In an effort to improve and expand the information available to evaluate the security risk of potential Visa Waiver Program travelers, U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) announced the addition of new, required data fields which must be completed during the online ESTA registration process.
Newly added fields require the following additional information:
- Aliases used
- Parents’ names
- National identification number (if applicable)
- City of birth
- Employment information (if applicable)
- Contact information for the traveler’s contact in the United States
ESTA is the Electronic System for Travel Authorization used by Visa Waiver Program travelers to register and obtain authorization to travel to the United States for business or leisure travel without applying for a visitor’s visa and undergoing an in-person interview at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate abroad. The online registration form collects information that enables thorough background checks and an evaluation of the traveler’s security risk. ESTA registrants must be citizens of countries eligible under the Visa Waiver Program and must carry passports with certain enhanced security features.
U.S. CBP has confirmed that existing ESTA authorizations will remain valid through their existing validity dates. Travelers will only need to complete the additional data fields during the normal ESTA reregistration process.
According to data provided by the CBP, the ESTA program has successfully identified travelers who should be denied travel to the United States for security reasons. U.S. CBP reports that since the implementation of ESTA in 2008, more than 4,300 ESTA applicants have been denied due to security concerns, and more than 22,500 have been denied because they applied using a passport that had been reported “lost” or “stolen.”
For more information on the Visa Waiver Program or the new ESTA registration requirements, visit the CBP webpage for Frequently Asked Questions regarding ESTA.