1. IS SINGAPORE INCLUDED IN THE VWP (VISA WAIVER PROGRAM)?
Singapore is included on the list of approved countries for the VWP, so its citizens are eligible to apply for the ESTA.
Today, 39 countries are on the list of approved countries, but the list is updated consistently and countries that are approved can change. To find out more information and see a current list of approved countries, click here.
2. ARE SINGAPOREANS ELIGIBLE TO VISIT THE USA USING THE ESTA?
Citizens of Singapore are eligible because Singapore is on the list of countries allowed to travel to the USA as part of the Visa Waiver Program.
Singaporeans who are travelling to the USA for 90 days or less, and who fulfil all other ESTA regulations, should apply for an ESTA instead of a Visa, unless they already have a Visa for travel to the USA.
The ESTA is not necessary, if you already have a valid visa for travel to the USA.
The ESTA and VWP is only for citizens of approved countries. Citizens of countries not approved for ESTA must use a visa for travel to the USA.
3. HOW LONG DOES THE ESTA APPROVAL PROCESS TAKE, AND HOW SOON BEFORE TRAVEL SHOULD I APPLY?
The official answer is that you should apply for the ESTA 72 hours before travel. However, you may apply any time before you leave.
It is wise to apply for the ESTA before you buy any plane tickets or make any non-refundable reservations.
The USA ESTA application for Singapore citizens is processed quickly for most who apply and you may get an approval right away.
4. WHEN AND WHY WOULD I NEED A VISA INSTEAD OF THE ESTA?
The ESTA is for Singaporeans who are travelling by airplane or ship, who plan to stay less than 90 days, and who do not have a valid Visa.
Singaporeans need a Visa for the USA and not an ESTA if:
- They plan a trip that is more than 90 days.
- They have dual citizenship in Singapore with Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria or North Korea.
- They don’t have a current Electronic Passport (e-passport) with digital photo and chip.
- They have travelled to Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Somalia, Libya, Yemen or North Korea since March 1st 2011 (government and military exceptions may apply).
- They are convicted of a crime of moral turpitude.
- They contract a disease that is contagious.
- They are driving into the United States from Canada or Mexico – land border crossings are done with an I-94w form instead.
5. WHAT SHOULD SINGAPOREANS KNOW ABOUT THE ESTA AND PASSPORTS?
Citizens of Singapore should be aware of two passport requirements for ESTA approval:
- ESTA approval lasts for a period of two years. However, if your passport expires before the two year ESTA period, the ESTA will expire when the passport expires.
- Singaporeans must hold a valid, current, e-passport, which includes a readable chip with biometric data, and a digital photo, printed directly on the passport. If they do not have an e-passport, they must first get one before applying for ESTA.
6. AM I ABLE TO CHANGE OR UPDATE MY ESTA APPLICATION?
The ESTA application is very specific with regard to what data can and cannot be changed. Travel plans, dates, airlines and hotel data can be changed or updated. Personal data may not be changed.
A new ESTA application is needed if:
- You get a new passport
- You update or change your name, gender assignment or country of citizenship