Make sure you use the official US government website: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/

There are dozens of other website which will have a surcharge and can scam you. It should be $14USD per person (as at February 2022).

Information you will need:

  • Passport details, including a photo of the information page of your passport as well as details of any other passports you hold (for example if you are a dual national). Once you upload your photo, you move the machine-readable information at the bottom to the top of the readable square. The machine may then misread your details, so make sure you correctly update the dates and names in the fields before progressing.
  • Your parents’ names.
  • Your workplace details.
  • Details of your accommodation in the USA, at least for the first place you are staying. This can be your hotel when you arrive.
  • US contact person information, including address and mobile number. We use family and/or friends in the US. Some people say unknown, other use the first hotel they are staying at.
  • Emergency contact details, this can be a family member back home.
  • You’ll also need to answer a series of questions about travel, criminal history etc.
  • You will do a final check of details before paying, I realised I had mistyped my NZ passport number at this stage so went back to correct it. It is important to triple-check all these details to avoid problems at customs.
  • Make sure you keep the application number safe so you can check you status online once it is approved (should be within a few days).
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