DEFINITION OF ESTA
Before deciding to travel to the USA, perhaps you had never heard of ESTA. However, this document is mandatory as soon as certain criteria are met. Without this authorization issued by the American authorities, your entry into the American territory will simply be refused! So better prepare for the ESTA application and follow the procedure if you want to visit the United States in peace.
ESTA USA, A CRUCIAL DOCUMENT FOR TRAVELING IN THE UNITED STATES
There is a lot to say about ESTA USA, and even too much for a single article (at least if you want to keep it clear). We will therefore summarize its definition. This is a travel authorization to the United States, which concerns certain visa-exempt countries (the so-called “Visa Waiver Program”). This means that their nationals do not need a USA visa but simply an ESTA declaration , the process for obtaining which is much simpler, to be accepted at the American border. At the same time, any traveler must of course have a valid passport.
ESTA US is required from the moment certain conditions are met. Otherwise, a visa must be applied for, even if the traveler has the nationality of one of the member countries benefiting from the exemption (including France).
Thus, the request can be made if:
- The trip to the USA lasts 90 days maximum (this is why you need to buy a return ticket in advance);
- The stay is a tourist, business or transit trip (for example, this does not include an internship project abroad);
- Your passport is valid for the duration of your presence on American soil.
Once these criteria are met, ESTA is not automatically granted. Indeed, the process of obtaining requires answering questions on an online form. If the answers do not suit the United States government, you will receive a refusal that will prevent you from taking your plane without a visa. However, be aware that being refused only happens to a handful of people. If you do not plan to harm the internal security of the United States, you need not be worried about your reception from ESTA USA. On the other hand, the acquisition of this one does not prevent a refusal of entry when the customs detect dangerous products in your luggage for example.
MAIN CHARACTERISTICS OF ESTA
The ease of applying for the certificate compared to the American visa is illustrated above all by the fact that everything takes place on the Internet, via a questionnaire to be completed. Thus, to obtain the precious sesame that is ESTA and to be able to enter Uncle Sam’s, there is no need to schedule an appointment at the American Embassy in Paris. The online request is fast, as is the response since it generally arrives in a few hours, and in maximum 72 hours. These are the electronic systems that evaluate the elements that you enter in the fields, in order to detect a possible incompatibility vis-à-vis the security measures of the country.
Once the official ESTA document has been received in electronic format, it has a validity period of 2 years, or until the expiration of your biometric or electronic passport. This does not mean that your stay in the United States can last 2 years without interruption since, as we mentioned before, each trip should never exceed 90 days. It is therefore necessary to return to France a certain time before leaving again for tourism or a business trip to San Francisco, Manhattan or Florida.
Another important point: everyone who goes to the USA must hold a valid ESTA, even minors. Fortunately, it is possible to place several simultaneous orders on the ESTA form.
How to obtain a certificate for free? It is simply impossible; ESTA is always chargeable, even to make a second request. Here, you can grab your French passport and apply for ESTA now on the government website or on a private platform!