What is an ESTA declaration?

If you intend to travel to the USA, it is necessary to obtain an ESTA declaration. But what is this document, which has been mandatory since 2009, and how to obtain it?

Definition of ESTA

ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) is a travel authorization created under the “Visa Waiver Program” or VWP. This program aims to facilitate exchanges between the United States and the following countries :

AndorraHungaryNew Zealand
AustriaItalyCzech republic
BruneiJapanSaint Martin
South KoreaPolandSlovakia
FinlandMalta Israel (since 2023)
List of member countries of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program

These countries all have a high level of security in common. Citizens of the various countries in the program need only apply for ESTA authorization to travel to the United States. The ESTA authorization is considered a visa waiver, since it is no longer necessary to obtain a visa in order to travel to the United States for tourism, business or even for a simple transit.

The ESTA travel authorization is considered a pass, but it does not guarantee you access to the United States. Customs officials at the airport of your final destination determine whether or not you are allowed to stay in the United States. Of course, without an ESTA declaration, you cannot stay in the USA.

How do I make an ESTA declaration online?

No more than 72 hours before your trip, you must complete your ESTA application. The latter is done online by filling out a declaration form.

In order to apply online, you can go to the U.S. government website.

Here are some tips for successfully completing your ESTA form:

For those who are stressed about getting the form wrong, you can turn to a private company if you wish. There are several of them and they are made up of professionals who will offer you personalized assistance in filling out the ESTA form. This way, if there are any errors, they can be corrected before submitting the ESTA application. You will also have the possibility to contact them for any question by e-mail or by live chat.

What are the reasons for an ESTA refusal?

There are several reasons why an ESTA cannot be issued:

NB: an ESTA application is never free because of the application fee. You will have to pay directly by credit card by making your request online. The price has been US$21 since 2022.