ESTA application for children?
Every traveller to the USA needs a valid ESTA. This also applies to minors. This page tells you how to submit an ESTA application for your child.
ESTA and passport required for everyone
To travel to the United States, every traveller must have a valid passport and ESTA (or visa), regardless of age. This even applies to infants. If either of these documents is missing, you will not be able to travel. Although some countries accept ID cards as valid travel documents, this is not the case for the USA. You can only apply for an ESTA with a passport. The ESTA can easily be applied for online via the online application form, and is therefore the most popular travel authorisation for the United States.
Is there a special ESTA for minors?
No. There is no special ESTA for minors. The ESTA that children need to have is exactly the same as the ESTA that adults can apply for. This means that both the two-year validity period and the maximum stay of 90 days are identical for minors and adults.
ESTA application for your child
Of course, your child may be too young to apply for an ESTA on their own. This is not a problem, as you can fill in the application form for your child. If you apply for an ESTA for your child, you will only need their passport details. If you already have an ESTA yourself, or do not need an ESTA, you do not need to fill in yourself as a person travelling with them. Not even if your child is a baby. If you do need an ESTA, you can submit a group application for yourself and your child. This is much easier because then you do not have to fill in two forms.
Group ESTA application
As mentioned above, it is also possible to apply for an ESTA as a group. This is particularly useful if you are travelling with children. With a group application, it is not necessary to submit a new individual application for each person. Instead, you can apply for the ESTA for yourself and all accompanying travellers with a single application form.
To apply for a group ESTA, open the normal ESTA application form. After filling in your own details, you can click on “add a traveller” at the bottom of the form. This will bring up new fields allowing you to enter the details of a second traveller. You can add more persons to the form by clicking on “add a traveller” each time. After all the information has been filled in, you pay the costs. You only have to make one combined payment. The price per ESTA remains the same, so there is no discount for group applications. However, it does save you a lot of time.
What else do I need?
In theory, a passport and ESTA are sufficient for your child to travel to the United States. The US government generally does not impose any additional requirements on children. In some cases, however, you will need additional documents. If the child is not travelling with a parent, the accompanying adult must have a letter of consent signed by the parents or legal guardians. If the child is travelling with only one parent, the other parent must give written consent for the journey. This is to prevent child abduction.