ESTA USA also required for a transfer
Even if you are only travelling to the United States in order to travel onward to another destination from there, you still need to have a valid travel authorisation. In this case, it does not matter if you arrive in the USA by plane, ship, or land. You can easily apply for an ESTA for a transit or transfer.
Travelling onwards from the USA with an ESTA
The ESTA requirement for transit applies to all travellers, including minors and babies. In this case, it does not matter whether you leave the airport during your transit in the USA.
If you are applying for an ESTA for transit, you can indicate this in the application form. This way, you do not have to answer a number of questions that are obsolete in that case.
Flights via the USA often cheaper
Travellers from the UK or Ireland who are transiting to a country in North, Central, or South America often travel through the United States. This is because a flight with a transit in the USA is often cheaper than a direct flight. The reason for this is that many big airlines offer scheduled flights to destinations in the US and often use big aeroplanes for this as well. Travellers can then travel from the United States to their final destination.
Another reason for the large number of UK and Irish travellers who transit in the United States is that there are a limited number of direct flights from the UK and Ireland to some countries in South and Central America.
Easy and inexpensive travel via the USA with an ESTA
Travellers who only transfer or transit in the United States must also have a valid travel authorisation. Applying for an ESTA is the easiest way to meet this requirement. It is also possible to apply for a visa, but a visa application is both more complicated and more expensive than an ESTA application. The cost for a standard ESTA application is only £49,95, while applying for one of the US visas is considerably more expensive. In addition, an ESTA is granted much quicker than a visa, often on the same day the application was submitted.
Apply for an ESTA for your transfer immediately
When you apply for an ESTA for transit in the USA, you can use the same form as the one used for an ESTA application for a holiday or business trip. Travellers who travel together can also submit a group application and therefore apply for the ESTA at the same time. Travellers who transit together in the USA can also combine their applications into one form if desired.
Transit visa for the USA more difficult to apply for
In addition to the ESTA, you can also apply for a specific visa for transit in the USA: the C visa. However, this visa is more expensive and more complicated to get than an ESTA. To apply for the C visa, you have to make an appointment at an embassy or consulate. The visa is therefore meant specifically for travellers who do not meet the ESTA requirements. Reasons why travellers are no longer eligible for an ESTA include, for example, having a criminal record but also having travelled to Cuba after 1 March 2011.