What you need to know about ESTA authorization United States

In recent years, the United States of America no longer systematically requires a visa to enter the country. Indeed, thanks to the ESTA authorization , a simple online application is enough. Even though it is easier to obtain than the US visa, this travel document is not issued to all foreign nationals. Let’s see under what conditions apply this authorization to stay in the US and how to apply.

What is ESTA authorization?

ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) is an authorization reserved only for short stays on American soil. The ESTA authorization allows you to travel to the United States for up to 90 days, without applying for a visa . This document takes the form of an electronic authorization. You will not get any paper version, the ESTA authorization is simply linked to your passport . Attention, only the biometric or electronic passport is admitted, if you have an earlier version (optical reading), you will have to apply for a new passport before requesting an ESTA.

Nationals from the 38 member countries of the Visa Waiver Program are eligible for the ESTA authorization. On the other hand, if you have the dual nationality of one of the countries considered “dangerous” by the US administration (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen), the Customs and Border Protection Service the United States may refuse your application for a temporary residence permit.

Unlike the USA visa, which requires physically moving to the US Embassy, ​​ESTA’s online application is only available online. To obtain it, you must fill out a form . The latter is easy to access, you can find it on the official website of the US government or on any private platform whose activity is dedicated to ESTA.

As the ESTA document is an electronic application form, the file processing is thus faster and easier. After receiving your request, the US Homeland Security Directorate can return you within 72 hours.

The requirements for the ESTA authorization request

US authorities grant ESTA authorization only in three situations:

  • tourist trip;
  • business trips (this does not apply to job search or internships in the US);
  • business trips (this does not apply to job search or internships in the US);

In addition to these reasons, travel to the United States via ESTA is limited in time. It only concerns stays of up to 90 days. If your plan to stay in the US exceeds this limit, it will be necessary to apply for a visa from the consular services.

ESTA online application form

Any traveler wishing to leave the United States without a visa, must complete the ESTA form. This process allows the US Department of Homeland Security to know in advance your identity and the reason for your visit.

This questionnaire is simple to fill but still requires a little concentration. The US administration does not tolerate any fault when filling out the form. If there is any difference between the information provided in the questionnaire and the information on your passport, your application will be rejected.

During this formality, you will also have to answer a few closed questions. US authorities will investigate whether you have a communicable disease or if you have had previous convictions.

What is the price of an ESTA authorization?

Your ESTA online request will not be effective until you make the payment. This step appears after completing the questionnaire. To pay the fees of ESTA, it is simply required to have a credit card (Visa, Master Card, American Express …).

The base price of the ESTA form is $ 14. This rate is related to the processing fees to which a tourist tax is added. When you make a request for ESTA on a private site, it will take several tens of euros more because of the accompanying service provided.

The ESTA is still the most economical document to stay in the USA. If you apply for a tourist visa at the US Embassy, ​​you will need $ 160 or more for certain visas.