ESTA for the USA by land

The Electronic Travel Authorization (ESTA) is essential for any traveler wishing to travel to the United States. Indeed, the ESTA allows you to stay or transit through the territory without the need to obtain a visa or a transit visa. For a stay of less than 90 days, you can complete the formalities for entering the USA directly via the Internet by clicking on online form.

Very popular with globetrotters, in this article we will examine in which case the ESTA is essential for tourist or business trips. Whether you’re traveling by land, boat or plane, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about it.

Is ESTA mandatory for overland travel?

Thanks to the Visa Waiver Program, millions of travelers can enter the United States. France is one of the partner countries allowing to make tourist visas USAa thing of the past for French citizens. ESTA authorizes you to stay in America for 90 consecutive days for tourist or business reasons. For Europeans, the most logical is to go to the United States by plane. For this, you must complete your ESTA application online at least 72 hours before departure, and upon landing, you will present yourself at customs. We remind you that only the agents of the American customs are authorized to authorize you the entry on the American territory. If you decide to go to the USA by boat, for example during a cruise on an ocean liner, you will also be asked to obtain an ESTA before boarding the ship.

However, it is also possible to enter American soil by land, from Canada or even Mexico. In this case, ESTA is not compulsory, but a similar authorization will have to be obtained.

The USA by land: the alternative to ESTA

If you are traveling to the United States by land, you will need to complete Form I-94W at border control. It costs only $ 6 per person, and grants you 90 days of attendance under the visa waiver regime.

Just like at the airport, you and your vehicle will have to go through customs, but the queues may be a bit longer at border crossings; prepare for a good half hour of queuing. On the Internet, you can check waiting times to better plan your passage. Having your ESTA authorization on you when you return to the USA by land is not an obligation, but it will allow you to spend less time filling in the forms, and more time to enjoy your stay.

For travelers who are required to obtain an ESTA (traveling by any other means except by land), simply complete the request form available on the official website of the American customs.