Travel to the United States

When you fly to the United States, special rules apply. If you are not required to have a visa, you will need an ESTA travel authorisation. Also, airlines are required to collect personal details from passengers.

Baggage to/from the United States

  • No printer or toner cartridges weighing 453 grams or more may be taken in your baggage on board flights to the United States. This applies to both hand baggage and check-in baggage.
  • Due to the need to inspect baggage for explosives, you are not permitted to lock your hold baggage unless with a TSA approved lock. You can buy these locks at many suitcase stores.

When booking your flight

The ‘Secure Flight policy’ of the United States government requires airlines to register some personal data at the moment of booking your flight. This ‘Secure Flight data’ includes your gender, date of birth and your first and family name exactly as stated in your passport.

We are required to pass this information of all our passengers to the United States’ Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at least 72 hours before departure. If you book your flight within 72 hours before departure, we will send the ‘Secure Flight’ information at the time of booking.

To prevent additional costs and to make sure that you are allowed to board your flight, we ask you to provide this ‘Secure Flight’ information to us in time. If you book your flight via a travel agent, be sure to provide this information to your travel agent in time. We also need to have your ‘Secure Flight’ data if you want to check in online, or at a self-service kiosk at the airport.

You might need to request electronic travel authorisation (ESTA), and you will have to supply Advance Passenger Information (API). Please find out more below.

ESTA travel authorisation

Residents of countries Under the Visa Waiver Programme may travel to the United States without having to request a visa. However, they will need to apply for a supplementary travel authorisation (ESTA). Without ESTA travel authorisation, these travellers will not be allowed to board their flight to the United States.

Passengers from all countries need to have ESTA travel authorization to be able to check in online or at a kiosk at the airport for their flight to the United States.

You can either apply for ESTA directly, or let our partner CIBT take care of everything for you for a fee.

Read more about ESTA and Visa Waiver Programme countries

Documentation check before departure

If you are travelling from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol to the United States on a Delta Air Lines flight, you will have to go through an extra documentation check on your way to the departure gate as mentioned on your boarding pass. At this central security checkpoint, you will also receive your exact gate number. Please allow some extra time for this check.


All travellers to the United States must have an e-passport that can be read by a machine (also known as an MRP or machine-readable passport). Depending on where and when it was issued, such a passport must have a digital photo and a built-in chip.

Babies and older children have to have their own passports; they may not travel on the passport of one of their parents.

If you have a temporary or emergency passport that is not an e-passport, you can no longer travel under the Visa Waiver Programme. You must then apply for a visa for your trip to the United States.

Advance Passenger Information

If you travel to the United States, we are required to collect various personal data. We recommend you provide this Advance Passenger Information (API) as early as possible:

  • to your travel agent
  • via My Trip
  • during online check-in, from 24 hours up to 1 hour before departure.
  • at a kiosk at the airport. If you depart from an airport where you can only check in at the desk, our staff will register the data on your passport.

You may also download the API form before you travel. The API data includes:

  • Family name and first name
  • Date of birth and gender
  • Passport number
  • Country that issued the passport
  • Passport expiry date
  • Nationality
  • Country of residence
  • Temporary address where you will be staying. This address must include the house number, street, city/town, abbreviation used for the state, and the zip code.

You do not have to provide the temporary address information if:

  • You officially reside in the United States.
  • During your inward journey, you will transfer in the United States to a destination outside the United States and this transfer is within 8 hours. When filling in your address, please enter ‘Transit to Non-US country’, and the flight number of the final part of your journey. 
  • You will go on a cruise. When filling in your address please enter: ‘Transit to Cruise Line’, adding the name of the ship and the city and state where your cruise will start.
  • You will travel through the United States in a motor home. If possible, please give an indication of your planned location.

Download the Advance Passenger Information form
View the check-in services per departure airport