This program allows citizens of certain countries to enter the United States for upto 90 days without the need for a visa. See hier which countries are participating on this program.
Apply here for your ESTA travel permission.
You are going to need a visa if your passport doesn't meet the requirements or if you're a citizen of a non-listed Visa Waiver Program country. Please get information about the application procedure at the embassy of the United States of America in your country.
Travalers who wish to enter the USA within the scope of the Visa Waiver Program are required to apply for an electronic travel authorization. We recommend to apply for ESTA at least 72 hours before departure. It is also recommended to print out the authorization and keep it on you whilst travelling.
Without valid ESTA authorization at the time of check-in, the airline is required to deny you the transport into the US.
The ESTA is valid upto two years, unless it was revoked or your passport has expired. You are allowed to re-use the same authorization for multiple entries to the US. You just need to keep your information concerning destination address, travel route and future travel plans up to date on the ESTA website.
Your passport must meet the following requirements, depending on the date of issue:
Further information is available here.
APIS regulates information flow of passengers entering the Unites States: On the day of departure, airlines transmit the data collected to the Department of Homeland Security. To avoid inconveniences on the destination airport, you need to fill out the APIS form correctly.
Before entering the USA you'll need to fill out several forms in flight:
White form (I-94)
US authorities require for foreign tourists with visas to fill in information like personal data, entry and departure data and details of the visa. Please fill out the card on both sides in block letters and do not forget your signature.
Please note as well: In the US, a «7» is written without bar and a «1» is written as vertical line.
Blue form (6059B)
The customs form is to be completed by every passenger (independent of visa requirement). You need to fill in personal data on the front and declare dutiable goods on the back.