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Travel Authorization for Family Members

Electronic System Travel Authorization (ESTA) is an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). This program permits citizens of 38 countries to travel to the United States for business or tourism for stays of up to 90 days.  Interested applicant can submits their application online at: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/. The website has a feature that allows eligible applicants to submit multiple applications at the same time.

Therefore, one person can apply for the family travel authorization for the whole family, provided they have all the necessary information. This includes, for example, the personal data of each traveler (date of birth, address …) as well as the numbers of all passports.

Why ask for family group application?

The big advantage of the Family group application is the fact that the dossier is much easier to manage since only one person manages the applications. Of course, it is always possible for all travelers to make a separate application.

Parents can therefore apply for their minor children, as well as other adults and thus make sure that on the day of departure the travel authorization is approved for all family members. If you submit the applications for the whole family at the same time, you will also receive the answer for all dossiers at the same time within the 72-hour processing period.

How does the acceptance or rejection of a group application proceed?

As soon as the appropriate US authorities have checked all the details of the group application, they send an e-mail to the person responsible for the application. The deadline for processing is the same as for an individual application, ie: a maximum of 72 hours.

Each traveler receives their own permission or refusal to enter the United States. If the application is denied for one of the travelers, they have the option to renew their Family Visa application after a waiting period of 10 days or to apply for a standard tourist visa in a United States embassy.

The rejection of one of these grouped applications will not affect the travel authorization of the other participants in the group. this travel authorization has  a legal validity period of two years.

How to change or renew the travel authorization for the family?

You would like to change your Family group application before the end of the processing period, for example, to supplement an additional traveler, to change an entry in the form or to confirm the information entered for a later trip? You have access to your dossier on the website where you submitted your application or on the official Family Visa website. However, you will need the number of the dossier you received by e-mail or, alternatively, the following information:

  • Identification name of the group
  • Name and first name of the contact person
  • Date of birth of the contact person
  • E-mail address of the contact person

Can family members also use the family travel permit individually?

If you have submitted an application for the family or for several members of the family, then you may be wondering if the family members can also use that approval individually. As the travel authorization is valid for a period of two years from the date of issue, individuals who have received the travel authorization in a group application may wish to use it for another trip to the US and travel alone.

Definitely, a person can travel individually. Even if the travel authorization application was submitted for several persons at the same time, the travel permit will be issued individually. Each family member has his / her own permission, which is linked to the respective passport. Therefore, it is also possible that the request of one or more family members will be denied while the rest of the family receives a permit.

Due to the fact that the travel permit is granted individually as part of a group application; each traveler can use it as they wish. It is therefore quite conceivable that a family member may undertake one or more trips, stops or transit visits to the United States with the Family travel permit granted as part of a group application, whether alone or accompanied by other persons. Of course, the above requires that the conditions prescribed for the travel authorization system are met, that the stay on US territory does not exceed 90 days and that no other important circumstance necessitates the revocation of the Family Visa.

A member of your family whose personal details, address or passport number have not changed and whose legal situation has also remained unchanged may therefore travel alone to the United States during the period of validity of this authorization. However, if, as mentioned above, major changes have occurred, the traveler must submit a new application for its approval since all the personal information must be consistent with his/her current situation. In some cases, specific information may be changed without having to go through the entire online application again.

Is it possible to apply for a non-family group?

As we already mentioned, it is possible to apply for family travel application with the family when traveling to the United States. This feature is also available for friends that are planning to travel together. In this case, however, it is a prerequisite that the person making the group application has all the information needed to complete the form. Ideally, the application should be made in the presence of all concerned travelers, who should not forget to have their passport number on hand.

If you fill out the application form in the website, you do not need to specify any family relationships. The only requirement is to be able to answer all the questions asked. However, an exceptional case exists in the case of underage children: for these, the application must necessarily be made by a parent or a legal guardian in order to be admitted. In that case, the adult responsible for the child is responsible for the truthfulness of the information provided in the Family Visa application.

What are the benefits of family visa group application for the family?

If you organize a trip with the family, you often need a lot of time and sense for the practical, in order not to forget anything and to avoid unforeseen incidents. Posting family visa group application for a family trip to the United States is a good thing, with some irrefutable benefits:

  • Firstly, only one person is responsible for the application. In this way, one avoids that individual family members may forget this formality and then be blocked at the airport because they are not allowed to board the aircraft.
  • All family members receive their travel authorization at the same time. All family permits are therefore valid until the same time and can therefore be used for future family trips during the validity period.
  • Last but not least, this way you can divide your travel arrangements by entrusting this administrative process to a single person. Other travelers can then take care of other tasks, such as baggage handling or sightseeing and on-site activities.

Thus, travel authorization applications are ultimately practical and ideal if a family wants to travel to the United States together. Remember to check the validity of the passports of all family members in good time before departure to be sure that travel authorizations are available to all travelers at the start of the trip.

Help and support for the travel authorization application process

We have approved immigration consultants who are happy to help and advise you. We as partners at your side will accompany you through the entire application process. We begin the path into your new life with a detailed consultation, tailored to your situation. We’ll tell you honestly if you qualify for a visa or not. With thorough and comprehensive advice, you can be sure you are not investing money for a dream that may not be an option for you.

Our team of skill immigration attorneys can assure this process is completed correctly with a minimum of hassle.  When it comes to filing immigration papers it is well worth the expense to assure the process is administered correctly from the start.

We recommend that you contact our team of immigration experts for further information and assistance.