an application for authorization to travel to the United States?

The minimum computer configuration includes:

An internet browser that supports 128-bit encryption.
If you are using Internet Explorer (Windows), the minimum version that works with this Web site is version 5.0, with service pack 2.
If you are using Netscape, the minimum version that works is version 6.2.

Will I be required to write my answers in English?  What if my keyboard doesn't type in English?

You will be required to enter the information required on your ESTA application in English.  Your computer should, therefore, be configured to include the U.S. English language with a suitable English font set as a language selection for keyboard input.

If your computer's operating system is Microsoft Windows 95 or higher and you are unsure as to the English language capabilities of your computer, refer to the following website for information on configuring your computer:

http://www.conversationexchange.com/resources/keyboard-language.php#xp

If your computer is using a non-Windows operating system, refer to the documentation or help information provided by your operating system vendor.

How does 90-day period count?

While in the U.S., you may go to Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean and re-enter the U.S. using the I-94W you were issued when you first arrived in the U.S., although the time you spend there is included in the 90 days allotted for your visit.

If you go to Canada and Mexico or the Caribbean, and while you are there, your initial 90-day period of entry expires, but you need to come back in to the U.S. to fly home, you may encounter a problem. The terms of the VWP are very clear - it is only to be used for occasional, short visits to the U.S. If the CBP Officer thinks you are trying to "reset" the clock by making a short trip out of the U.S. and re-entering for another 90-day period, you can be denied entry. (If that happens, you will have to obtain a visa for any future travel to the U.S.) In order to be re-admitted to the U.S. shortly after a previous admission expired, you will have to convince a CBP Officer that you are not trying to "game" the system.

If I am in Canada or Mexico and want to drive to the U.S., do I need to apply for ESTA?

If you are a citizen of a country that participates in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), and you enter the U.S. by land from Mexico or Canada, you are only required to complete the paper I-94W form at the land border crossing. ESTA is currently required for air and cruise ship travel only.