|Traveling to the United States?
|There are two ways to enter the
United States as a visitor,
either with a formal United States tourist visa (officially
called a B-2 visa) or through the Visa Waiver
Program. Travelers entering the United States
under the Visa Waiver Program are required to
apply online for a "Travel Authorization" (eVisa)
under the "Electronic
System for Travel Authorization", officially
Important News for Swiss Citizens:
Citizens of the 38 Visa Waiver Countries may
travel to the United States without a visa, but
are required to apply for ESTA.
Switzerland is one of the 38 countries.
Swiss citizens are encouraged to read this page
for more information on how to apply.
What is the Visa Waiver Program?
The visa waiver program is a U.S. government
program that enables citizens from 38 countries
to enter the United States for tourism, transit
or business purposes for up to 90 days without
obtaining a visa. The advantage of entering the
United States under the Visa Waiver Program is
that you can travel to the United States on
short notice without obtaining a visa.
What is ESTA?
ESTA is the official abbreviation for
"Electronic System for Travel Authorization".
ESTA is an online application system developed
by the United States government to pre-screen
travelers before they are allowed to board an
airplane or ship bound for the United States.
Who needs to apply for ESTA?
Any person who wants to enter the United States
(by air or sea) under the visa waiver program
must apply for
ESTA, including Swiss citizens.
What countries are included the visa waiver
The following 38 countries are part of the visa
waiver program: Andorra, Australia, Austria,
Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark,
Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary,
Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia,
Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta,
Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway,
Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia,
Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden,
Switzerland, Taiwan, United
There are several other eligibility
- The traveler must hold a machine readable
- The traveler must not have a criminal record
in any country
- The traveler is only allowed to say in the USA
for up to 90 days
- Extensions of stay are not allowed once you
enter the United States
How long is an approved ESTA valid for?
An approved ESTA is normally valid for 2 years
from the date of issuance. However, the traveler
is allowed to stay for up to 90 days in the
United States on each visit.
This page is available in English, German, French and Italian for your
How to Submit Your ESTA Application:
IMPORTANT LEGAL DISCLAIMER:
This website is not affiliated with the United States government. ESTA-Schweiz.ch is operated by a private company. ESTA-Schweiz.ch provides information about United States visas and
the Electronic System for Travel Authorization. We also provide links to a third-party website which provides ESTA assistance and submission services. You are not required to apply at a private website. You can submit your ESTA application directly at the official United States government website. Please read our “Impressum” page for more information.
How to Apply for ESTA:
1. Make sure that you meet the eligibility
2. Decide if you wish to hire a private company or apply at the government
website yourself without any assistance.
3. Submit your application online.
4. Receive the result of your application.
5. After receiving an approved ESTA you may travel to the United States at any
How long does it take to apply for ESTA?
The ESTA online application form takes between 5 and 10 minutes to complete.
Upon submitting your application, you will know within seconds if you are
pre-approved to travel to the United States. Any person who is denied, must
apply for a United States visitor visa, such as a B-1 Business or a B-2 Tourist
What is the fee to apply for ESTA?
The official United States government website charges US$14 dollars per
traveler, for example, a family of 4 must pay the fee 4 times. The main
disadvantage of applying at the United States government website is that you
will not receive any special assistance in case of
questions or errors.
The Advantages of Using a Private ESTA Assistance Service:
There are several private companies which provide a
comprehensive eligibility and assistance service, including customer services in
multiple language (including English, German, French and Italian). These private
companies charge between US$ 84 and US$150 for this service.
website we recommend charges US$84 for each application review and
submission, which includes the mandatory fee of US$14 charged by the United
What to do in case of denied ESTA Application:
The main reason why Switzerland is part of the exclusive group of Visa Waiver
Countries is because a very small percentage of applicants are denied a B-2 visa
(regular tourist visa). The same applies for
ESTA, only a very small percentage of Swiss applicants are denied ESTA
applications. In the unlikely event that your application is denied, you should contact the nearest United States embassy or
consular for more information.