Usefulness of the ESTA Certificate
Nationals of countries that are part of the VWP program must obtain ESTA authorization before flying to the United States. This formality, which has been mandatory since 2009, has the advantage of being able to be carried out online: it only takes a few minutes to obtain a certificate.
The conditions to respect to obtain an ESTA certificate
If you are considering a stay in the United States, take stock of your profile and, above all, of the conditions of your stay.
To obtain this authorization, you must travel with an airline or cruise line recognized by the U.S. government. You must also prove that you will not be in the United States for more than 90 days. To do so, you must be able to provide a return ticket.
An ESTA certificate cannot be issued if you have ever been in trouble with the U.S. law during a previous trip or if you have been denied an ESTA application in the past.
An ESTA certificate does not guarantee you entry into the United States
While it is essential to apply for an ESTA certificate at least 72 hours before your departure for the United States, it is important to note that this document does not guarantee you entry into the United States. Here is detailed information about the ESTA.
The ESTA certificate is a prior authorization for travel. The final decision rests with the immigration authorities who will welcome you upon your arrival on American soil. However, a successful ESTA application is considered to guarantee a 99% chance of entering the United States.
ESTA certificate: what it allows, what it prohibits
Before you apply online, take stock of what the certificate allows you to do, but more importantly, what it does not allow you to do. Having an ESTA authorization allows you to stay for 90 consecutive days in the United States. During this period, you will be able to move around the country as you wish, whether you are alone or in a group.
If you feel like it, you can participate in social activities set up by organizations or in sports, music and cultural activities. To comply with American law, there is only one requirement: you must be a volunteer. The ESTA certificate does not allow you to receive any remuneration. If you are traveling to the United States without any specific plans, it will be difficult to obtain an ESTA.
You will also be able to enroll in courses, provided they do not give you credit toward a university degree.
If you are traveling for business, you can attend professional meetings, conferences, conventions and also enroll in short courses. Again, no remuneration should be paid for these activities. Of course, you will also be able to negotiate and sign contracts.
If you have lost your ESTA document, nothing serious, you are not obliged to present it upon arrival in the USA.
Please note: Regardless of your profile and the reason for your stay, the ESTA certificate does not allow you to seek employment in the United States, participate in study programs to obtain a university degree or seek immigration status. Logically, you also agree not to stay more than 90 consecutive days on American soil.