Coming to the United States: Do I Need a Visa?
PTo go to the United States, it is not mandatory to have a visa. Depending on your situation, you must apply for a visa or an ESTA application. Visa and ESTA are therefore an authorization to enter American soil.
When to apply for a visa?
A visa is an official document that allows foreigners to legally enter a country, it is issued by the competent authorities of that country. The need for a visa to travel depends on the nationality of the foreigner, the country of destination and the purpose of the trip.
In the case of a citizen of the Schengen area, in particular a French citizen who intends to go to the United States, a visa is mandatory in the following cases:
- The traveler wants to stay more than 90 days in the United States;
- The traveler plans to live or study in the United States;
- The traveler wants to work for an American company;
- The traveler traveled to Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Libya, Iran, North Korea or Iraq after March 1, 2011;
If you are in one of the following cases, be aware that there are different types of visas for the United States. To avoid your application being refused, it is imperative to make an application corresponding to the type of visa that is appropriate for your situation.
What type of US visa matches my situation?
When to apply for an ESTA?
The ESTA is a travel authorization issued by the United States Homeland Security and Immigration Services. Much simpler than a visa, this document is essential for enjoying a short stay in the United States.
A traveler is eligible for an ESTA application if:
- He has a passport from a country that is a member of the “Visa Waiver Program”. The member countries of the Schengen area, including France, are part of this programme.
- He intends to leave for a tourist or business trip.
- The duration of your stay does not exceed 90 days.
Please note that even for transit or correspondence through the United States, an ESTA is required to be able to board the plane. Without this document, the airline and customs services may deny you access. ESTA is also required for boating. ESTA is mandatory for adults and children.
How to apply for ESTA?
Are you planning a trip to the United States? Do you meet all the criteria to be eligible for ESTA? However, is this procedure totally unfamiliar to you? Rest assured, the ESTA procedure is a much simpler and cheaper procedure than a visa application procedure.
The application is made online via a fill-in form and does not require you to go in person to a US consulate. . The ESTA is therefore not a physical document like a Visa, but a digital travel authorization issued by the United States.
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What is the duration of an ESTA?
From the day the ESTA is granted, it is valid for two years. During this period of validity of the ESTA, the traveler has access to an unlimited number of trips to the USA as long as their duration does not exceed 90 consecutive days and that the traveler returns to their country of origin between each trip.
In the event of expiry of the passport associated with the ESTA obtained, it will also expire.
How long does it take to get ESTA?
An ESTA application takes approximately three days. However, we advise you to place your order two weeks before your departure to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
For last-minute travelers, you can apply for an urgent ESTA. All you need to do is check the “Urgent” box when filling out the form. However, additional costs will apply. Response times for urgent procedures are 1 hour. However, there is no guarantee as to the application’s processing time.
You now have all the information you need to complete your visa or ESTA application and make the most of your trip to the US.