ESTA Questions and Answers

You have decided to go to the United States for tourism or business trip and you probably have questions about the steps to obtain the ESTA travel authorization? You will find in this section the main questions asked concerning this precious document to be accepted on the American territory.

What is ESTA?

ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) is the US electronic travel authorization system derived from the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). It allows nationals of countries participating in the program to travel to the United States more easily without having to apply for VISA.

Who should apply ESTA?

The ESTA must be made by all people wishing to go to the US that matter his age, the means of transport used (boat or plane) and wishing to stay less than 90 days.

I got the ESTA, will I be allowed on American soil?

Despite the fact that you have obtained your authorization, nothing can guarantee that you will be admitted to the country. An immigration officer will check you once you have landed and may refuse your entry if he or she believes you are violating US laws.

Does ESTA replace VISA?

ESTA and VISA are two separate documents, one can not substitute for the other. If VISA is mandatory for your actions, the ESTA authorization will not be able to replace it. Note that if you already have a VISA you can do without the ESTA.

What is the validity period of an ESTA authorization?

Your ESTA authorization is valid for 2 years from the date of issue. It becomes obsolete, however, as soon as the information on the passport used to fill out your application changes or if it expires.

When should I ask for his ESTA?

US authorities recommend that you make your ESTA request as soon as possible, even before you have planned your itinerary! They also specify that a request can be reviewed for up to 72 hours before being answered. Thus, although the answer can be given in a few minutes, we recommend you to respect this deadline.

Should the reason for his trip be justified in order to obtain his ESTA?

No ! It is not necessary to specify for which purpose you wish to go to the United States. Although the form has fields that require this type of information, there is no requirement to complete them. So, if you do not want to share this information or simply have not planned your trip yet, you are free to leave these fields blank.

Do I have to apply for ESTA authorization if I only go through the United States?

It is necessary to have a ESTA authorization or a valid VISA even if you only make a stopover on US soil to transit to another destination. It will be necessary to specify by filling the form that your request relates to a Transit ESTA .

What is the Visa Waiver Program and who is it for?

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is a program set up by the US authorities to facilitate travel to the United States for nationals of the participating countries. It allows for any stay of less than 90 days to be exempted of request of VISA .

Which countries are participating in the Visa Waiver Program?

Here is the list of countries in the countries that are part of the Visa Waiver Program:
Germany
Spain
Liechtenstein
United Kingdom
Andorra
Finland
Lithuania
San Marino
Australia
France
Luxembourg
Singapore
Austria
Greece
Malta
Slovakia
Belgium
Hungary
Monaco
Slovenia
Brunei
Ireland
Norway
Sweden
Chile
Iceland
New Zealand
Swiss
South Korea
Italy
Netherlands
Taiwan
Denmark
Japan
Portugal
Poland*
Estonia
Latvia
Czech Republic
*Pologne membre du VWP depuis le 1er nov.2019

ESTA Canada or ESTA Europe

In recent years, Canada has put in place the eTA Canada a similar travel authorization to ESTA. Europe is also studying a project to set up a European ESTA in the coming years in order to strengthen entry into the territories of the European Union.

My ESTA expires before the end of my stay, is this a problem?

It is not necessary to have a valid authorization when leaving the country. It must only be valid when you arrive, however it will not exceed the 90 days in the USA .

Should you print your ESTA authorization?

ESTA is a totally computerized approach. US authorities and transport companies will be informed of your entitlement to travel to the United States. Nevertheless, for the sake of practicality and security, we advise you to print your ESTA to keep with you a proof of your authorization and to avoid any possibility of computer failure.

What are the conditions to obtain an ESTA authorization?

In order to obtain your ESTA authorization, you need to fulfill certain prerequisites:
  • Possess a passport issued by one of the EPI member countries
  • Possess an electronic or biometric passport
  • Plan a stay of less than 90 days
  • Own a return ticket or to another country

How much does a request for ESTA cost?

An ESTA request costs only € 14, which corresponds to the fees charged by the US authorities to which can be added the costs associated with private assistance services.

What if my ESTA application is denied?

Unfortunately the ESTA is not obtained automatically, some requests of ESTA are refused . If you find yourself in this case, you will need to apply for VISA. Get closer to the US embassy or consulate for more information on this approach.

Your question is not answered on this page?

Do not hesitate to consult our lexicon or read our latest news on ESTA . You can also contact our support team who is at your disposal to answer all your questions.