Why apply for ESTA before leaving for the USA?

The ESTA travel authorization is required for all travelers wishing to enter the United States for tourism, business or transit. This formality to enter the USA is imperative to travel to the United States. Even children must have an ESTA (the application is made by the parents) to travel to the United States. This type of permit only allows a stay of up to 90 days. Those who plan to do an internship, study or look for a job must apply for a U.S. visa at the U.S. embassy in their country of residence.

If you want to obtain this ESTA document, you should know that many specialized sites will allow you to do so for an additional fee. You can also opt for an ESTA application on the US government website. Please note that your ESTA application must be submitted at least three days before your departure. It is possible that your application is pending and, in this case, the authorities have a maximum of 72 hours to give the final result.

Who can apply for ESTA USA authorization request ?

Before applying for electronic travel authorization via the Internet, first make sure you are eligible for ESTA. To be eligible, you must be in possession of a valid passport (electronic passport or biometric passport). It is important to know that with this authorization, you are only allowed to stay for a maximum of 90 days and that you can only make a tourist or business trip or transit. Under no circumstances can you work on American soil with an ESTA, in which case your presence will be considered illegal. Once you have obtained your ESTA authorization, you can travel to the United States and back for two years, but you should never exceed 90 consecutive days per stay.

The ESTA document is valid for two years, unless the passport expires before then. Any person residing in countries that are members of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) can apply for ESTA. Here is the list of countries participating in this program:

Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Croatia (since Dec. 2021), 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.

How do I apply for ESTA?

To apply for ESTA, you have two choices regarding the online form to fill out: the ESTA application on the official U.S. government website or on a private website offering additional services. In both cases, you must have a valid passport to provide the passport number and a credit card to validate your purchase. The administrative cost is $21 on the official ESTA website since 2022. Your application must be made at least 72 hours before departure, but we advise you to make it as soon as you decide to plan a stay in the USA.

When using the official website, be sure to check each piece of personal information you provide. A simple error in the ESTA form is enough to receive a refusal from the American authorities. The form is composed of three steps. During these phases, the U.S. government collects information about you, your reasons for traveling to the United States, and your legal and medical history.

It is because the risk of error is high that private sites offer their services. You fill out a simplified form and professionals will communicate your personal information after verification of the data.

The document is usually issued within 72 hours of the online application. With your ESTA, you can travel to the USA several times, for a maximum of 90 days, during a maximum period of two years (validity of the document).

When can an ESTA application be denied?

There are many reasons why your ESTA application may be denied. The most common reason is due to information mismatch, i.e. the personal information on the passport and the information submitted on the ESTA form do not fully match. It is important to remember that the information provided to the U.S. authorities must be truthful and current.

In principle, refusal is automatic if the traveler has a significant legal or medical history, if his or her passport has expired, or if the person in question is not from a member country of the Visa Waiver Program.

If your ESTA application is denied, don’t worry, you can still proceed with your travel plans. You just need to be more patient and consider applying for a visa at the American embassy. There are different visas depending on the nature of your trip to the USA: tourist visa, study visa or work visa.