Do you want to live the American dream and travel to the USA? To travel to the United States, authorization is required. Less restrictive than the visa, the ESTA travel authorization is the most frequently requested. Making a request is like filling out an online form from the official US government site or through a private site.
Have you completed the form with your personal information and the data on your biometric or electronic passport (issue date, expiry date, passport number) and answered the questions about your medical and criminal history? Following the payment of the processing fees, are you awaiting a response from the American authorities?
Here, we explain the different possible situations following an ESTA USA application, how to know if your application has been accepted, but also what to do in the event of a rejected application. Happy reading and, we hope, have a good trip to the United States of America.
Where can I find the answer to an ESTA request?
You may get a response immediately, but it’s best to expect a maximum of 72 hours. The response from the US authorities will never take more than three days. Depending on whether you made your ESTA application directly on the official US government site or on a private site, the status verification process is slightly different.
To find out the status of your request following an order placed directly on the official site, simply return to this same site and click on “check individual status” (or group depending on the type of request made). You must then fill in your passport number, date of birth and application number to access your file and check whether or not ESTA has been granted to you. If you do not know the application number, fill in your passport number, country of citizenship, date of issue and expiry date of the valid passport and your date of birth.
For an order placed on a private site, an email will probably be sent to you. If this is not the case, go to your personal space or to the US government website.
The 3 possible ESTA statuses: accepted, pending, refused
Now that you have access to your file, you prepare to discover the response of the American authorities. Know that there are three possible answers. Below are the explanations.
- The ESTA request is pending : this status informs the traveler that their request is being processed and that an answer will be given to them within 72 hours. There is no need to see this as a bad sign, because this status is completely neutral and is not a harbinger of a negative response.
- The ESTA request is granted : you meet the eligibility criteria. Congratulations, that means you can organize your stay in the USA. As a reminder, only foreign nationals from a country that is a member of the Visa Waiver Program can apply for ESTA, provided that the stay in the United States (or transit) is by air or boat, does not exceed 90 days and either a tourist stay or a business trip.
- The ESTA request is refused : you cannot, in theory, take advantage of the ESTA to travel to the United States. It remains to understand the reasons for this refusal: if you are not eligible, you must apply for a visa at the American embassy, taking care to choose the American visa that corresponds to your case. If you are eligible, an error has probably crept into your form and the electronic systems have noticed the anomaly. Wait 10 days and make a new request, taking care to carefully check each of the fields of the ESTA form, or get help from a private site.
What to do with an accepted ESTA?
Having an ESTA does not exempt you from other formalities: once on American soil, you must go through customs and it is the immigration officer who will authorize your stay or not. Prepare, for example, to present your return ticket or exit ticket in the event of a stopover. No need to print your ESTA, however, as it is automatically linked to your passport.
The ESTA is valid for multiple entries during its validity. The official validity period is 2 years, but it can be less depending on the expiry date of your passport. In the event of a new passport, remember to submit a new ESTA authorization request.