Changes to the US visa Waiver Program (ESTA)


As of the 21st of January changes have been made that may affect Australians wishing to visit the US on the ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisations) visa waiver program. Everyone who has visited Iran, Iraq, Syria or Sudan after the 1st of March 2011 and everyone who is a dual national of these countries are no longer allowed to enter the US on an ESTA, and any current ESTA visas held by those affected will be revoked. These changes, under the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention act 2015, will require any applicants who are now ineligible for an ESTA to apply for a Non-Immigrant visa with a US embassy or consulate. This can take up to 3 months to process.

Some exception may be made to diplomats and those who traveled as a part of the military.

For everyone else, a new, more detailed ESTA questionnaire will be implemented from the 16th of February to include the above changes.

Many people who will be affected by the above changes are those who have travelled to Iran. Many tour companies still offer tours through Iran and now if you elect to travel or have travelled on these tours you will now have extra measures to secure visas to the US.


For more information please visit your local travel agent, or your closest US embassy.