Heads up Aussie travellers, you don’t want to leave your US ESTA application to last minute because the government has just ended instant approvals.

You’ll want to get your application in a little earlier if you have an upcoming trip to the US planned, as the Department of Homeland Security has stopped immediate approvals through the Electronic System.

The US ESTA is an alternative to visas and is available to travellers from a number of countries, including Australia.


As part of the change, Aussies will need to apply for the ESTA at least three days prior to travel in order to receive approval. Previously, Aussies could do it at anytime, even minutes before checking in for their flight.

In an online statement, the Department of Homeland Security confirmed that “real-time approvals” would no longer be available.

“Apply for ESTA no later than 72 hours before departing for the United States. Real-time approvals will no longer be available and arriving at the airport without a previously approved ESTA will likely result in being denied boarding.”

Department of Homeland Security

The ESTA is available to most travellers, except those holding dual-citizenship or have recently visited countries on the Trump-enforced travel ban. These countries are: Iran, Libya, North Korea, Syria, Venezuela, Yemen, and Somalia.


Are you planning a trip to the US?