You are about to travel to the United States and you know that you needan ESTA authorization. But maybe you don’t know where to look or what information you need to provide for your ESTA application online? If this is the case, you will find in this article everything you need to know about the ESTA online application.
ESTA online: for whom?
First of all, are you sure you need to apply for an ESTA online before your trip to the USA? Remember that ESTA is reserved for nationals of countries covered by the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) set up by the US government. Nationals of the 40 member countries are therefore exempt from applying for a U.S. visa and therefore do not need to go to the U.S. Embassy to apply for a U.S. tourist visa.
Please note that the online ESTA is only available if you are traveling to the United States for tourism or business for a maximum of 90 days. This authorization is only required if you are entering the United States by air or sea.
An ESTA online is also required in the case of transit through the United States of America to your final destination. If you are still certain that you need to apply for an ESTA online, let’s take a look at the different ways to do so.
Where and how to apply for ESTA online?
There are several ways to apply for an ESTA online. The first is to go to the official government website, the second is to use the services of a specialized website such as our partner, so that it can take care of the procedure for you.
In both cases, you must complete an online form (the ESTA form is simplified if you go through a private site), with your passport.
Have a valid passport
Remember that you must have a valid passport to apply. For the American authorities, this means that it must be an electronic passport or a biometric passport, equipped with an electronic chip capable of storing your personal identification information (fingerprints, retinal scanner, etc.). The ESTA is linked to your passport number, and without a document that complies with the security measures required by the U.S. government, an online ESTA authorization request will simply not be possible.
The ESTA form is divided into three parts, each focusing on specific data.
The first two parts of the ESTA form
The first part focuses on your personal information. You are asked to provide your name, surname, maiden name, date and place of birth, postal address, e-mail address, telephone number, passport number, etc. Information about your professional activity is also required, such as the contact information of your employer.
The second part concerns your trip to the United States itself. In particular, you will be asked to provide contact information for the U.S. and the address of the place where you will be residing during your stay in the United States. If you do not have a contact or do not have this information yet, you can answer “unknown”.
Last part of the ESTA form
The third and final part focuses on the possible threat you pose to US homeland security, by asking you a series of closed questions (where the only possible answers are yes or no).
The questions revolve around your criminal and medical history, whether you have been denied a visa in the past, or whether you intend to commit terrorist acts once in the United States. Answer the questions as honestly as possible, but be aware that a “yes” answer on this questionnaire greatly compromises your chances of obtaining your ESTA.
If you are traveling with children, you can apply as a group for all family members. If you are unable to complete the form yourself, a third party can do so. Please be advised that you are solely responsible for the information provided on your behalf.
Once the form is completed
Once you have completed the form, all you have to do is pay the application fee. This fee is $21 on the government website. The cost of ESTA on a private site may vary depending on the level of assistance and support chosen.
Once the payment has been made, all you have to do is wait for a response from the agents in charge of checking the applications. If you are using a private service provider such as our partner, you will be notified in real time of the progress of your request. On the other hand, if you applied for ESTA online through the government website, it is up to you to regularly check the status of your ESTA application.