Any trip to the USA, for tourism or professional purposes, requires obtaining an ESTA authorization. Created in 2009 by the US administration, this travel document makes it possible to go to the US without a visa, which proves much less restrictive and more economical. The request is made directly online, it is simply necessary to bring your biometric or electronic passport.
Let’s see together under which exact conditions the ESTA authorization applies and how to apply for it.
The eligibility criteria of the ESTA authorization
The ESTA document is much less complicated to obtain than the USA visa. Nevertheless, the US state does not issue the travel authorization to every candidate for entry on US soil. Specific criteria have been established to be eligible for the ESTA authorization. If any of the eligibility requirements are not met, ESTA’s application will be rejected outright.
To be eligible for ESTA, be sure to respect the following points:
- the traveler must stay in the US in a tourism logic (visit New York, roadtrip in the West, etc.) or as part of a business trip. If the candidate for ESTA simply wants to transit the US territory the time to go to a border country, he can also benefit from the ESTA authorization;
- the national must be a national of one of the 38 countries adhering to the visa waiver scheme. Be aware that French and Belgian nationals are included in this program;
- the proposed stay in the United States of America does not exceed 90 consecutive days;
- the traveler has no terrorist intentions or is not suffering from a contagious disease such as tuberculosis.
If you respond favorably to all of these prerequisites, you will probably be eligible for ESTA. However, to benefit from the travel authorization, it is requested to answer an online form. This questionnaire is accessible via the official US government website or on any private platform specialized in ESTA. In all cases, the structure of the ESTA form will be the same. You will need to fill in the information on your passport and identity, then answer some questions about your criminal record and your health.
Note that if you already have a valid US visa, or even a green card , you will not need to apply for ESTA .
How to use the ESTA document?
If you get the temporary residence permit, you can go to the US without a visa. There is no point in printing the ESTA document since it is an electronic authorization, the ESTA authorization is simply linked to your passport. The validity of the ESTA is two years, however, it must be observed that the passport does not expire in this period of time, in which case the authorization will no longer be valid.
Note that even though ESTA allows you to stay as many times as you want in the United States, it is always a requirement to respect the maximum length of stay of 90 days. If you break this rule, the US authorities will simply be able to permanently deny you access to the ESTA.
Update ESTA before departure
If your application for authorization has been approved, a file number corresponding to your ESTA has been communicated to you electronically.
This identifier is very important, it will indeed make it possible to update some information of your ESTA file, starting from your space on line. Attention, the ESTA update is only possible on certain data (email address, coordinates of the resort, flight number). If information about your passport is no longer current (address, name, etc.), then you will have to reapply ESTA.