The eligibility requirements for the ESTA electronic travel authorization are less stringent than those for the US visa. Nevertheless, US authorities do not issue ESTA to anyone. To qualify for the Visa Waiver Program, you must meet certain specific conditions. In this article you will find all the details related to the ESTA eligibility criteria to ensure that you are able to apply for a temporary residence permit.
Prerequisites to apply for ESTA
To apply for an ESTA USA, you must first be a citizen of a country favored by the Visa Waiver Program. Among the member states of this system are all the nations of the European Union as well as New Zealand, Japan and Taiwan. If you are a French national or Belgian, you respond favorably to this criterion.
US Customs and Border Protection, the government agency responsible for issuing ESTAs, requires travelers to have a biometric or electronic passport. Indeed, the document ESTA is an electronic authorization, it is linked to the passport by computer, but this registration is not possible on the passports of old generation (optical reading). If you are in possession of this type of ID, you must imperatively make a new passport order before applying for your ESTA. It is essential to remember that you must travel to the US with a valid passport, if it has expired or expires before your departure, US authorities categorically deny your ESTA authorization request.
To travel to the US without a visa , the reasons for the stay are very framed, three scenarios are possible:
- tourist trip;
- business trips (signing a contract, visiting a supplier, etc.);
If your trip to the United States of America is due to another explanation, the visa application to the US Embassy will be essential.
The length of stay in the USA is also important. If you want to benefit from the ESTA authorization, please note that your trip must not exceed 90 days. For one more day, the American visa will prevail.
Finally, only entries on US soil by air or by boat are permitted with the document ESTA. If it is an entry by land, another form will be required.
The above conditions assure you the right to apply for ESTA travel authorization. This request is possible through the official website of the US government or any private site specializing in the support of obtaining ESTA.
The ESTA form: an important step in selecting candidates
ESTA’s application requires completing an online form . This questionnaire asks for a lot of information, especially about your identity, your passport and the conditions of your trip to the USA. You will also have to answer a series of closed questions related to your health, your previous trips or your criminal record. The purpose of the ESTA questionnaire is simply to assure the US state that you do not pose a threat to its citizens. As such, if by analyzing your answers to the questions asked, the computer systems discover that you have a communicable disease, that you have already committed crimes or even that you have traveled to one of the countries of Muslim Ban, you will probably face an ESTA refusal.
What does the ESTA Travel Authorization entail?
Once you obtain the travel authorization, you get the right to board with an airline or shipping company to the USA. However, this does not guarantee that you can enter the United States, indeed, only the agents of the border post are able to approve your presence on the national territory.
To be sure to receive your authorization in time, you must submit your request 72 hours before the day of your boarding. If your request is granted, an answer will be sent automatically. In the case of a pending authorization, you will need 3 days for a definitive answer.
The validity period of the ESTA form is two years. It is usable from the moment it is issued and allows to travel anywhere and anytime in the United States. However, if your ePassport or biometric passport expires before the end of your ESTA, your travel authorization will no longer be valid and you will need to apply online again.