How to complete the ESTA?

Before leaving for the USA, it is imperative for all travelers to obtain a travel authorization. Indeed, one does not travel to the United States of America as one travels to the Schengen area. A simple identity card is not enough. Not only the tourist must have a valid passport, but in addition, he must meet some requirements to benefit from the ESTA authorization .

To see more clearly, we will first focus on the importance of properly completing the ESTA, before revealing the information that will be requested from you in the online form.

The importance of completing the ESTA document correctly

ESTA form
ESTA form

Before completing an ESTA, it is important to determine if you are eligible.

Who is the ESTA form for?

ESTA is one of the security measures put in place following the September 11 attacks. Obtaining it is thus subject to specific obtaining conditions.

Travelers must:

  • have a biometric or electronic passport;
  • be from a member country of the VWP (Visa Waiver Program) which is an American visa waiver program, subject to restrictions as to certain dual nationalities;
  • travel to the USA, by air or sea, for a tourist stay, a business trip or simply transiting there;
  • provide for a temporary stay (90 days maximum).

If one of the above criteria does not apply to you, there is no need to complete the ESTA. Go to the US Embassy instead to apply for a USA visa.

Why should you be careful when filling out the online application?

When you complete your application for authorization to stay in the USA, you must be vigilant and honest.

Vigilance is required, because the ESTA is obtained following an online request. The form to be completed is automatically checked by electronic systems. Thus, a simple inconsistency such as a typing error, for example, constitutes sufficient reason for an ESTA application to be refused. The most frequent error is in the passport number or the choice of surname to register for a married woman (wife’s or maiden name).

Honesty is involved in the questionnaire completing the ESTA form. You are asked a series of questions and the answer expected by the American authorities, for your request for authorization to be validated, is no. Granted, the US government can’t necessarily know if a lie has slipped in, but if found out you risk prosecution and inadmissibility.

Information to be completed in the ESTA form

Filling out an ESTA is like filling out an online form. You have the option of filling out the ESTA form on the official US government website or filling out a simplified form on a private site. The private site also offers you personalized assistance to complete your ESTA correctly.

Your personal information

Filling out an ESTA means providing all of your personal information ranging from your civil status, to your contact details, including the identification of your parents and the details of your employment. It is also requested that you transmit your passport data: passport number, date of issue and expiry. Since the arrival of the Coronavirus, information on your state of health has been reinforced to know your vaccination status.

Your stay in the USA

It is not necessary to purchase your plane ticket before applying for ESTA, as your flight information is not requested. You must determine whether the authorization request concerns a transit or a stay. In the case of a stay, an address in the USA is requested as well as an emergency contact.

We remind you that the ESTA has a maximum validity period of 2 years, during which you can make as many short stays as you wish. We therefore advise you to apply for an ESTA for a stay and not a simple stopover, especially since the field relating to the address on site can be modified at any time.

Your current situation

The series of closed questions, already mentioned above, aims to determine whether you represent a threat to American internal security. The questions mainly relate to your state of health, your criminal record, your drug use, your membership in a criminal network, your past stays in a high-risk country, etc.

After completing the ESTA, you must pay the fees required to validate your application. A response will reach you within 72 hours.