Staying in the United States: How does ESTA work?

The territory of the United States remains a particularly popular destination for Europeans to spend holidays or to do business. The country of Uncle Sam offers indeed, innumerable possibilities of tourist stay and presents real opportunities to develop a business. However, access to US soil can not be done without a US residence permit. The US authorities have put in place two travel documents: the ESTA and the USA visa.

Stay in the United States: choose ESTA or visa?

The residence permit ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) must be requested in case of stay in the USA of 90 days maximum, contrary to the visa which authorizes to stay on the American territory several months even years. In addition, ESTA is strictly dedicated to tourist or professional trips and transits.

If you want to go to the USA for business reasons, keep in mind that only business trips are allowed under the ESTA authorization. If your US travel project is due to an internship or even a hiring in a US company, you will have to do whatever it takes to apply for a visa. To learn more about this approach, it is advisable to contact the US Embassy or consular services.

Finally, access to the ESTA document is reserved for only 38 nationalities. Only foreign nationals from countries that are members of the Visa Waiver Program (Visa Waiver Program) are eligible for a temporary residence permit. Rest assured, all EU countries are included in this device.

There is still an exception for European citizens with dual nationality. If they also have a passport from one of the following countries (North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen), it will be impossible for them to go to the US with the ESTA, a visa will be essential.

How to obtain ESTA authorization?

The process of obtaining the ESTA is very fast compared to the visa application . The principle is simple, it is enough to answer, via an online form, to questions of personal orders and to specify the purpose of the trip. A simple validation after payment of fees allows to have an answer quickly. It often happens that the decision is made in the minutes that follow, otherwise, a notice is communicated to you within 72 hours.

The authorities approve most requests for ESTA, when this is not the case, the refusal can simply come from a typo. If your request has been rejected by the United States Customs and Border Protection, first check that the information provided on the online form coincides with the information on your biometric or electronic passport. For example, it is common for applicants to make a mistake on their passport number. If after verification, an error appears, you will have to fill in the online form again.

The US administration may also refuse to issue you ESTA simply because you do not meet the eligibility criteria or because you pose a threat to Uncle Sam’s country, this is particularly the case if you are a carrier communicable disease or if you have already dealt with the law.

What does ESTA do in the United States?

The validation of the ESTA document allows all travelers to visit the US territory several times during the two years of its validity. Nevertheless, the displacement must not exceed ninety days.

The ESTA form does not impose any geographical limits, you are free to cross the USA from the East Coast to the West Coast.

Attention, the acquisition of the authorization ESTA does not guarantee in any case the access on the American soil. This is simply a check to determine whether the national is eligible to board a ship or an aircraft. Immigration officers at the border post reserve the right to validate your entry to the United States of America or not.

Use of the ESTA residence permit

The ESTA document is systematically requested during the departure. To justify the validation of the application to the authorities, you only need to present your e-passport or biometric. Through an electronic system, the agents of the airline or sea will be able to see instantly if you are actually in possession of an ESTA USA.

It is important to note that the validity period of the ESTA authorization is directly related to the validity of the passport. In fact, when the passport expires, the authorization is automatically invalidated. Another application for travel authorization is then made with the coordinates of the new passport.