Traveling to the USA from Portugal: ESTA Visa Application Guide for Portuguese Nationals

Planning a trip to the United States is an exciting prospect, brimming with the potential for unforgettable experiences. The US is a country where every kind of traveler can find something awe-inspiring. Portuguese citizens, like many international travelers, are drawn to the diverse landscape, storied cities, and rich cultural tapestry that America offers. From the neon-lit boulevards of Las Vegas to the historic streets of Boston, from the lofty peaks of the Rockies to the sun-soaked beaches of California, the US is a place that promises adventure and discovery.

For Portuguese travelers, a critical step in the journey is ensuring they have the right travel authorization in place. This is where the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) becomes significant. Portugal is one of the VWP countries, which allows its citizens to visit the US for tourism, business, or transit purposes without a visa for up to 90 days. Instead of a traditional visa, Portuguese nationals can obtain an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA).

What is an ESTA?

An ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization. It’s not a visa in the traditional sense but a travel authorization that simplifies the process of traveling to the United States for citizens from VWP countries. It’s a required travel document that electronically links to your passport and allows you to board a plane or a ship bound for the United States. It is essential to understand that an ESTA is only appropriate for short visits of 90 days or less for tourism, business, or transit purposes.

How Can Portuguese Citizens Apply for an ESTA?

The process of obtaining an ESTA is straightforward and fully online. Here’s how you can get your travel authorization:

  • Fill out our easy-to-use online application form. The application takes about 10 minutes. Make sure to have your passport handy.
  • Submit & Pay for your application. We accept all payment types. PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay & Credit Card.
  • Get your ESTA emailed to you within 72hrs. We’ll email you your approved travel authorization, and that’s it. You’re ready to go!

For those who need their ESTA sooner rather than later, expedited processing options are available. Simply select your add-on at checkout, and you will receive your travel authorization even faster.

For details on specific eligibility criteria for an ESTA or to begin your application, visit our application form page.

Benefits of Applying for an ESTA as a Portuguese Citizen

  • Convenience: The ESTA application process is entirely online, quick, and user-friendly, which means you can apply from the comfort of your home.
  • Speed: You will usually receive a response on your application within 72 hours.
  • Duration: An approved ESTA is valid for two years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first, and it allows for multiple entries into the US during that period.

Important Information for ESTA Applicants

When applying for an ESTA, there are a few key points that Portuguese citizens need to keep in mind:

  • An ESTA is required even for short stays, transits, and connections through the US.
  • Your passport must be an electronic e-passport with a digital chip containing biometric information. It should also have the digital photograph printed on the data page; otherwise, you may need to apply for a visa instead.
  • The ESTA is for tourism, business, or transit only. If you plan to work, study, or stay more than 90 days, you must obtain the corresponding visa for your travel purpose.
  • Always apply for your ESTA well in advance of travel to ensure you receive it in time. It is recommended to apply at least 72 hours prior to departure.
  • If your ESTA application is denied, you’ll have to apply for a traditional US visa instead.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How Long Can Portuguese Citizens Stay in the US with an ESTA?

With an ESTA, Portuguese citizens can stay in the US for up to 90 days per visit. Remember that the ESTA grants you multiple entries for two years, allowing you to visit the US more than once without reapplying, as long as your passport remains valid.

Can I Extend My Stay Beyond 90 Days With an ESTA?

No, you cannot extend your stay beyond 90 days with an ESTA. If you wish to remain in the US longer, you must apply for a different type of visa that supports longer stays.

What If My Passport Expires Soon?

If your passport will expire within the next six months, it is recommended to renew it before applying for an ESTA. Keep in mind that if your passport expires, so does your ESTA, regardless of its two-year validity period.

Can I Work in the US with an ESTA?

An ESTA does not permit you to work in the United States. It is strictly for tourism, business, or transit visits. If you aim to find employment, a worker visa will be necessary.


Traveling to the US as a Portuguese citizen is easier than ever with the ESTA. By utilizing the ESTA system, you eliminate the need for complicated visa processes and enjoy a more straightforward entry into the United States. Apply today to ensure your travel plans are secure, and you can look forward to experiencing the beauty and excitement of the US without any hitches.

Safe travels, and we look forward to assisting you on your journey to the United States!

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