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ESTA Transit Visa: Transiting through the USA?

An ESTA travel authorisation is only related to “permission to travel to the United States“, whether to visit or transit through to another destination. An approved ESTA transit visa does not guarantee entry or transit through the US. If you are planning to cross through or visit the US within the next six months, it is recommended that you begin the application process now. If you travel to the US and are denied entry, you will never be able to enter on the VWP again and will be required to apply for a Visa.

ESTA Transit for UK

ESTA Transit for UK

Transit in the U.S. requires ESTA

Travellers without a visa must apply for ESTA transit visa to visit the U.S. and are required to transmit or transfer there. ESTA application online checks can be done by filling in the necessary information. If transit is within a few hours and does not leave the airport or certain areas, an immigration officer will not need to examine you.

You must still apply ESTA UK for short-term transit, as it is considered “entry to U.S.” ESTA has a vital role in preventing suspicious travellers from travelling through the U.S.A to other countries. The United States has suffered severe damage from terrorist attacks from other nations in the past and had to deal with many deaths.

The U.S. government used the lessons from these past tragedies to establish ESTA Visa as part of its security measures to strengthen immigration. All foreign tourists who travel to the U.S. by transit must apply for ESTA before they arrive.

For infants and preschool children, you must apply for ESTA Transit Visa

Even in transit cases, the standards for using ESTA are unchanged.

ESTA is required for everyone regardless of their age. So, make sure you apply for everyone in your travel party who will be transiting the U.S. Even infants and preschoolers need ESTA. It can take up to three days or 72 hours to receive the screening results after you apply for ESTA Application. After you have received the ESTA travel authorization, you can travel to the US for 90 days, even though you are applying for a transit visa. If you plan to travel to the U.S. or transfer there, you should apply early.

You may not be allowed to enter the U.S. if you do not have ESTA. We recommend you check flight numbers, destinations, and airports before travelling, especially if you are travelling with a family or group.

ESTA Transit for UK

There are differences between transit, transfer, and stopover (layover)

Three main types of travel to the U.S. for transfer purposes are possible: transit, transfer and stopover (layover). These terms may be familiar to international travellers, but not everyone can distinguish their differences. Below are the differences between these terms and some points you should be aware of.


The transfer is the act of changing flight plans. This differs from transit because passengers may take the same aircraft to their final destination. While “transit” can be used in many instances to mean the act of transferring flight, they have two distinct meanings.
Depending on the transit time and airport structure, you may have to move within the airport or change terminals. Sometimes, you might need a new boarding card issued at the airport where you are transferring.

Check with the airline before departing to confirm transit or transfer information.


Transit can be used to mean a stop along the way. This refers to a flight that stops at an airport to replenish fuel and food before returning to the final destination.
Most international flights transit for around one to two hours. In these cases, passengers either wait inside the plane or move to a transit area in the airport. The aircraft’s interior will need to be cleaned during transit. If you leave the aircraft, move all your personal belongings from your feet into the overhead compartments. Always keep your passport and other valuables with you, even if you are not on the plane.

Transit cards will be distributed by airport staff to passengers who are transiting. Transit takes only a few minutes, but it is essential to keep your card safe.

Stopover (layover)

A stopover is primarily a 24-hour stay en route to the destination. Although “stopover” is British English, and “layover” is American English, it is still used in the U.S. The stopover can also describe a shorter or more extended stay. However, it is usually a 24-hour stay or more.
Do citizens of countries participating in the VWP require an ESTA travel authorisation if they are only transiting the United States on route to another country?

Yes. A traveller planning to transit through the US on route to another country must also obtain an ESTA Travel Authorisation in advance. When completing the ESTA application, the words “In Transit” and the final destination should be inserted into the address field under the heading “Address While In the United States”.

Depending on the transit time and airport structure, you may have to move within the airport or change terminals. Sometimes, you might need a new boarding card issued at the airport where you are transferring. Check with the airline before departing to confirm transit or transfer information.

You Require ESTA in all Situations, whether it is Transit, Transfer or Stopover

Travellers transiting from the U.S. into a third country must apply for and be granted ESTA. In any of these cases, you must apply for ESTA: transit, transfer, and stopover (layover).
All travellers who travel to the U.S. must complete an ESTA Transit Visa application. This applies to children and adults, regardless of gender, age, occupation, or nationality. This is required for the safety of both travellers and U.S. security.

If you don’t have enough time to transfer or transit, contact your airline or tour agent for information on how to change your flights. Long trips will undoubtedly require a lot of time on the plane. This means there is more likelihood of transit or transfer along the way to your destination. Plan a not-too-stressful trip for your health and your schedule.

How long does it take to process a ESTA Transit Visa Application?

Expect to wait up to a week for a response regarding your visa status after a consular officer has interviewed you. The embassy or consulate-general reviews the submitted documents to ensure they are in order. Any information regarding whether or not you were granted the U.S. Transit Visa is unavailable before you receive the response. In most cases, you will not need to show documents at the port of entry, but just because you have a valid ESTA transit visa, doesn’t mean that you will automatically be granted entry at the border. Therefore, please wait for the notification by the Embassy or Consulate. People with criminal records or who have been indefinitely absent (illegal stay) should expect to wait longer to receive a response. For a smooth response, send Embassy or Consulate General any additional documents quickly.

If you have any other ESTA questions, please check our Frequently asked questions page for more infomation

Official disclaimer: This information website is privately owned and operated. It is not affiliated with the US government. Outgoing links are provided to a privately owned third-party website that offer ESTA processing for an additional fee. All visitors have the option of utilizing the official US government website directly without any third-party assistance and pay USD $ 21.00.