The main visas for the United States

Traveling to the United States is not easy, but not impossible either. The US government’s immigration policy is known to be severe, partly to protect the country from threats. Therefore, all travelers must first apply for entry into the territory which will be materialized in a USA visa or an ESTA.

For a stay of less than 90 days in the United States: You can complete the formalities for entering the USA directly via the Internet by clicking on online-form. There is no need to get an appointment at the US embassy or consulate, nor to get a visa, you will get an ESTA (Electronic Travel Authorization).

How to get a visa for the USA?

As mentioned above, it is mandatory to have an administrative authorization to go to the United States. To do this, simply make an appointment with the nearest US Embassy to your place of residence. There are different types of visa (tourist visa, work visa, cultural exchange visa, J1 or F1 visa for studies, etc.) depending on the reason for your trip and your professional situation.

Another type of visa, the green card is a permanent residence permit issued by the United States Government to live and work freely on American soil. It is accessible according to a drastic regulation based on work, family reunion or marriage.

Regardless of the type of visa sought, interview at the US Embassy is an inevitable step in the visa application process. In English, you will have to explain your reasons for going to the United States. So be sure to be well prepared, by gathering all the necessary documents (your passport among others) and preparing the answers to the questions that will be asked.

Here is the type of visa you will need to apply depending on your situation:

Travel patternVisa Type
Border crossing: MexicoBCC
Business visaB1
Tourist visa USAB2
Medical treatmentsB2
Transit visa by the USAC
Crew member (plane / boat)D
Student visaF, M
Specialized worker H1B
Worker in agriculture H2A
Professor, teacher, trainee J, Q
Spouse / wife of a US citizenK
Athletes or artists visas with extraordinary skillsO, P
Religious wishing to work temporarilyR

E1 / E2 visas as well as B1 / B2 visas and L1 visa are more detailed in articles devoted to them.

What is the alternative to the visa for the USA?

If you are a national of one of the countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program (of which France is a part), you will not necessarily need a visa to go to the United States. Indeed, this program allows the issuance of ESTA, allowing travelers to travel to the US for travel or business trips. It is a cheaper alternative (the file fee is $ 14 minimum) and faster (you will receive an answer to your request within 72 hours) than the traditional visa.

To obtain an ESTA, nothing could be easier: you just have to fill out the form available on the official website of the American customs.