Updated: Aug 24, 2023
Employment information is used by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to help determine if ESTA applicants are intending to illegally enter the United States to become economic migrants. The specific section related to this law is in the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act Section 214b. ESTA applicants are required to provide employment information as evidence of having substantial economic links to their country of residence or citizenship. An ESTA applicant’s employer information acts as proof of fulfilling eligibility to travel as a non-immigrant (or visitor) to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program and U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act.
CBP wants your employment information for the four primary reasons below:
Employment details can be used to verify the identity of the applicant. This additional data point helps create a fuller profile of the individual.
Employment information may offer insights into the purpose of your visit. For example, stable employment in your home country could be considered a factor that makes it less likely you intend to overstay your visa.
The nature of your employment might raise or lower flags about security risks. Certain professions may require further scrutiny for security reasons.
The U.S. government may use this information for statistical purposes, to understand the demographics of visitors.
The purpose of the law is to ensure applicants provide sufficient evidence to prove they have strong family and economic ties to the country where they reside or their country of citizenship. Examples of economic ties include employment details, bank accounts or proof of a mortgage. At the U.S. border, travelers may be asked about their family and economic ties to their country of residence or citizenship. If an applicant intends to visit the U.S. specifically to seek employment opportunities, then they may be in breach of the law. However, visiting the U.S. to attend an employment interview while traveling on an ESTA does not constitute seeking employment. The relevant eligibility question on the ESTA form related to the law is as follows: “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?”.
Yes, this information is a required field on the application form. Applicants should provide their employer details to the best of their knowledge. Deliberately not providing employment information on an ESTA application may affect CBP’s decision. CBP does not judge the merit of any particular type of employer or profession. Being able to show proof of employment is a benefit to applicants that they do not intend to break U.S. immigration laws.
The information fields required as part of the employment section on the ESTA form are Employer name, Job title, Employer Address (address line 1, line 2, state/province region, city and country). No other information is currently requested on the form such as salary, start date, supervisor name or other details. CBP may decide to add more fields in the future. Applicants that are retired or not employed will not be required to provide any information under the employment section of the form.
No historical employment information is required to complete the ESTA application. Only current employment information is required.
Employment information on the ESTA application comprises several required fields on the form. Applicants can opt to not provide their employer's details. However, it is advised applicants answer the employment questions on the ESTA application and provide the most accurate and recent details of their employment to not delay the processing of their ESTA nor show intent of potentially violating laws pertaining to the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Act.