ESTA authorization: for whom?

To travel to the USA, foreign nationals must apply for an ESTA document, or failing that, an American visa. The simpler and less costly administrative procedures involved in the ESTA make it a much more attractive option for tourists. However, to qualify, certain conditions must be met. If these requirements are not met, it will be impossible for the traveler to benefit from ESTA.

Who can apply for ESTA ? That’s the question we answer in this article. Find out now if you are eligible forESTA.

Who can apply for anESTA USA?

Are you one of the privileged few who can benefit from ESTA? Who exactly is it for?

Can I apply for an ESTA visa?

ESTA, or Electronic System for Travel Authorization, was introduced by the US government in 2009, with the aim of strengthening domestic security measures. Only certain tourists can apply for ESTA.

Here are the 5 main criteria, which that will enable you to eligible and benefit from the USA Visa Waiver Program:

  1. you are from a Visa Waiver Program (VWP) country. Here is the list of countries concerned: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel (from October 2023), Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, Switzerland and Taiwan;
  2. you hold a valid biometric or electronic passport;
  3. you want to visit the United States, go on a business trip or spend a few hours in transit on American soil;
  4. you use one of the airlines or shipping companies approved by the American authorities;
  5. your stay in the USA is 90 days maximum.

Please note that minors also require authorization, and that this is not just for adults. Now that you know who can apply for an ESTA and that you fit the profile, we’ll explain how to obtain your travel authorization.

I’m eligible for ESTA to travel to the USA, how do I get it?

To obtain the ESTA, travelers simply log on to the Internet and order the authorization on the official U.S. government website. You’ll need to bring your valid passport with you, as you’ll need to provide the passport number that will be linked to your ESTA.

The online application is made using an ESTA form. This online form must be filled in carefully in order to receive authorization as soon as possible.

If you meet all the eligibility criteria, the authorization can be issued within 72 hours, and sometimes even within a few minutes.

The document is valid for two years. This allows you to visit the USA several times during this period, unless you change your passport. In this case, you must make a new ESTA application.

What if I’m not eligible forESTA for my trip to the USA?

You are not eligible for ESTA or have you received several refusals from the American authorities? You may wish to consider applying for a visa at your nearest American embassy.

You will then need to complete form DS-160, attaching passport photos and a few other documents. An interview at the U.S. embassy will determine whether you can enter the U.S. territory.