The ESTA is an electronic document that, in certain cases, is required for individuals wishing to travel to the United States. The application is made online on a website specialized in the electronic authorization system.
The application includes several questions that will allow U.S. authorities to judge whether the applicant can enter the United States without risk – social or medical – to U.S. citizens.
The uses of the ESTA
This document is now required for all arrivals in the USA, whether by plane, boat or car from abroad. It allows the applicant to stay in the United States for less than 90 days.
This electronic authorization is similar to a visa, but will only be operational in certain cases and for a limited time. Unlike a visa, this authorization is only required under the Visa Waiver Program.
ESTA IS MANDATORY SINCE 2022 for land access to the United States
For non-local individuals entering the United States by land from Canada or Mexico, the ESTA application is mandatory since May 2022.
Previously, travelers could simply complete the I-94W form. This document allowed to enter the USA before 2022 by land for a maximum stay of 90 days in the USA. Note that when crossing a land border, cars must go through customs, via a queue.