Apply for the official ESTA document
Applying for an official ESTA authorization is one of the most important steps in order to travel to the USA. This formality can be done quickly on the Internet by clicking on the online form.
What is an official ESTA?
An ESTA, or ESTA authorization, is a visa waiver document. This electronic travel authorization system allows a person to travel to the United States for a temporary stay of up to 90 consecutive days for the purpose of tourism, transit or business.
In order to obtain an official ESTA, you must be a national of a country that is a member of the Visa Waiver Program. The 40 countries covered by the VWP are the following:
Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Taiwan.
Apply for an ESTA to travel to the USA
The electronic travel authorization is obtained through an online application. To apply for an ESTA for the USA, you must go to the official ESTA website of the American government, then fill out the ESTA form.
You can also use a private website that will help you fill out the online form and verify that the data you have provided is correct in order to reduce the risk of your official ESTA application being denied. The payment is only done online by credit card.
In what situations can I be denied an ESTA?
Different situations can lead to an ESTA refusal:
- have visited a “Muslim ban” country after March 1, 2011. These countries are: Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Syria, Sudan and Somalia;
- have already applied for a U.S. visa that was denied in the past;
- answer “yes” to one of the closed questions on the ESTA form;
- make a mistake in your personal data (mistake in the name, in the passport number, in the dates…).
Your biometric passport or e-passport must be able to cover the entire duration of your trip to the United States of America. Note that if you already have an ESTA but need to change your passport, you will need to apply for a new ESTA with your new passport.
It is recommended that you apply for travel authorization at least 72 hours before boarding to avoid unpleasant surprises. If your ESTA is refused due to an error in your data, you have the possibility to reapply after a 10-day wait. If you are unable to obtain an ESTA you will need to apply for a b2 tourist visa.
Even if you have your ESTA document, U.S. customs officials will have the final say on whether or not you enter the United States.