ESTA is a US Visa?

Have you planned a trip to the United States? Whatever your destination, you will need to complete an ESTA authorization. Mandatory since 2009, this travel document for the United States is accessible to travelers from the countries benefiting from the Visa Waiver Program.

If ESTA is similar to Visa, it does not meet the same criteria and can not replace a visa when it is required.

Length of stay

The first difference between an ESTA and a Visa USA is the length of stay they allow. Professionals or students wishing to stay on US soil for longer than 90 days can not stay in the United States with ESTA approval and must apply for a visa.

The conditions for obtaining

The ESTA form is available online and must be completed no more than 72 hours prior to departure for the United States. To obtain a visa, it is necessary to initiate an approach with the American embassy or consulate.

The price

The process is not free, through the official website of the ESTA authorization, travelers must pay the 14 dollars required for processing fees. However, a Visa application is much more expensive and can cost between € 152 (category B1 and B2 visa) and € 252 (category K visa).

The period of validity

An ESTA authorization is valid for two years from the date of obtaining but does not authorize the person to remain in the United States for more than 90 consecutive days. The validity period of a visa may vary depending on the visa concerned. Tourism and business visas permit a 6-month stay, while student and work visas meet their own conditions.

You can also apply for the green card if you have refugee status, have family in the United States, are married to a US citizen, selected for the annual lottery or sponsored by an employer.

Beyond these two years, you will need to renew your ESTA .