The formalities for entering the United States for a stay of less than 90 days can be carried out directly via the Internet. An appointment at the US Embassy or Consulate is not required.

If you are in possession of your passport, simply follow the online process by completing the form with your personal information. You will get your travel certificate in a few minutes.

Various information will be requested on the ESTA form. For example, you will be asked to fill in: personal information, biometric or electronic passport information, current or past employer, contact information and an emergency contact. Following this information, a series of nine security questions will appear.

Once you have completed the online form, you will be asked to provide payment information to finalize thesubmission of the ESTA application. Keep in mind that once you submit the online form, most of the information in the questionnaire cannot be changed, so it is essential to review it carefully before paying the ESTA fee.

For latecomers, you can make your request at least 72 hours before boarding. Once this deadline has passed, there is no guarantee that you will be able to obtain ESTA.

The results of your online ESTA application

After completing all the required steps online, you can find out the result of your application within 72 hours. To check the status of your application, please have your ESTA file number and your passport number ready. There are three possible responses to an ESTA application:

  • approved authorization. You are then officially in possession of the travel document to travel to the USA under the Visa Waiver Program. Please note that the ESTA form does not guarantee you admission to the United States. The final decision is made by the US Customs and Border Protection agents upon your arrival in the United States of America;
  • authorization denied. This status means that you are not eligible for the U.S. visa waiver. To ensure that your trip to the United States does not fall through, you can apply for a visa at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate;
  • authorization pending. The final status of your application has not yet been determined, your file is under review, so this does not necessarily imply a negative conclusion. Normally, the final decision is made within 72 hours.

Who is eligible to apply for ESTA online?

Any traveler is eligible to apply for an ESTA document if:

  • the trip to the USA is for tourism or business purposes (business trip) or simply to transit;
  • the biometric or electronic passport used for online registration is issued by a country benefiting from the Visa Waiver Program;
  • the applicant has a round-trip or onward ticket;
  • the applicant poses no threat to the health, welfare, or safety of the United States.

If all of these eligibility requirements are met, the temporary resident permit is theoretically granted by the U.S. government.

ESTA authorization granted, what next?

If the ESTA has been granted, you are then free to travel to the USA whenever and wherever you want for 24 months. However, you should make sure that each stay does not exceed the legal maximum of 90 days. The validity period of the ESTA can be shortened if the passport expires during the same period. To remedy this problem, simply go to your local city hall to order a new passport and then apply online using this ID.