The ESTA document was introduced in 2009 under the Visa Waiver Program. The purpose of this scheme is to allow foreign nationals from 38 countries to travel to the US without applying for a visa. The VWP mainly concerns the countries of the European Union . French citizens are therefore quite able to stay in the United States of America, simply with an ESTA document.
Origins and usefulness of the ESTA document
US authorities have established ESTA primarily to strengthen the national security of the United States. The ESTA document should make it easier to secure flights and navigation to the US. The goal is to avoid attacks like those that occurred in September 2001. This is why all people who apply for ESTA authorization will see their personal information join the database created for this purpose. Nevertheless, the ESTA does not only have a security objective, it allows to relieve the American administration by facilitating the entry procedures on the American territory. The ESTA document eliminates the formalities required to obtain a US visa, so no need to move to the US Embassy with a file filled with various supporting documents.
French ESTA document can replace visa application
The French ESTA document is mainly intended for tourists, but this is not the only case. If you have to travel to the US as part of a business trip for your company or transit, you will also qualify for ESTA authorization.
Attention, all these conditions are valid only if the trip to the USA does not exceed 90 days. If necessary, the visa application to the US Embassy is essential.
The ESTA document is a lot of months constraining to getting that visa . On the one hand, the lead times are considerably reduced, it is sufficient to wait 72 hours after sending the request to receive an answer. On the other hand, the demand for ESTA is totally remote. Lastly, the economic advantage of ESTA remains cheaper than the US visa, whatever the site where you make the request.
The validity of the French ESTA document
If US Customs and Border Protection approves your application for a Temporary Resident Permit, you can then go to the US without a visa. The period of validity of the French ESTA document is 24 months, during this period you can go to the United States as many times as you wish, as long as the stay respects the maximum legal duration (90 consecutive days).
If the expiry date of your biometric or electronic passport is before the validity period of the ESTA document, please note that your authorization will no longer be valid. The only way to return to the US will be to reapply online from a valid passport.
Is it possible to complete the ESTA form in French?
Previously only available in English, the ESTA form is now available in French on the official US Government website. In addition, it is possible to fill out the ESTA form on many specialized sites, if you need help to do this.
Whether in English or French, the questionnaire will be the same. It is composed in the first place of a part on your civil status (surname, first name, date of birth, etc.) and on your passport, then various questions are asked in connection with your health, your criminal record or your previous trips .
Once you have made the payment online, your file is sent directly to the US authorities. They will inform you of the decision made in relation to your request within 72 hours.
In many cases, the ESTA authorization is approved within minutes. This means that you are in the immediate capacity to leave for the United States. If, on the contrary, your ESTA request is rejected, you still have the possibility to apply for a visa at the US Consulate.