Am I required to obtain an ESTA?
September 25, 2012 6:55 AM   Subscribe

I need some clarification on how U.S. Customs' ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) system works. Do I need to apply?

I'm travelling to the United Sates this week. I'm a Canadian citizen living in Japan. Do I need to apply for and ESTA? When I try to fill out their application form, Canadian citizenship is not listed as an option.

I'll also be travelling with my 3-year-old daughter who only holds Japanese citizenship. Is she required to obtain an ESTA?
posted by Tenacious.Me.Tokyo to Travel & Transportation around United States (3 answers total)

Citizens of Canada travelling with a Canadian passport do not need to apply for an ESTA.

Citizens of Japan travelling on a Japanese passport are eligible to travel under the Visa Waiver Program and do require an ESTA.

You can fill out the form for your daughter, but you don't need to do one for yourself.
posted by Happy Dave at 7:07 AM on September 25, 2012

We just did this - we entered the United States by ferry from Victoria BC, and then flew from Seattle to Osaka.

My wife and two sons needed an ESTA (they are all Japanese citizens, and I didn't have time to get my sons new Canadian passports).

I did not need an ESTA. My wife applied online as a "group." The only weird part was that we were only able to confirm the ESTA was approved individually, and not using the group code provided (Memail me if you need more info).

With ESTA in hand (actually, they just look up your number on a computer), we went through US immigration in Victoria, and we had to fill out three forms. It was a little time consuming, and should be something you factor in on arrival, and especially on departure back to Japan.

It's no fun doing this travelling with small kids, and has motivated me to get them their passports in future.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:05 PM on September 25, 2012

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