Guide to Understanding Questions on ESTA Application Form

Updated on Jul 07, 2024 | Online US Visa

The questions on the ESTA form have been carefully prepared to provide border officials with the least amount of information required to affirm that a traveler would not constitute a significant risk to public safety in the United States.

The ESTA application form is managed and administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The form's goal is to collect enough information to allow CBP (United States Customs and Border Protection) to cross-reference a traveler's information against a wide number of global criminal, no-fly, and terrorism databases.

CBP and DHS are concerned about how long it will take an applicant to complete an ESTA application. If the ESTA form is too complicated and takes too long to complete, the entire objective of ESTA as a rapid online means to obtain travel authorization will be undercut. Travelers may find the procedure so cumbersome that it discourages them from visiting the United States.

As a result, the questions on the ESTA form have been carefully prepared to provide border officials with the least amount of information required to affirm that a traveler would not constitute a significant risk to public safety in the United States.

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The Basic Details Travelers Must Provide:

Personal Information:

  • First and Last Name
  • Gender
  • Date of Birth
  • City of Birth
  • Country of Birth
  • Citizenship
  • Passport Information (number, country of issuance, expiration date)
  • Email Address
  • Contact Information (Address, City, State/Province, Zip/Postal Code, Country)

Travel Information:

  • Purpose of Travel (Business, Pleasure, Transit)
  • Point of Contact in the United States (if applicable)
  • Accommodation Information (Address, City, State/Province, Zip/Postal Code, Country)
  • Employment Information:
  • Occupation
  • Employer or School Name

Contact Information: 

(Address, City, State/Province, Zip/Postal Code, Country)

Security Questions:

  • Have you ever been arrested or convicted for a crime that resulted in serious damage to property, or serious harm to another person or government authority?
  • Have you ever been denied a visa or entry to the United States, or been deported, removed, or required to leave the United States?
  • Are you currently seeking employment in the United States or were you previously employed in the United States without prior permission from the U.S. government?
  • Have you ever engaged in, or do you intend to engage in, espionage, sabotage, export control violations, or any other illegal activities while in the United States?
  • Have you ever been associated with a terrorist organization, or have you ever advocated for the overthrow of any government?
  • Have you ever participated in, or do you plan to participate in, demonstrations while in the United States?

Review and Signature:

Acknowledge and understand the information provided on the form is true and correct to the best of your knowledge.

You must provide an electronic signature.

Please note that the exact sections and questions on the ESTA application form may vary slightly over time and may be updated by the US government. It's recommended to check the most up-to-date version of the form on the official US government website.

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ESTA Questionnaire:
Passport Applicant's Information:

The first section of the ESTA application form asks for basic information such as the applicant's family name and first name. In the same part, the applicant must also include information about his or her passport, as well as information about any other nationalities he or she currently holds or has held in the past. The applicant must also provide information on any documents relating to the other nationality.

It is critical to note at this point that the information on your ESTA application should match the information in your passport. When filling out this section of the form, pay close attention to the passport number because any mistakes would render your ESTA application invalid. Other common errors made by applicants include placing their last name in the first name area or vice versa, as well as only providing their first name in the Given Name field rather than their first name and middle name (s).

Other Citizenship / Nationality: 

You must input information about former and present nationalities and citizenships in this box. If you hold another nationality or citizenship, you must reveal this information.

You must also explain how you gained that nationality or citizenship (for example, naturalization, through parents, or birth) and include the country's name and details on the issued documents.

If you formerly held nationality or citizenship in another country, you must reveal the name of that country. The form, however, does not ask for details about how you obtained that nationality or citizenship because it is no longer functioning.

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Membership in GE (Global Entry): 

The CBP (Customs and Border Protection) also manages the GE (Global Entry) program. Members of the program will benefit from faster security clearance and access into the United States. Members of Global Entry have been pre-approved by Customs and Border Protection and are thus considered low-risk applicants.

Members of the GE program can enter the United States through an automated kiosk at a variety of airports. You must include your GE membership number on the form if you are a member. This information is needed on the ESTA form to guarantee that GE members can easily enter the United States with their membership details and an approved ESTA.

Parental Information: 

In this section of the form, you will be requested to provide information about your parents. This covers both their first and last names. Parents might include any of the following for the purposes of this section: Parents may be biological, step-parents, adoptive, or guardians.

If you don't know this information for whatever reason, you can add the names of the persons who cared for you as a child. Enter 'UNKNOWN' if you never had any caretakers or parents.

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Personal Contact Information: 

You must include your email address, phone number, and address in this section of the ESTA application form. Check that you have entered every portion of the address accurately. The first line, for example, contains your street address as well as your home number. 

CBP is unlikely to send any mail to your home address. If they need to interact with you regarding your ESTA application, they will usually utilize your email address.

Information about social media:

CBP added this area a few years ago to collect information on an applicant's social media profiles. There is a dropdown menu with options such as YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and others. You can also type in the name of a social networking platform that isn't shown in the dropdown menu. You will also be requested to provide your Social Media Identifier in a separate area. If you have a Twitter account with the handle @JohnSmith, for example, enter it in the Social Media Identifier section.

Customs and Border Protection may utilize information from social media to determine if an applicant undergoing further screening as part of their ESTA application presents a security concern.

The Social Media Identifiers (account names) of any social media account they have used in the last 5 years across any of the networks listed below should be included in the ESTA:

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram are all examples of social media platforms.

If you haven't been engaged on any of these sites in the last five years, you can check the box that says you don't have a presence on social media.

It is extremely advised that applicants provide honest replies. Staff from US Customs and Border Protection will review your information, and if you are found to have provided fraudulent information, your ESTA application may be denied.

Employment Information: 

This section of the ESTA application form includes questions regarding your employer's name and contact information.

This is requested so that Customs and Border Control can better understand your current employment prospects, i.e. whether or not you have a job.

Although CBP is unlikely to utilize this information when considering whether to approve or refuse an ESTA application, border guards may use it to assess the danger of an applicant staying unlawfully in the United States for work purposes. These border guards have the authority to interrogate tourists at the border about the purpose of their journey to the United States and how serious they are about returning to their home country following their stay in the United States.

Contact Information in the United States: 

ESTA candidates who are visiting the US for non-transit purposes must provide information about their contact in the US. This includes their phone number and mailing address. Applicants who do not have a contact person in the United States might add hotel or organization information. If no information for a U.S. contact person is available, you can put zeros (e.g. '00000') in number fields and 'UNKNOWN' in text areas.

This information is requested because it shows CBP where the applicant will most likely be lodging during his or her travel to the United States and provides contact/location information for that individual, business, or organization.

Address While in the United States: 

If you are visiting Miami and your only contact in the United States is the hotel where you will be staying, the information you submit in this section of the form may be the same as what you entered above.

Business travellers who are visiting the United States to negotiate a transaction should, however, submit contact information in the first box and hotel or other accommodation information in the second one.

Applicants who have not yet arranged lodging for their future trip to the United States might enter a couple of zeros (e.g., '00000') in numerical fields and 'UNKNOWN' in text fields.

Contact Information Inside or Outside the United States:

If you have a medical emergency and there are no immediate family members, CBP will notify your nominated people using the information you submit here. If you don't know who to contact in an emergency, you can type 'UNKNOWN' in this section.


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Eligibility Questions: 

Your answers to these nine "yes" or "no" questions will assist in determining whether your ESTA application is granted or denied. The questions cover a wide range of topics and are designed to determine whether an applicant should be considered a risk due to his or her criminal history, personal health, terrorism-related activities, drug history, U.S. visa and immigration history, desire to work in the United States, and travel history to a number of countries in the Middle East and Africa.

Giving a 'yes' answer to any one of the nine questions on the ESTA application form will almost certainly result in the rejection of your application. Fill out this section of the form with extreme caution. If you are asked to provide further information regarding any of the eligibility questions, please provide it in a brief but honest manner.

Waiver of Rights: 

All applicants are required to complete the 'Waiver of Rights' section. This basically means that you are relinquishing your right to request a review of any CBP decision, as well as your right to appeal such a decision. If you do not accept this waiver of rights, your ESTA application will be denied.

Section on Certification:

In this section of the ESTA application form, you must attest that you understood the questions and that you answered them all properly and accurately to the best of your ability and knowledge. Completing this area of the form is also required if your ESTA application is to be granted.


Although completing an ESTA application may appear to be a simple effort at first look, there are several factors that applicants should keep in mind when answering the various questions on the form.

You will, thankfully, be allowed to review your responses before submitting the form for verification. This allows you to double-check everything you entered to ensure there are no errors that could result in your ESTA application being refused. If you are not receiving email updates on the status of your ESTA application, you can check it on a frequent basis.

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FAQs On The US eVisa:

Here are some frequently asked questions about the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) application form:

What is ESTA and who needs to apply for it?

ESTA is an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). If you are a citizen of a country that participates in the VWP, you will need to apply for an ESTA before traveling to the United States for business or pleasure for stays of up to 90 days.

How do I apply for an ESTA?

You can apply for an ESTA online through the official U.S. ESTA website. The application process is simple and straightforward, and you will need to provide personal and travel information, as well as answer security questions.

How much does an ESTA cost?

To check the cost of an ESTA, visit the ESTA website.

How long does it take to get an ESTA approved?

Typically, an ESTA application is processed within 72 hours. However, in some cases, it may take up to 72 hours. It is recommended to apply for an ESTA at least 72 hours before your scheduled departure.

How long is an ESTA valid for?

An approved ESTA is valid for two (2) years, or until the expiration date of your passport, whichever comes first.

What if my ESTA application is denied?

If your ESTA application is denied, you will need to apply for a nonimmigrant visa through a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

Can I change the information on my ESTA after it has been approved?

No, you cannot change the information on your ESTA once it has been approved. If you need to update your information, you will need to apply for a new ESTA.

Can I travel to the United States with an ESTA if I have a criminal record?

Having a criminal record does not automatically disqualify you from traveling to the United States under the VWP. However, if you have been arrested or convicted for a crime that resulted in serious damage to property, or serious harm to another person or government authority, your ESTA application may be denied.

What if my passport expires before my ESTA does?

If your passport expires before your ESTA does, you will need to apply for a new ESTA with your new passport.

How can I check the status of my ESTA application?

You can check the status of your ESTA application on our official U.S. ESTA website by entering your name, passport information, and date of birth.

Check your eligibility for US Visa Online and apply for US Visa Online 72 hours in advance of your flight. British citizens, Spanish citizens, French citizens, Japanese citizens and Italian citizens can apply online for ESTA US Visa. Should you need any help or require any clarifications you should contact our helpdesk for support and guidance.