If you are traveling to the United States with children, you must apply for an ESTA for them. Learn about the ESTA requirements for children, how to apply, and what to look out for when traveling to the USA with a minor visa-free.
For each child that is supposed to travel with you to the USA, you must submit an ESTA application. ESTA travelers, however, have to meet certain requirements, and children are included in these strict rules.
There are no different ESTA rules for children compared to adults. The requirements are the same for applicants of all ages:
Other ESTA requirements that rarely apply to children but are still worth mentioning:
To travel to the United States with ESTA, your child must have an electronic passport (e-Passport). An ESTA will not be issued to children who are added to their parent's passports or only have child's passports.
Your child's e-Passport must have a specific validity period upon entry into the United States, based on the country of issue of the passport:
If you are traveling to the USA with minors, in addition to the ESTA, you must also carry a declaration of consent to travel signed by all legal guardians for each child. You should also be able to provide birth and custody certificates, copies of each parent's ID, and the child's signature (if possible) on a consent form.
The fee for an ESTA approval costs between $ 21 (for the standard ESTA) and an average of € 50 (for an extra-secure ESTA with additional guarantees), regardless of the age of the traveler.
That is, ESTA fees only vary depending on the scope of the services but not depending on the characteristics of the traveler.
Unfortunately, there is no discount for ESTA group applications — not even for families with children. The full ESTA fee must be paid for each individual traveler in an ESTA travel group. However, the ESTA group application for families can make travel preparations with children much easier and more straightforward.
Adding children to your ESTA application works on the same principle as the ESTA group application:
Using your group ID, you can return to the application and continue working on it for seven days if you are missing any data in between.
To submit an ESTA group application, the following information is required from each of your children:
When asked about email addresses and telephone numbers, you can enter your own contact details for all children. Instead of an employer, write “student” or “child.” The information on social media profiles is voluntary in the ESTA form but makes the work easier for the authorities and is therefore generally recommended.
Double-check all the information before submitting your ESTA group application. Changes to your data and answers are only possible to a limited extent after you have sent them. The ESTA authorizations for you and your children will be sent to your email address after a maximum of 72 hours (but usually after a few minutes).
When traveling to the United States with children, in addition to the ESTA for yourself and any children traveling with you, you must be able to provide evidence that you are legally traveling with minors.
The US authorities are particularly attentive here because of child abduction and human trafficking cases. Therefore, have all documentary evidence (such as powers of attorney and deeds) ready to show the officers. Remain calm during questioning by US border guards.
Security checks at the airport can be challenging for children as they have to hand out cuddly toys and be inspected by customs and border guards. Therefore, prepare your children well for this important moment of your trip.
Do you have further questions about the ESTA travel authorization for children? Then you will surely find what you are looking for in our FAQ:
Once you have included your child in your ESTA application and obtained all approvals, your child can travel to the United States with you. A separate ESTA application for your child is also possible. As a rule, however, the group application is easier since, in this case, the ESTA costs can be paid altogether. It is important to note that children traveling to the US with ESTA will need their own biometric passport (e-passport). Children registered in the parents' passport or who only have a child's passport cannot travel to the USA with ESTA but need a US visa from the embassy or consulate.
There are no age limits for an ESTA application. Any person wishing to travel to the United States visa-free needs ESTA approval.
If you are traveling to the USA with several children, you can obtain travel authorization for up to 50 people (i.e., yourself and 49 children) with an ESTA group application. Should you wish to travel with more children, a second adult would need to submit another ESTA group application.
If you have a baby while you are in the US, you do not need to apply for an ESTA, as the baby automatically acquires US citizenship. However, you must apply for a passport for your baby to travel with your child out of the United States.
If you are traveling to the US with minor children, in addition to the ESTA, you should carry a consent form signed by all legal guardians for each child. It is also advisable to have birth certificates, custody certificates, copies of all guardians' identification documents, and (if possible) the child's signature on the consent form.
ESTA fees are the same for travelers of all ages. They range from $ 21 for a standard ESTA with no additional safeguards to an average of $ 50 for an ESTA authorization with customer service, additional safeguards, and guarantees, such as those from trusted ESTA agencies like esta-application.com.
There is no specific age limit for children traveling under ESTA. As long as they meet the general ESTA requirements, you can apply for an ESTA for children of any age.
Yes, grandparents or other relatives can apply for an ESTA on behalf of a child. They simply need to have the information required for the ESTA application and the consent of the child's legal guardian.
Yes, children with dual citizenship must declare both on the ESTA application. It is important to provide accurate and complete information about the child's citizenship.
Children traveling to the US on an ESTA are subject to the same health requirements as adult travelers: they must not have a communicable disease that poses an immediate threat to public health.
Yes, it is possible for a child's ESTA application to be denied even if the parent's application is approved. Each ESTA application is reviewed independently, and approval or denial depends on the individual circumstances. If your ESTA is denied, you will need to apply for a visa for your child to travel with you to the US.
Although it is not necessary to carry printed ESTA authorization documents, we recommend that you have them on hand in case they are requested by airline personnel or US immigration officials during your trip.
If a child traveling with an ESTA stays in the US for more than 90 days at a time, he or she will "overstay," just like an adult traveler. This can result in legal consequences, difficulties with future travel, and possible visa suspension. It is important to comply with the maximum length of stay and applicable US immigration regulations.
Yes, you can bring baby food and formula into the United States. However, it is important to check current Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and US import regulations, as they can change daily.
The TSA has specific quantity limits for liquids in carry-on baggage. However, baby food is an exception, and you can carry reasonable amounts for the duration of your trip. At the airport security checkpoint, you may be asked to remove baby food from your carry-on bag and present it separately for inspection.
The US government reserves the right to change regulations and fees on the fly without notice. Therefore, find out whether there are any changes before a trip to the USA (e.g., on the website of the US Customs and Border Protection, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or the US Department of Homeland Security).