Is ESTA authorisation obligatory for children?

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Is ESTA authorisation obligatory for children?

Most people already know that ESTA authorisation is required for all adults who wish to visit the United States. But one of the questions commonly asked by parents who wish to travel with their family to the USA concerns the requirements of this travel authorisation for children, minors of less than 18 years of age.  Here we will examine the answer to this query with some explanations concerning the procedure to follow for travelling legally to the USA with your family.


Are children required to apply for an ESTA?

This may surprise you but children, even when very young, should obtain ESTA authorisation, like adults, to ensure they are authorised to travel to the United States. If you forget to apply for this authorisation you may find that you will not be allowed to board the ship or plane that is supposed to transport you to the USA.

Of course, the requirement to obtain ESTA authorisation also concerns stopovers or transits through the USA. You should therefore take all necessary measures before your travel.


How to apply for ESTA authorisation for a child?

Basically, the procedure to follow for ESTA authorisation for a minor is exactly the same as that for an adult. It is therefore better to apply for ESTAs for your children at the same time you apply for your own, at least one or two weeks before your departure date.

For this you should visit a website such as ours where you can find the appropriate ESTA application form in your language. You should complete the application form then those for your children. Ideally you should complete this procedure for all the members of your family and others travelling with you at the same time. To do so you will need to hold the biometric or electronic passports for each person concerned.

It is actually easier and faster to obtain ESTA authorisation as part of a group application than by making several applications at different times. As with the normal procedure, the decision of the American authorities responsible for your application will be communicated to you by email at the address specified in your application.

Authorisation obtained this way is also valid for two years, for future visits to the United States in accordance with the conditions.


What you need to know concerning ESTA authorisation for children:

There is certain important information you should know concerning the ESTA relating to children who are minors. The first concerns the administration fees. An ESTA authorisation for a child is payable, as that for an adult with no reduction. Also, children that benefit from ESTA authorisation should have their own plane or ship ticket in their name or at least their name should be on the ticket of one of their accompanying parents.

Of course, the accompanying parents or adults remain legally responsible for the children whilst on American territory. Therefore in the situation whereby a child has obtained ESTA authorisation whereas their parents have not will not be authorised to travel to the USA alone.