8 CFR § 217.5 - Electronic System for Travel Authorization.
(a) Travel authorization required. Each nonimmigrant alien intending to travel by air or sea to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) must, within the time specified in paragraph (b) of this section, receive a travel authorization, which is a positive determination of eligibility to travel to the United States under the VWP via the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), from CBP. In order to receive a travel authorization, each nonimmigrant alien intending to travel to the United States by air or sea under the VWP must provide the data elements set forth in paragraph (c) of this section to CBP, in English, in the manner specified herein, and must pay a fee as described in paragraph (h) of this section.
(c) Required elements. ESTA will collect such information as the Secretary deems necessary to issue a travel authorization, as reflected by the I-94W Nonimmigrant Alien Arrival/Departure Form (I-94W).
(1) General Rule. A travel authorization issued under ESTA will be valid for a period of two years from the date of issuance, unless the passport of the authorized alien will expire in less than two years, in which case the authorization will be valid until the date of expiration of the passport.
(2) Exception. For travelers from countries which have not entered into agreements with the United States whereby their passports are recognized as valid for the return of the bearer to the country of the foreign-issuing authority for a period of six months beyond the expiration date specified in the passport, a travel authorization issued under ESTA is not valid beyond the six months prior to the expiration date of the passport. Travelers from these countries whose passports will expire in six months or less will not receive a travel authorization.
(3) The Secretary, in consultation with the Secretary of State, may increase or decrease ESTA travel authorization validity period otherwise authorized by subparagraph (1) for a designated VWP country. Notice of any change to ESTA travel authorization validity periods will be published in the Federal Register. The ESTA Web site will be updated to reflect the specific ESTA travel authorization validity period for each VWP country.
(e) New travel authorization required. A new travel authorization is required if any of the following occur:
(1) The alien is issued a new passport;
(2) The alien changes his or her name;
(3) The alien changes his or her gender;
(4) The alien's country of citizenship changes; or
(5) The circumstances underlying the alien's previous responses to any of the ESTA application questions requiring a “yes” or “no” response (eligibility questions) have changed.
(1) Current authorization period. An authorization under ESTA is a positive determination that an alien is eligible, and grants the alien permission, to travel to the United States under the VWP and to apply for admission under the VWP during the period of time the travel authorization is valid. An authorization under ESTA is not a determination that the alien is admissible to the United States. A determination of admissibility is made only after an applicant for admission is inspected by a CBP Officer at a U.S. port of entry.
(2) Not a determination of visa eligibility. A determination under ESTA that an alien is not eligible to travel to the United States under the VWP is not a determination that the alien is ineligible for a visa to travel to the United States and does not preclude the alien from applying for a visa before a United States consular officer.
(3) Judicial review. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a determination under ESTA is not subject to judicial review pursuant to 8 U.S.C. 217(h)(3)(C)(iv).
(4) Revocation. A determination under ESTA that an alien is eligible to travel to the United States to apply for admission under the VWP may be revoked at the discretion of the Secretary.
(g) Compliance date. Once ESTA is implemented as a mandatory program, 60 days following publication by the Secretary of a notice in the Federal Register, citizens and eligible nationals of countries that participate in the VWP planning to travel to the United States under the VWP must comply with the requirements of this section. As new countries are added to the VWP, citizens and eligible nationals of those countries will be required to obtain a travel authorization via ESTA prior to traveling to the United States under the VWP.
(1) Until September 30, 2015, the fee for an approved ESTA is $14.00, which is the sum of two amounts: a $10 travel promotion fee to fund the Corporation for Travel Promotion and a $4.00 operational fee to at least ensure recovery of the full costs of providing and administering the system. In the event the ESTA application is denied, the fee is $4.00 to cover the operational costs.
(2) Beginning October 1, 2020, the fee for using ESTA is an operational fee of $4.00 to at least ensure recovery of the full costs of providing and administering the system.