The Essential Guide to USA Visa and ESTA Application for Swiss Citizens

Traveling to the United States from Switzerland encapsulates an exciting journey of experiencing the melting pot of cultures, breathtaking landscapes, and endless opportunities for both leisure and business travelers. The US entices with its diverse attractions, ranging from the bustling streets of New York City to the serene beaches of California, and the majestic Grand Canyon to the technological hub of Silicon Valley. However, for Swiss citizens, the convenience of this travel hinges on correctly completing the visa or ESTA application form. It’s essential to navigate through this process without errors to ensure a smooth entry into the United States.

Understanding the ESTA Application for Swiss Nationals

Before we delve into the common mistakes, let’s understand what ESTA is. The Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) is a streamlined travel authorization for the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) countries, which allows citizens from these countries, including Switzerland, to enter the United States for up to 90 days without a visa for tourism, certain types of business visits, or transit. To maintain eligibility under this program, Swiss nationals must ensure that their application form is accurately filled out and submitted.

Common Mistakes Made by Swiss Applicants on US Visa and ESTA Applications

1. Incorrect Information on the Application

One of the most common issues faced by Swiss nationals is entering incorrect information on their applications. This could be a result of typos, outdated information, or simply misunderstood questions. Ensure that all the details, including personal information, passport details, and answers to eligibility questions, reflect your current situation and are exactly as they appear on your passport.

2. Passport Validity Misunderstanding

Swiss passports must be valid for at least six months beyond the planned date of entry into the U.S. Some applicants wrongly assume that passport expiry dates align with travel authorization expiry dates. It’s important to check the passport validity before starting your ESTA application.

3. Overlooking the Need for Updated Information

If your personal circumstances change after receiving an ESTA, such as a new passport or changed marital status, you will need to apply for a new authorization. Not updating this information can lead to issues at the point of entry.

4. Waiting Until the Last Minute

ESTA applications typically take 72 hours to process, but last-minute applications can be risky. Delays or additional scrutiny could mean that your travel plans are disrupted. It’s advisable to apply for your ESTA well in advance.

5. Not Checking the Eligibility for the VWP

Swiss citizens are generally eligible for the VWP, but personal circumstances may affect this eligibility. Ensure you review the VWP requirements, which can be found in our article on VWP Countries, to avoid unsuccessful applications.

Steps to Apply for an ESTA as a Swiss National

Following these steps can minimize the chance of errors:

  1. Fill out our easy-to-use online application form. The application takes about 10 minutes. Make sure to have your passport handy.
  2. Submit & Pay for your application. We accept all payment types. PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay & Credit Card.
  3. 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!

If you need your ESTA in a hurry, you can choose from our two expedited processing options. Simply select your add-on at checkout.

FAQs for Swiss ESTA Applicants

Q1: How long is my ESTA valid for?
A1: An ESTA is valid for two years from the date of authorization, or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.

Q2: Can I extend my stay in the US under the ESTA?
A2: No, the ESTA does not allow you to extend your stay beyond the approved 90 days per visit.

Q3: What if I travel to the US frequently?
A3: As long as your ESTA is valid, you can enter the US multiple times for short stays of up to 90 days each visit.

Q4: Can I rectify a mistake on my ESTA application after submission?
A4: Some errors may require you to submit a new application. However, non-critical mistakes can sometimes be corrected by customer service.

Q5: I have a new Swiss passport; do I need a new ESTA?
A5: Yes, obtaining a new passport invalidates your current ESTA, and you will need to reapply.


For Swiss travelers, the path to a successful US trip starts with a flawless visa or ESTA application. To avoid common mistakes, approach the application process with attention to detail, ensuring accuracy and completeness. Remember that being proactive and applying early will facilitate a smooth journey, keeping your focus on the anticipation of exploring the vast and varied landscape of the United States.

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