Eligibility questions on the ESTA form

You want to prepare your trip to the United States of America as soon as possible and obtain theESTA. The ESTA form is often considered more accessible and easier than the US visa, which is true. However, it requires that you meet certain conditions for obtaining it and that you do not make any mistakes. What are the ESTA questions? How is the online form made up? Our answers here.

What are the ESTA questions on the form?

The ESTA eligibility questions are closed questions and therefore require a single yes or no answer, without any justification.

The ESTA questionnaire asks about your medical and/or legal history and may seem straightforward and surprising. However, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has included these questions as a security measure, so don’t be surprised and answer truthfully. Here are some examples of questions on the ESTA form:

  • Do you suffer from a physical or mental illness?
  • Have you ever been arrested or convicted of a crime that caused serious damage or harm to property, persons or government authority?
  • Are you currently seeking employment in the United States or have you been employed in the United States in the past without the necessary prior government approval?
  • etc.

It is true that answering the ESTA closed questions is an important step. However, it is not the only step in the online document. In fact, the ESTA form is divided into three parts: the applicant’s data (your passport data), the traveler’s information (your reasons for traveling to the USA) and the closed ESTA questionnaire.

ESTA questionnaire: how to prepare?

In order to obtain an authorization approved by the American authorities, the three parts of the ESTA form must correspond to the eligibility criteria established by the American government.

First of all, before you go to the official government website or to a private website to fill out the form, we advise you to verify that you meet these mandatory criteria:

  • you are a national of one of the 40 member countries of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP);
  • you wish to stay in the USA for 90 days maximum;
  • You wish to travel to the USA for a tourist stay, a business trip or a stopover;
  • you have a valid passport.

If you do not meet these criteria, we advise you to apply for a visa. The process is more tedious since it requires an appointment at the American embassy (or consulate general), but will allow you to have more rights in the United States. If these conditions are met, let’s look at the constitution of the online form containing the closed questions of the ESTA.

The traveler’s personal data

This part is the first step of the form and requires that you simply copy your personal data as they appear on your passport (address, surname, first names, date of birth…).

Be aware that your biometric or electronic passport will be the key element of your trip. Without an electronic or biometric passport, it is impossible to fill out the ESTA questionnaire correctly and therefore to leave for the USA.

Similarly, if your ESTA authorization has already expired, you will need to renew your ESTA with the new passport data.

Do not attempt to defraud, as customs uses sophisticated electronic systems to read your ESTA linked to the passport number. This way, the IT department automatically detects whether the information on the two documents matches or not.

Reasons to travel to the United States

For this step, you must indicate the reasons why you wish to travel to the United States (tourist stay, business trip or transit). If your goal is to stay in the United States (in the case of tourist or business travel), you will have the opportunity to indicate the coordinates of your accommodation in the United States, but this step is not mandatory.

Please note: If you are not sure which hotel or accommodation to choose in the USA, you can change your residence address even after you have received your ESTA.

ESTA questions

The third and last step concerns the closed questions of the ESTA form, which we detailed in the previous paragraph. Once the questionnaire is completed and the fees paid, you will receive a response from the U.S. authorities within 72 hours.

However, receiving ESTA authorization does not mean that you can enter the United States. When you land, only the customs officer is in charge of judging your eligibility. To maximize your chances of gaining access to American soil, we advise you to have your round-trip plane tickets and to use an airline recognized by the American authorities.