ESTA for children

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.


Die offizielle Einreisegenehmigung für die USA!

ESTA requirements for children

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.

ESTA for children vs. ESTA for adults — what's the difference?

There are no different ESTA rules for children compared to adults. The requirements are the same for applicants of all ages:

  • Having a valid passport from a country eligible for the Visa Waiver Program
  • Entering the USA only for tourist (or for adults, also business) purposes, medical treatment, or transit
  • Wanting to stay in the US for no more than 90 days at a time
  • Not having contagious diseases that would make the child an immediate public health hazard
  • No prior entries into countries classified as risky such as Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Syria
  • No dual citizenship in Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, North Korea, or Syria

Other ESTA requirements that rarely apply to children but are still worth mentioning:

  • ESTA travelers must not have a criminal record.
  • ESTA travelers must not have violated US immigration law in the past or have been deported from the US.
  • ESTA applicants must never have had an ESTA authorization refused.

ESTA USA: travel documents for children

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:

  • Travelers from the more than 90 countries that are part of the "Six Month Club” (e.g., all EU countries) need a passport that is valid until the last day of their stay in the USA.
  • Travelers from all other countries require a passport validity that extends six months beyond the planned departure from the USA.

Other travel documents for children

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.

How much does ESTA for children cost?

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.

Is there an ESTA discount for families?

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.

Apply for an ESTA for children

Adding children to your ESTA application works on the same principle as the ESTA group application:

  1. Create an ESTA account for yourself and verify your email address.
  2. Enter the total number of travelers (e.g., one adult and two children = 3 people).
  3. Fill out your own ESTA application.
  4. Click the “Add Applicant” button.
  5. Start entering the data for your children.

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.

ESTA for children: required data

To submit an ESTA group application, the following information is required from each of your children:

  • Name(s)
  • Dates of birth
  • Gender
  • Nationality
  • Passport details
  • National Identification Number (if available)
  • ID card serial number (in case the national identity number is not available but is requested anyway)
  • Information on the planned trip, including the first overnight address in the USA and the respective contact details

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).

Entering the USA with children

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.

ESTA for children FAQ

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:

Does a child have to apply for their own ESTA, or can they travel with their parents' application?

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.

How old does a child have to get their own ESTA?

There are no age limits for an ESTA application. Any person wishing to travel to the United States visa-free needs ESTA approval.

How many children are allowed on an ESTA application?

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.

What happens if I give birth while staying in the US? Do I have to apply for an ESTA?

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.

Are additional travel documents required for children?

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.

Is ESTA less expensive for children?

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

Are there any age restrictions for children traveling under the Visa Waiver Program?

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.

Can grandparents or other relatives apply for an ESTA for a child?

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.

Do children with dual citizenship need to declare both on the ESTA application?

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.

Are there any additional health requirements for children traveling on an ESTA?

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.

Can a child's ESTA application be denied if the parent's application is approved?

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.

Is it necessary to bring printed ESTA authorization documents for children?

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.

What happens if a child overstays the 90-day Visa Waiver Program period?

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.

Can I bring baby food into the US?

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).