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Travel to the United States of America
Updated on 28 Jan 2019

Due to legal requirements from the United States of America Authorities all passengers traveling to this country must provide the following information at time of booking or at least 72 hours before departure:

  • Full Name (mind the maximum characters allowed on name element) 
  • Gender
  • Date of Birth
  • Number and Validity of Document of Identification (ex:passport)
  • Redress number, if available

These details – Secure Flight Passenger Data - have to be inserted as an SSR DOCS.

The 3 first elements are absolutely mandatory.  Moreover, the issuance of a ticket to the United States is not possible should these elements be missing.

Since the 15th of October 2010 TAP started sending IATA’s SSR ADPI notifications to all PNRs with segments to/from USA where the SSR DOCS are missing:

SSR ADPI-Additional Passenger Information.


All bookings without the mandatory SSR DOCS will receive such notifications 15 Days before the flight, 07 Days, 04 Days or 03 Days, until the minimum required information is inserted. The lack of this information may cause delays at the check-in or boarding.

TAP has been receiving notifications from the American Authorities regarding the high number of incorrect information inserted on reservations, such as misspelled names, wrong surname, wrong date of birth, duplicate information or wrongly associated to passengers, which results in fines imposed to the airline.  It is absolutely important to double check all passenger's passport details before creating a booking and the SSR DOCS!

Another error occurs quite often regarding the Holder indicator.  The Holder indicator should only be used if the same passport is used by more than one passenger (which is not very common nowadays!).  Only in these cases the “-H” indicator must be inserted in the end of the SSR DOCS entry. If the passport holder only has one given name and only one surname, a blank space should be inserted with two dashes before the “H” indicator: --H/P1.  Otherwise the system will consider the “H” to be the passenger’s middle name. These are uncommon cases nowadays, so be careful when inserting an H indicator.


GDS entries






Do not use passenger titles such as MR, MRS, MSTR and MISS on SSR DOCS (though they are mandatory on a PNR name element).

Use space between surnames: JONES SMITH instead of JONESSMITH.

If this procedure is not correct, passenger acceptance is rejected by TSA Transportation Security Administration (U.S.Department of Homeland Security)!



It is recommended that an SSR DOCA with address at destination is also inserted on bookings to the United States.  In case of multiple addresses, insert the one for the first night.


Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA)

All eligible international travelers who wish to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program must apply for an authorization.

To obtain this authorization, known as ESTA, they must complete a form on the Electronic Travel Authorization System website.  

ESTA must be requested at time of booking (if posible) and no less than 72 hours prior to scheduled departure time. 


Requirements to apply online for the ESTA:

  • Be a citizen or eligible national of a Visa Waiver Program country.
  • Have a valid passport issued by that country.
  • Not to be in possession of a visitor's visa.
  • Intended stay is 90 days or less.
  • Visiting the USA for business or leisure.
  • Requesting new authorization for individual or group (2 or more people) stay.
  • Inform all requested personal details at the time of application process.
  • Most recent employment information, if applicable.
  • Be able to pay 14USD with Credit Card (Master Card, VISA, American Express, Discover, JCB, Dinners Club or Pay Pal).

Application Process:

Log in to the Electronic System for Travel Authorization website and complete the basic identification, credit card and submit form.

Once authorized, we recommend that the document is printed and attached to the passport (the one that was registered with ESTA!) in case it is requested while exiting Portugal or at the USA border control.

If the system responds to "Unauthorized Travel" the passenger must apply for a non-immigrant visa at the nearest consulate or embassy.

If the system responds "Pending authorization" he/she should return to the website 72 hours later to receive the final response.

These authorizations are valid for two years from the date they are obtained and for multiple entries in the USA.  However, if the passport expires in the meantime, a new authorization must be requested.

The application for authorization may be on individual or group basis (eg. as a family), and does not prevent a member of the group from traveling alone. The destination address data should be updated, if different, on each journey.

TAP reserves the right to refuse passengers without a valid Travel Authorization to board US bound flights.

Important information

In order to comply with the safety requirements of the authorities of the United States of America, TAP informs that, as of October 26, 2017, all passengers traveling to any destination in the USA will be subjected to a “safety interview”, conducted by PSP (Portuguese Public Security Police).

If a passenger is holding more than one passport, they must check if the one they are carrying is the same inserted on the ESTA application, otherwise boarding will be rejected.


NEW - TSA Pre✓™  program for US and Canadian citizens

TAP is now able to offer expedited airport security screening in conjunction with the Transportation Security Administration and its TSA Pre program.

TSA Pre™  screening program allows pre-approved airline travelers to leave on their shoes, light outerwear and belt, keep their laptop in its case and their 3-1-1 compliant liquids/gels bag in a carry-on in select screening lanes. TSA Pre™ is available at TAP’s airport operations at New York’s JFK, Newark Liberty, Boston Logan, and Miami International, as well as – from June – Chicago O’Hare, San Francisco International and Washington-Dulles airports.

Passengers who are eligible for TSA Pre™ include U.S. citizens who are members of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Trusted Traveler program and Canadian citizens who are members of CBP’s NEXUS program. TSA Pre™ is also available for U.S. Armed Forces service members, including those serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, Reserves and National Guard. Later this year TSA will launch an application program, allowing more U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to enroll in TSA Pre™.

For further details, please check the TSA Pre™  website.

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