New data fields added to the US Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) application form require applicants to list all citizenships and how they were acquired. The additions are intended to improve the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) ability to identify threats to the US as a result of increasing terrorist activity in recent years, the DHS says.
According to the DHS, the ESTA enhancements will improve the Department’s ability to screen prospective Visa Waiver Program (VWP) travelers, and more accurately and effectively identify those who pose a security risk. The DHS states these enhancements to the ESTA application will put the Department in a better position to verify the identities of the applicants, and limit the number of rejections that result in applications having to go through the full visa process.
ESTA is an automated system used to determine whether certain travelers are eligible to travel to the US under the VWP. The ESTA application collects biographic information and answers to VWP eligibility questions. ESTA applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel, though it is recommended that travelers apply as soon as they begin preparing travel plans or prior to purchasing airline tickets.
The DHS states, “The ESTA enhancements are designed to address the immediate foreign fighter threat and to provide an additional layer of enduring security for the VWP and facilitate visa free travel to the United States.”
Among listing all other citizenships, applicants are also required to list their parents’ names, city of birth, national identification number, contact information, and employment information.