Rules for obtaining ESTA
Before you can board a flight to the United States, you will be asked to submit your mandatory ESTA form. To be in good standing with the U.S. government, you need to obtain an ESTA travel authorization. This document is subject to numerous regulations concerning its issuance and it is preferable to be well informed about the formalities to be completed before your departure, especially if your ESTA is refused. Read this practical guide to learn all about the mechanics of this process.
What are the requirements for the ESTA form?
To be eligible for ESTA, you must be a citizen of one of the countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program. In addition, any eligible individual wishing to travel to the United States for tourism or business purposes must plan to stay for less than 90 days.
It is important to remember that even in the case of a stopover, a transit through the United States, or a passage to Hawaii (located in Oceania), it is mandatory to fill out the ESTA form.
For family trips, it is not possible to make group requests at this time. You will need to apply for an ESTA for each member of the family and each person must have this document before flying to the United States. To do so, you will have to fill out the online form and pay the processing fee to validate your order. An ESTA authorization for a child is not free, just like an adult authorization, and is the same price.
Note: In order to apply for an ESTA for a child, the child must have a valid passport in his/her name.
How long does it take to get the ESTA?
First of all, it is important to note that an ESTA authorizes you to stay in the United States for a maximum of 90 consecutive days. If you are still in the U.S. after this time, you may be subject to legal action.
If you lose your paper ESTA, don’t worry! The travel authorization is electronic and recorded in the U.S. Customs system, which can be viewed on a computer upon arrival.
When your ESTA application is accepted, it can take up to 72 hours for your authorization to be issued, but in most cases, a few minutes are enough. In general, it is advisable to fill out the form no later than 3 days before your flight to be sure to obtain your ESTA before your departure.
Your travel authorization will be valid for 2 years from the day you obtain it. During this period, you may make multiple trips to the United States using the same ESTA document, provided that each trip does not exceed 90 days. Once your authorization expires, you will simply have to apply for a renewal.
The ESTA is an official document issued by the American government and is therefore subject to specific conditions of issuance.
To put all the chances on your side, it is important to respect all the rules related to obtaining the ESTA as well as its validity period. Failure to comply with the rules may result in your application being denied.