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What are the ESTA Questions?

Updated: Aug 23, 2023  | Tags: ESTA Application Guide, ESTA Form, ESTA Application, ESTA Questions

The ESTA application form is managed and administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The purpose of the form is to gather a substantial amount of information so that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) can cross check an applicant’s details across numerous international terrorism, no-fly and criminal databases. However, DHS and CBP are considerate of the time applicants need to apply for an ESTA, since if the ESTA form is too time consuming and cumbersome, then the purpose of the online travel authorization is lost as it would inconvenience travelers and possibly discourage tourism to the United States. Thus, the ESTA questions on the form reflect the desire to ask for a minimum level of information that would provide border authorities with the confidence an applicant would pose no considerable risk to U.S. public safety.

What are the ESTA Questions?
What are the ESTA Questions?

The purpose of the ESTA Application Form

Eligibility Check: ESTA evaluates if travelers from VWP countries are eligible to travel to the U.S. without a visa. It helps streamline the process for low-risk travelers from these countries.

Security and Safety: The application form screens travelers before they depart to the U.S. This early screening allows U.S. authorities to prevent individuals deemed a security risk from boarding U.S.-bound flights.

Address Overstays: By collecting data about travelers, the U.S. can better monitor and enforce the 90-day maximum stay requirement for VWP travelers.

Ease of Travel: For travelers from VWP countries, obtaining an ESTA approval is quicker and more convenient than applying for a visa. It facilitates easier travel for tourism or business for up to 90 days.

Data Collection: ESTA collects data about travelers, which can be used for various purposes, including tracking travel patterns, understanding tourism trends, and ensuring compliance with U.S. immigration rules.

Fee Collection: There's a fee associated with the ESTA application. Part of this fee goes to promoting tourism to the U.S., while another portion supports the operational costs of the ESTA system.

The ESTA Form Questions

The following table can be used as reference for the question fields asked in each section of the ESTA form. Each section is then discussed below the table. Answers to questions listed below are all compulsory, otherwise they are denoted as optional where relevant (source:

ESTA Application Section

ESTA Question Fields


Family Name, First (Given) Name, Gender, Aliases, Date of Birth, City of Birth, Country of Birth, Passport Number, Country of Citizenship, National Identification Number, Passport Issuance Date, Passport Expiry Date, Passport Issuing Country, Have you ever been issued a passport or national identity card for travel by any other country? If yes, provide Issuing Country, Document Type, Document Number, and Expiration Year.


a) Have you ever been issued a passport or national identity card for travel by any other country? If yes, provide the Issuing Country, Document Type (Passport or National Identity Card), Document Number and Expiration Year.
b) Are you now, a citizen or national of any other country? If yes, provide the Country of Citizenship / Nationality, and disclose how did you acquire the Citizenship / Nationality from this country?
c) Have you ever been a citizen or national of any other country? If yes, provide the Country of Citizenship / Nationality.


Are you a member of the CBP Global Entry Program? If yes, provide the PASSID / Membership Number


Both parents Family Name and Given (First) Name


Address Line 1, Address Line 2, Apartment Number, City, State/Province/Region, Country, Telephone Type, Telephone Number, Email Address


Provider / Platform, Social Media Identifier


Do you have a current or previous employer? If yes, provide the Job Title, Employer Name, Address Line 1, Address Line 2, City, State/Province/Region, Country, Telephone


Is your travel to the US occurring in transit to another country? If yes, provide the information in the next section:


Name, Address Line 1, Address Line 2, Apartment Number, City, State, Phone Number


Address Line 1, Address Line 2, Apartment Number, City, State, Phone Number


Family Name, First (Given) Name, Email Address, Telephone,


  1. Do you have a physical or mental disorder; or are you a drug abuser or addict; or do you currently have any of the following diseases (communicable diseases are specified pursuant to section 361(b) of the Public Health Service Act): Cholera, Diphtheria, Tuberculosis infectious, Plague, Smallpox, Yellow Fever, Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers, including Ebola, Lassa, Marburg, Crimean-Congo, Severe acute respiratory illnesses capable of transmission to other persons and likely to cause mortality.
  2. 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?
  3. Have you ever violated any law related to possessing, using, or distributing illegal drugs?
  4. Do you seek to engage in or have you ever engaged in terrorist activities, espionage, sabotage, or genocide?
  5. Have you ever committed fraud or misrepresented yourself or others to obtain, or assist others to obtain, a visa or entry into the United States?
  6. 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?
  7. Have you ever been denied a U.S. visa you applied for with your current or previous passport, or have you ever been refused admission to the United States or withdrawn your application for admission at a U.S. port of entry?
  8. Have you ever stayed in the United States longer than the admission period granted to you by the U.S. government?
  9. Have you traveled to, or been present in Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen on or after March 1, 2011?


Billing First Name, Last Name, Email Address, Billing Address, Debit/Credit Card Details


The first section of the form requests basic applicant information, including fields such as first name and family name. This section also requests information about an applicant’s passport details along with information about other nationalities and any relevant documents for the other nationality. Your ESTA application details must match those on your passport. When providing information in this section, be careful when entering your passport details as errors will result in your ESTA being invalid. Other common errors include applicants omitting their middle names from the First (Given) Name fields as well as applicants putting their first name in the last name field, and vice versa.


This section requests information about past and current citizenships or nationalities. If the applicant has another citizenship or nationality, the applicant must disclose how they obtained the citizenship or nationality and provide information on the country and documents issued. Applicants must also disclose the countries where they previously held citizenships or nationalities, although the form does not request information on how the applicant acquired citizenships or nationalities that are no longer active.


Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has a Global Entry program for expedited entry and security clearance. CBP Global entry travelers are pre-approved, and thus deemed low-risk travelers. Members of the program can enter the United States through automated kiosks at various U.S. airports. The ESTA form captures this information so that CBP Global Entry members can seamlessly enter the United States using their approved ESTA and membership credentials.


In this section, you will need to provide information on your parents, including their first and last names. Parents, for the purposes of the question, are considered to be biological, adoptive, step parents or guardians. If this information is unknown, use the individuals who cared for you when you were young or simply ‘UNKNOWN’ if you did not have any parents or caregivers.


Address, telephone and email contact information are requested in this section of the ESTA application. Ensure each part of your address is entered correctly into the fields. For example, ‘Address Line 1’ is the street address and house number where you reside. CBP will likely not use your address information for correspondence. Your email address will be used for communications regarding your ESTA application.


CBP included this section in 2016 to gather information on an applicant’s social media information. Applicants can select from options in the form dropdown such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, as well as others, or enter other social platforms not listed in the dropdown along with their social media identifier such as the account name. These details are not currently required although they may be at some point in the future. CBP may use social media information to determine the security risks posed by applicants that undergo additional screening during the processing of their ESTA.


The employment information section on the ESTA form has questions about an applicant’s employer name and contact information. This information is requested as it provides CBP with insight into your employment situation. Although this information is likely not used for approving or denying ESTA applications, it is likely used by Border Guards who can question visitors at the border regarding the purposes of their stay in the U.S. and genuineness in returning to their home country after their travel plans are complete.


Travelers coming to the U.S. for reasons other than transit purposes, will need to provide information on their U.S. contact including address and telephone number. If an applicant does not have a U.S. contact person, they can provide the details of a U.S. organization or hotel. Otherwise, if U.S. contact information is not available, applicants can enter ‘UNKNOWN’ for text fields and a sequence of zeros ‘0’ for number fields. The U.S. Point of Contact information allows CBP to determine where an applicant will likely stay during their visit and provides details of a visitor’s liaison.


The information in this section can be the same as the previous if, for example, a tourist is visiting New York and has only the hotel contact information available and no U.S. contacts. However, business visitors coming to negotiate a contract should provide the name of their contact in one section and their hotel or accommodation details in the other section. Otherwise, if an applicant has not yet booked accommodation for their planned visit, they can enter ‘UNKNOWN’ for text fields and a sequence of zeros ‘0’ for number fields.


In the event an applicant has a medical emergency without any next of kin, CBP will use the information to contact an ESTA applicant’s nominated persons. Some applicants may not have an emergency contact, and thus they can under ‘UNKNOWN’ for the emergency contact fields.


These are the 9 "yes" or "no" ESTA questions that determine the eligibility of VWP travelers. The questions span a number of topics intended to determine if an applicant poses a risk due to their personal health, criminal history, drug history, terrorism-related activities, U.S. employment aspirations, U.S. immigration and visa history, as well as their travel history to select countries that are either deemed State Sponsors of Terrorism (SST) or are experiencing military conflict. Answering a ‘yes’ to anyone of these ESTA eligibility questions will most likely result in an application being denied, thus take care when filling in this section of the form. If you are requested to provide additional information for one of the eligibility questions, ensure you provide your answers in an honest and concise manner.


Applicants will also need to complete the “Waiver of Rights” section. This section comprises the following parts:

No Review or Appeal: By using the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) through ESTA, travelers acknowledge that they have no right to review or appeal a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer's decision as to their admissibility at the U.S. port of entry.

No Contest to Deportation: Travelers under the VWP waive any rights to contest any action for deportation, except on the basis of an application for asylum.

Ineligibility for a Visa on the Basis of Overstay: If travelers overstay the terms of their VWP admission (typically 90 days), they may become ineligible for future visa-free travel to the U.S. They might also face difficulties when applying for a U.S. visa in the future.

Understanding of Terms: Applicants acknowledge that they have read and understood the terms of the Visa Waiver Program, including the fact that staying beyond the duration of the permitted stay can result in being barred from future travel to the U.S.

Accuracy and Truthfulness: Applicants certify that the answers and information they provide on the ESTA form are truthful and accurate.

The waiver of rights is important to understand, as it emphasizes the strict nature of the Visa Waiver Program. VWP travelers have fewer rights at the border compared to visa holders, so it's crucial to be aware of these limitations before deciding to use the program.


The certification section of the ESTA application serves as an affirmation from the applicant that the information they've provided is accurate and truthful. This section is crucial because the U.S. government relies on the honesty of applicants when evaluating their eligibility to travel under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

Truthfulness: The applicant certifies that all the answers and information provided on the ESTA application are true and accurate to the best of their knowledge.

Consequences for Misrepresentation: The applicant acknowledges that providing false or misleading information can result in being denied the ability to travel to the U.S. under the VWP. In some cases, providing false information can have further legal implications.

Understanding of Waiver of Rights: The applicant acknowledges they understand the conditions of the VWP, including the fact that they waive certain rights like appealing a CBP officer's decision about their admissibility or contesting removal (except on asylum grounds).

Data Privacy and Sharing: The applicant acknowledges and consents to the fact that their personal data can be processed, shared, and stored by U.S. government agencies for the purposes of determining their eligibility for travel.

The certification section essentially acts as a legal affirmation, emphasizing the importance of truthfulness and understanding the conditions of the VWP. By completing and submitting the ESTA form, the applicant agrees to all of these terms.

It's crucial for travelers to thoroughly review the certification section and understand its implications. And, as always, for the most accurate and current information, it's a good idea to refer directly to the official ESTA application or U.S. government websites.


On the payment form, debit or credit card details will need to be provided. The person paying can be someone other than the applicant. In addition to debit or credit cards, payment by PayPal is also an option.


Although filing in an ESTA application seems like a trivial task, there are considerations applicants should make when answering various ESTA questions on the form. Fortunately, applicants can review their responses prior to sending the form off to be processed by CBP, thus applicants are advised to double check the information they provided on the form and review their answers to the ESTA questions.

If you hold a passport from a visa waiver eligible country and wish to obtain an ESTA for tourist, business, medical or transit purposes, get started on your application, otherwise, visit the FAQ to learn more about the ESTA

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