Are you ready to visit the US but need to get your ESTA sorted out? Did this cross your mind, “Can I use my post-dated passport for ESTA?”
Keep reading, because the following article will answer all your passport-related queries when it comes to obtaining an ESTA.
Do I Need a Digital Passport for ESTA?
The digital passport is also known as the biometric or e-passport, so don’t get confused the next time you hear someone using these terms for a passport.
ESTA application passport requirements state that a digital passport is the MOST essential item that you need. You cannot proceed with the application if you do not possess one.
So you are a citizen of one of the VWP countries, you say? Even if you are, you STILL need a digital passport.
If you do not possess one and wish to travel to the US, the first thing is that you should renew your passport.
Can I Use my Post-Dated Passport For ESTA?
Traditional passports (now outdated) gave way to machine-readable passports. Additionally, machine-readable passports have undergone even more sophistication with time and are now called digital passports.
The essential component of a digital passport is a microprocessor chip, which is embedded within the passport.
This chip carries the holder’s information such as name, date of birth, and photographs, as well as unique physical features.
Passport Requirements for ESTA
- Your passport must have a machine-readable zone
- Your passport must be a digital passport with a chip containing biometric information about you
- Your passport must be valid for up to 6 months after you enter the US
How is a Digital Passport Beneficial?
A digital passport is more secure and prevents identity fraud. Furthermore, the automated scanning system takes less time when clearing the immigration counter.
How Can You Get Your Digital Passport Photograph Taken?
This is the most important component of your digital passport. If you are renewing your visa specifically for US travel make sure that it meets the biometric passport photograph criteria.
Some important criteria are as follows:
- Your photograph should be in its original format
- It must measure 45mm x 35mm
- It must be centered
- You must not wear any facial accessories
- The picture background must be cream or light gray
Using Digital Passport for ESTA Approval
Once your digital passport is issued, you are eligible to apply for ESTA authorization. Furthermore, upon receiving approval, ESTA will be valid for up to two years, or until your passport expires. (whichever comes first)
In case your digital passport gets stolen or lost, you will have to apply for a new one. Since your ESTA authorization is electronically linked to your passport, you would also be required to apply again.
If you have dual citizenship and possess multiple passports
- In this case, if one of the passports is from a VWP country, use that one.
- If you possess passports of more than one VWP country, choose the one which you want to reserve for travel purposes and always use the same passport for traveling to the US
- If you are a US citizen and also of one of the VWP countries, then you do not need to apply for an ESTA. Use your US passport for travel.
The take-home message is that you must possess a digital passport for ESTA approval. The remaining items are of secondary significance.
Before you decide to travel to the US and even before you apply for ESTA, get your hands on your very own personalized digital passport. The future is purely digital, and so should be your passport!