A family trip to the USA is an incredible shared experience that will undoubtedly leave you all with some unforgettable memories. But the procedure to follow to enable all your family members to leave at the same time, with the minimum of fuss, can seem complicated and fastidious. Luckily, if you are citizens of one of the ESTA procedure member countries then you can complete your travel authorisation applications at the same time, as a family, directly through the internet, using the group application option that is at your disposal.Apply for ESTA
To travel to the USA you need to acquire travel authorisation from the American authorities, either in the form of a visa or, if you fulfil the conditions, an ESTA electronic authorisation.
If you are planning a trip to the American continent as part of a group you will each be required to obtain this well known travel authorisation. However, although the ESTA application process has been greatly simplified and is completed solely online, making individual applications can be time consuming and make travel preparations for the group far more complex.
Luckily, it is possible to create a collective or group application. One single person thereby takes the responsibility of completing the applications for the whole group, and receiving the responses from the American authorities. This enables a saving in terms of time as well as an easier way of managing the travel preparations.
Completing ESTA applications for the whole family is, in itself, fairly simple. You simply need to access an authorisation application online such as the one available through our website, and then choose the combined group option. Of course, it will be necessary to reply individually, for each family member, to all the questions asked. It should be noted that even very young children are also required to obtain individual ESTA travel authorisation.
You should therefore be able to supply precise and detailed information on each person that will accompany you, such as their full name, date and place of birth, as well as their address, family situation and profession, and of course their passport number.
When you create the ESTA applications for the whole family, all those who plan to travel should possess a biometric or electronic passport that is valid and will remain valid for the entirety of the planned trip to the United States.
Once the applications have been completed for all members of the family including yourself, you will need to pay for the administrative and processing fees by credit card to ensure that your applications are correctly transmitted and examined by the American authorities. These fees are calculated individually and the total amount therefore due will depend on the number of applications to be processed, therefore the number of people wishing to travel.
Although a collective ESTA application greatly facilitates the procedure for organising your travel to the United States, it does not enable a reduction in price, the processing and administration fees are individually priced. To submit a group application the total amount due for all the group members will have to be paid by credit card.
The response from the American authorities will be transmitted at one and the same time for all the applicants, to the email address of the principal contact person and within a maximum period of 72 hours. If one or several group members do not obtain their ESTA authorisation, this will not impact the authorisations of the others in the group.
Of course, each authorisation can later be used individually by the holder, within the legal duration of the ESTA two year validity period.
When you make the ESTA applications for the whole family online, you will be asked for the first names, last name and email address of the person responsible for making the application. It is to this email address that the response from the American authorities will be sent, within 72 hours maximum following the validation of the application forms. It is therefore important that you remember to check your incoming emails, including the spam folder.
You do not need to print your ESTA authorisation as, once your application has been accepted, the decision of the American authorities will be automatically registered with your passport, and the customs and immigration services, as well as your travel company, will be able to access this authorisation when they read your passport.
If you are planning a visit to the United States with your family shortly you will need to obtain an ESTA authorisation for each family member. In fact, even children of a very young age including babies will need a travel authorisation to be entitled to visit the USA. Therefore if you will be travelling with children, even a new born, then you will need to complete this formality.
It is also important to note that children, even babies, should therefore have a passport in their name so that the ESTA can be digitally linked to it. This passport application procedure generally takes a few weeks so it is important to apply well in advance to ensure you have plenty of time to complete your ESTA application using your new passport number and leaving time for contingencies.
There is no minimum age for applying for a passport. You can therefore apply online immediately using the UK passport government website. Once you have all the passports for your family then you can start the ESTA authorisation application procedure online using the form available on our website.
It is also important to know that children who are minors cannot complete their online ESTA application alone. In fact, an application form that has been completed by a minor will automatically be refused by the American authorities. It is actually stated clearly on the official ESTA application form that this procedure is only to be used by those over the age of 18.
It is therefore up to the parents to complete the procedure for their children, whatever their age. This does however require the parent completing the form to tick a box at the end of the application form stating that the application was completed by a third party. It is important not to forget to tick this box or it is highly probable that the application will be refused by the American authorities and you will then be required to reapply again, completing the entire procedure a second time after a 10 day delay following the initial refusal notification.
To rapidly and effectively organise your visit or transit through the United States with your family you need to find a website that offers this type of application form. We have therefore selected a reputable service provider for you that offers the possibility of completing an ESTA group application thereby saving you precious time regarding administrative procedures.
This website in fact offers numerous advantages such as a very reasonable price and rapid processing that generally does not exceed a few hours after the group application has been submitted. Another advantage, this service provider also offers you the opportunity of keeping a paper record of your authorisation by sending you a copy by post for a nominal postage fee. Finally, in the case of a refusal of your authorisation application for one or more of your family members this service provider will fully refund you for the transferral fees which will enable you to reapply or recover your funds.
In certain cases of family visits to the United States children may bear a different name to that of the adult or adults accompanying them. This is notably the case with children accompanying their divorced mother who has resumed her maiden name or children travelling with other members of the family such as their grandparents, or other people bearing a different last name.
In reality this does not really present a problem to obtaining an ESTA authorisation. However it is important to know that to travel to the USA, as with any visit abroad, children of less than 18 years of age must be accompanied by their parents or legal guardians. If this is not the case then parental authorisation must be presented for this travel. This authorisation should be in the form of an authorisation to leave the country signed by one or both of the parents or legal guardians who are not travelling with the child or children and this must also be accompanied by a copy of the passport or identity card of the parent or guardian concerned.
It is therefore important to complete and sign all necessary papers before even starting to plan your family visit to the United States. In this way you will ensure as much as possible that your travel preparations will proceed according to plan without wasting your valuable time or risking a refusal to board your plane for the United States or be refused entry onto American territory by the immigration authorities.