The rules for obtaining an ESTA
An ESTA authorization is an official document that allows citizens of countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program to travel to the USA without a US visa. The stay must be less than 90 days and meet the requirements established by the Department of Homeland Security.
To obtain your ESTA on the Internet, simply click to complete the online form.
Travelers must meet VWP eligibility standards and have a valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval prior to departure. You may be eligible for ESTA authorization if you are a national of a VWP country who wishes to visit the United States for tourism or business purposes.
What are the rules for obtaining an ESTA?
The American authorities take the security of the American territory very seriously, the rules for obtaining ESTA must be respected in order not to have your ESTA application refused. Here are the rules for obtaining ESTA travel authorization:
- Passport rules in the USA: you must have an electronic or biometric passport with an integrated chip (the chip contains the biometric data of the passport holders). You must have a valid passport at the time of the ESTA application and for the duration of your stay (expiry date at least 6 months after the return date);
- rules for your trip to the United States: as mentioned previously, your trip to the United States cannot exceed a maximum of 90 consecutive days. The reason for your trip must be tourist or professional to benefit from the visa exemption. Travelers must have a return ticket to their home country before submitting their application. Please note: an ESTA transit is mandatory even if you only have a few hours stopover in an American airport to reach your final destination;
- rules for the ESTA form: the ESTA application is made on the Internet. The form is made up of 3 distinct parts to which it is imperative to answer as honestly as possible. It is advisable to submit the completed form at least 72 hours prior to your departure to the United States;
- Additional rules: if your ESTA application is denied, you are required to wait 10 days before reapplying. In addition, it is not possible to obtain ESTA authorization if you have recently been denied a visa.
To whom do the rules for obtaining ESTA authorization apply?
Before you can fly to the United States, there are a lot of rules to follow to obtain an ESTA.
Only nationals of countries participating in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program are affected by the ESTA rules. The countries concerned are: Australia, Austria, Andorra, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Malta, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom
Note: The U.S. Government has determined that being from, or having visited since March 2011, one of the following countries: Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen is a serious impediment to obtaining ESTA.
Once you have read the rules for obtaining ESTA authorization, you can go to the official ESTA website to fill out your form. Be careful not to make any typing errors or your ESTA application will be denied.
Note: An ESTA is valid for two years, which means that you can go on several trips without having to fill out the form again.
Once you have completed the formalities and obtained your ESTA, the American dream is within your reach. You can discover the madness of New York, the beaches of Florida, the bayous of Louisiana, the good life of San Francisco and California in general, the immensity of the Grand Canyon, the discovery of the American West.
If you wish to go to the USA for a longer tourist stay you will need to apply for a B2 tourist visa for the USA. To improve your English language skills, study at an American university, find a job or do an internship in the U.S., apply for a visa at the U.S. Embassy. The USA offers many different visas to allow you to stay in the country.