ESTA: Guide For Children Travel Authorization To The United States

By now, you must have heard about the ESTA visa for the US.

ESTA children
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

This system is considered one of the most practical and valuable systems established by the United States government. The Electronic System for Travel Authorization is primarily developed to aid in determining the eligibility of persons who want to enter the US. But, the ESTA authorization only applies to citizens from countries that belong to the Visa Waiver Program. The Visa Waiver Program allows travellers to visit countries within the US territories without necessarily having a visa. Usually, first-time travellers find the ESTA a bit confusing. Thus, they will likely have questions like; do my kids need an ESTA? How do I apply for an ESTA for my Child? And so on. Continue scrolling to find answers to these questions and more.

Do Kids Require an ESTA Authorization?

Usually, most people will assume that children are not required to have an ESTA, especially if they are toddlers. However, this is not the case. The US government requires everyone to have an Electronic System for Travel Authorization regardless of age. Therefore, the apparent guardian of the respective kids should fill in an ESTA application form for their children before travelling.

Alternatively, you can choose to fill in a group ESTA application which includes all the family members travelling. This way, you can make the process easier since you will only have to complete the application once. Remember, any person below the age of 18 is considered a child and must have an adult fill in the ESTA application on their behalf. It is also worth noting that every child must have their own passport. You cannot include your child under your passport. Thus, each kid must have their own passport, which the ESTA will be linked to. Ensure you conduct the application early enough, at least three days before your travel day to avoid inconveniences.

Can Children Travel to the US Without their Parents?

It is possible for children to travel to the United States without being accompanied by their parents. However, the person accompanying them, such as a relative, should have a signed letter or authorization from the kid’s parent confirming their authorization. On the other hand, supporting documents must be provided if the kid is travelling with a person who does not share the same family name. These documents shine more light on the relationship between the child and the person accompanying them.

Generally, there are several conditions any ESTA applicant, including children, must fulfil to allow them to benefit from this travel authorization document. For instance, one must travel for medical, tourism or business purposes. The ESTA’s validity does not exceed 90 days per trip. But you can travel to any country in the US territory with the same ESTA.

Why Do Travelers Need ESTA to Visit the USA?

The US government introduced ESTA authorization to improve the security of its territories. This system helps screen travellers ensuring they do not pause a risk to US citizens. These risks include infections, terror attacks or murder.

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