ESTA authorization in detail
The ESTA authorization was born from a desire to strengthen the security of travel to the United States. It was created under the Visa Waiver Program and is administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The ESTA document is an authorization since it is used to determine your eligibility. The information requested, whether personal (contact information, identity) or travel-related (address of stay, duration), allows for the screening of travelers and facilitates the work of the immigration staff.
All travelers, adults or minors, must complete an application before flying or sailing to the United States, even if you are traveling to Hawaii, Oceania. Each member of a group, couple or family must therefore have their own ESTA declaration in their name and pay the corresponding processing fee. Young children are not exempted, even if they do not have a ticket.
An electronic travel authorization allows you to fly to the United States but does not guarantee you 100% of your right to enter the United States. The officer reviewing your application will determine your final eligibility.
It is of course important to note thatan ESTA questionnaire is not a visa. Thus, it does not meet the same criteria and does not give you the same rights. Similarly, an American ESTA does not authorize you to travel to Canada. To do this you will need to fill out an ESTA Canada.
An ESTA allows you several projects on the American territory. Among other things, you will be able to:
- Staying 90 days in the United States
- Transit by air or sea (for a stopover in the USA on the way to Canada for example)
- Tourism in the whole country (Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Miami..) but also Cuba
- Participate in social, musical or sports activities (on a voluntary basis)
- Enroll in courses that do not give you credit toward a university degree
- The ESTA is valid for 2 years
If you are going on a business trip, you will again be relatively free with your time as you will be able to sign contracts, attend meetings and conferences, and take advantage of short training sessions.