ESTA payment procedure after application

The ESTA is an electronic travel authorisation for the USA that requires the payment of a mandatory fee after application. It is designed to allow you to travel to the USA without a visa and for tourism or business purposes with an online procedure that only takes a few minutes of your time. But how do you pay for the ESTA and is it possible to pay later? We will answer these questions here in detail.

Apply for an ESTA online
How to pay the ESTA fee?

Online payment of the ESTA and the different means of payment accepted:

The ESTA application procedure is an administrative procedure that will require the payment of certain fees. The easiest way to pay the required fees is of course by credit card, as the sites offering this service are equipped with a secure server for this type of payment.

The bank card also allows for immediate payment of the requested fees and thus speeds up the application procedure and the obtaining of your ESTA. It is also possible to use other types of electronic wallets and digital payment methods such as PayPal or e-cards on certain sites.

Other sites also allow you to pay for the ESTA by bank transfer or cheque, but this is very rare as it increases the risk of the procedure being abandoned. Remember that you have 7 days from the date of validation of the form to pay these fees. By the time the transfer is made or your cheque is received, this period may have passed.

Paying for your ESTA: Key points

  • Payment for the ESTA must be made immediately when you apply online
  • Payment of the ESTA is essential for the application to be processed by the US authorities
  • It is not possible to pay for the ESTA at a later date or in instalments
  • The most commonly accepted methods of payment for the ESTA are credit card and bank transfer.

Apply for an ESTA online

Can I pay for my ESTA later?

As mentioned above, it is not possible to pay for an ESTA once it has been obtained and payment of the required fee is necessary to process each application.

Once your application has been completed and validated, you will need to pay the fee immediately so that your application can be checked and forwarded to the US authorities in charge of its review.

The official US government website also states that it is possible to pay for the ESTA up to 7 days after the application. After this time, the data on the form will not be retained and you will have to start the procedure from the beginning.


Why is it mandatory to pay for ESTA?

It is true that a few years ago, the ESTA application procedure was free. But since 2010, it has become a fee-based process, even though it is issued 100% electronically. These fees are necessary to pay the immigration staff and the service provider who checks and transmits your application to the authorities.

Part of the prize money is also used to improve security at US airports.


How do I get to the ESTA payment page?

Of course, in order to pay the fees for your ESTA application, you must first follow the standard online application procedure. To apply for this authorisation, start by visiting the official website or a website offering the form, such as the one we present on this page.

These platforms allow you to fill in the form with your identity information, your date and place of birth, your address and a valid email address.

You will also be asked to provide your passport number and its date of issue and expiry. Finally, you will have to answer a series of closed questions concerning both your health and your legal situation.

You will then be asked to check the information you have entered and change it if necessary. Once you are sure that you have answered all the items correctly, you can submit the form and be redirected to the payment page.

Apply for an ESTA online

What is the procedure for paying for the ESTA online?

On the website of the chosen service provider, after clicking on the ESTA validation button, you will automatically be taken to the payment page. You will be asked to fill in :

  • Your preferred payment method
  • The corresponding bank details (credit card number, IBAN or PayPal).
  • Finally, you will also be asked to choose the currency in which you wish to pay these fees.
  • Here you will need to follow the information on the screen to finalise the payment and authorise the transaction. Depending on the method you choose, you will be redirected to your bank's website in order to proceed with your reinforced authentication in order to secure your payment.

Of course, if you have any questions about the security of this transaction, you should know that the banking data you enter on these pages will be encrypted. However, make sure that the page on which you will enter them has a URL that begins with "https". In this way, this information cannot be stored or retrieved by a third party and you are not taking any risks. Whether it is the US immigration service or a service provider like the one we recommend, both use a highly secure server.


How long does it take after payment to receive the ESTA?

First of all, to avoid wasting time waiting for a reply in vain, always check that the fee has been debited from your account or e-wallet. If this is not the case within 24 hours of the request, it means that the payment has not been successful. In this case, after contacting your bank to check the cause of the problem, you will have to make a complete new request, starting from the beginning and making a new payment.

Normally, an email will also be sent to you after payment of the fee to confirm that your application has been processed. Later, and within a maximum of 72 hours, another email will be sent to you, this time indicating the status of your ESTA. In most cases, you will be able to see that your application has been approved and will find your ESTA attached. However, you do not have to print it out as it will be automatically and electronically attached to your passport. For security reasons, you may choose to keep a paper version of this document with you during your trip.


When should I pay the ESTA fee?

The ESTA application and payment should be made some time before your departure in order to give yourself the best chance of a successful trip.

In fact, the ESTA application only takes a few minutes and, if accepted, you will receive your certificate less than 3 days after the application and payment. However, in some cases, this timeframe may be a little longer.

For example, what if your payment is refused by your bank or you make a mistake when filling in the form? In this case, your application will not be processed or will be refused, which will force you to start the procedure again.

Apply for an ESTA online

As a web writer and globetrotter with a passion for travel and tourism, I have acquired in-depth knowledge of the procedures that are essential for travellers. I help travellers to complete all the formalities required for a successful trip, particularly when it comes to obtaining a visa online. With several years' experience in this field, I'd like to offer you some valuable advice to help you discover the world with complete peace of mind.


Frequently asked questions

In which currency can I pay for my ESTA authorisation?

Payment for the ESTA should normally be made in US dollars as this is the currency in which the fee is collected by the US government. In reality, however, if you use a quality service provider, you can pay these fees in euros or any other currency of your choice. Of course, exchange fees may apply.

Can I get my money back if my ESTA is refused?

Only some quality sites such as the one we recommend offer a refund of the fees you have paid in the event that your ESTA is refused. This refund is made automatically and without any intervention or request from you. The amount paid will be automatically transferred to the account you paid with.

Can I pay for my ESTA in cash?

Some sites offering access to the ESTA application form allow cash payments, but this is rare and strongly discouraged. In fact, to pay your ESTA fees in cash, you will have to go to the site to make a cash transfer and wait for the money to be cashed by the service provider before your application is sent for review. This will greatly delay your application and presents a security risk.