Questions That Was Added To ESTA Application In 2016


In February 2016, what new questions were added to the ESTA application?

The following questioned were added or modified to read:

  • Have you travelled to, or been present in, Iraq, Syria, Iran or Sudan on or after March 1, 2011?
  • Have you ever been issued a passport (or national identity card for travel) by any other country?
  • Are you now a citizen or national of any other country?
  • Have you ever been a citizen or national of any other country?

Depending on the answers given, ESTA applicants may be required to answer further questions to clarify their dual citizenship or their travel history to the countries in question.


In June 2016, what new questions were added to the ESTA application?

The following questions were either added or modified as part of the ESTA application:

  • Have you travelled to, or been present in, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen on or after March 1, 2011?
  • CBP Global Entry program number, if applicable.


In October 2016, what new question was added to the original ESTA application?

The following question was added to the ESTA application form and to Form I-94W Arrival/Departure Record Card:

  • Please enter information associated with your online presence – Provider/Platform- Social media identifier.

This question about social media was clearly marked as “optional” and is not compulsory. It is simply gleaning additional information. Failure to answer, either out of choice or because the applicant has no social media accounts, does not necessarily have a negative inference. However, any ESTA application may not necessarily be approved and could be denied for any number of reasons, including information found on social media.


How will U.S. Customs and Border Protection use any information collected about social media through these additional optional questions introduced in October 2016?

Any information found on social media regarding an ESTA applicant will be used as part of the ongoing security vetting process for potential visitors. The information can be used to support legitimate travel, to make a decision regarding VWP ineligibility waivers, or it may trigger further investigation as a potential threat. If you voluntarily answer these questions about your social media presence, or if a CBP officer feels a need for further in-depth information, a trained officer will have access to your social media platforms, depending upon the security settings you have selected. They may use this information along with other sources to perform their duties and maintain U.S. border security at all time.

For example, social media information may help corroborate the information provided on the traveller’s ESTA application. It may also be used to support answers about a person’s identity, occupation, and previous international travel. It may also reveal fraud, lies and deception entered on an ESTA application.

Social media is increasingly used to identify people who may be a threat to national security or it can be used to positively support legitimate applications. All social media information provided to the DHS will be treated in the same way as other compulsory information provided through the ESTA application process. To read more about the latest procedures in the ESTA System of Records Notice (SORN) and Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA), visit the official DHS website (www.dhs.gov/topic/privacy).