For tourist or short-term business stays not exceeding 90 days, a new electronic travel authorization system, called ESTA, has been implemented by the American administration. This authorization is valid for nationals of some 40 countries in Europe and Asia , allowing them to stay or transit through the USA without a visa. First of all it is important to know what this system really consists of?
Who can benefit from the Visa Waiver Program?
ESTA is a travel authorization application system, which consists of providing all the information concerning the traveler wishing to enter the territory of the United States digitally. It is an integral part of the visa waiver program initiated by the American administration in order to facilitate the formalities of entry into the USA for certain countries, more precisely about thirty European states including France, Switzerland, Belgium and 5 Asian countries.
However, the inclusion of your country in the list of beneficiaries of the program is only one of the conditions to be met in order to obtain ESTA . The other conditions are the possession of an electronic or biometric passport, the presence of a return plane ticket or a travel document attesting to the duration of passage on American soil not exceeding 90 days and financial documents.
Apply for ESTA for a transit
Transit in a country to go to another final destination, even if it only lasts a few hours, is comparable to a short stay; hence the obligation to have an authorization to enter the country concerned. Travelers who must transit through American territory are subject to the same regime as a normal traveler. They just have to fill out an online application, on specialized sites authorized to provide the official ESTA form. This new procedure is very fast as responses can be received within minutes of submitting the completed form.
However, to compensate for any errors, it is advisable to apply at least three days before the scheduled date to enter American territory. Once obtained, the ESTA is valid for two years, renewable, and some of the information entered can be modified at any time. For France, specialized sites offer ESTA forms in French, if obtaining the travel authorization is no longer free since September 2010, the price is not the same for each site because each one takes a file fee. different depending on the services provided.