Abu Dhabi International Airport

Passenger Guide

All you need to know about your airport experience

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Requirements For Travel to the U.S.

Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) For Travel to the U.S.

Guests who plan to travel to the U.S. and who are eligible for the U.S. Visa Waiver Program, are required to apply for travel authorization online prior to their travel.

The electronic system for travel authorization (ESTA) can be completed on https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/

Guests will require an approved ESTA prior to boarding. An approved ESTA is valid for up to two years and multiple entries but is not a guarantee of admissibility.

How the Electronic System for Travel Authorization Works

Log onto the ESTA Web site at https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/ and complete an online application. Passengers are encouraged to apply early. The web-based system will prompt you to answer basic biographical and eligibility questions typically requested on a paper I-94W form.

Applications may be submitted at any time prior to travel, however, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommends that applications be submitted no less than 72 hours prior to travel. In most cases you will receive a response within seconds:

  • Authorization Approved: Travel authorized.

  • Travel Not Authorized: Passenger must obtain a non-immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate before traveling to the U.S.

  • Authorization Pending: Passenger will need to check the ESTA Web site for updates within 72 hours to receive a final response.

An approved travel authorization via ESTA is:

  • Required for all VWP passengers prior to boarding a carrier to travel to the U.S., under the VWP beginning January 12, 2009;

  • Valid, unless revoked, for up to two years or until the passenger's passport expires, whichever comes first;

  • Valid for multiple entries into the U.S. As future trips are planned, or if an applicant's destination address or itineraries change after their authorization has been approved, they may easily update that information through the ESTA website; and

  • Not a guarantee of admissibility to the United States at a port of entry. ESTA approval only authorizes a Passenger to board a carrier for travel to the U.S. under the VWP. For additional information, please visit 'For International Visitors' at www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel.

Transit through the United States:

Eligible nationals or citizens of countries that participate in the VWP require either a travel authorization or a visa to transit the United States. If a traveler is only planning to transit through the United States en route to another country, when he or she completes the travel authorization application in ESTA, the traveler should enter the words "In Transit" and his or her final destination location in the address lines in the “Address While in the United States” field on the application

Countries eligible and currently enrolled in the Visa Waiver Program include:









Republic of Malta



San Marino




Czech Republic








South Korea








The Netherlands



New Zealand

United Kingdom

Advance Passenger Information

Passengers traveling to the United States or Canada are required to provide Advance Passenger Information (API). This information is compulsory and is required for the purposes of ensuring aviation safety and security.

The information required for each passenger is:

  • First Name (as on passport)
  • Family Name (as on passport)
  • Gender
  • Date of Birth
  • Nationality
  • Passport Number
  • Passport Country
  • Expiry Date of Passport
  • Country of Residence
  • Alien Registration or Permanent Resident Card Number if applicable
  • Address while in U.S. if you are not a U.S. passport holder or a landed U.S. resident.

For further information, please visit http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/inspections_carriers_facilities/apis/

Permitted food items

There are restrictions on food items that can be brought in to the U.S. For full details, see http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/id_visa/kbyg/prohibited_restricted.xml

In order to avoid delays we suggest that all food items be carried in your hand luggage, declared and presented for inspection at the USCBP facility at Abu Dhabi Airport.

For any further information, please visit the website of the U.S. Embassy in Abu Dhabi http://abudhabi.usembassy.gov

Valid travel documentation

Your passport is a valuable document, without it you will be prevented from traveling. It is the passenger's personal responsibility to ensure they have valid documentation which meets the requirements of Etihad Airways, immigration and other government authorities at each destination/departure airport.

To check passport, visa and health requirements visit the IATA Travel Centre on http://www.iatatravelcentre.com/.

CBP Customs Declaration form at Abu Dhabi International Airport

All Etihad Airways flights from Abu Dhabi to the U.S. now depart from Terminal 3 (T3). For details on preclearance of U.S. Customs and Immigration in Terminal 3 before departure, see our section on Terminal 3 – U.S. immigration.

All passport holders under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) visiting the United States will require an individual, machine readable passport to avail of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program. Otherwise you will require a visa, in advance, from your nearest U.S. Diplomatic or Consular Mission. For travel over 90 days a visa must be obtained.

Passengers must also complete a CBP Customs Declaration Form at the airport on the day of departure. One completed declaration form per family must be handed to the U.S. airport customs official. Forms are available at check-in, onboard aircraft or in the Immigration Hall at Abu Dhabi International Airport.

View a sample of the CBP Customs Declaration Form