Have you decided to move to the United States? The U.S. government, concerned about the security of its country, requires that travelers meet certain criteria and complete the necessary U.S. entry formalities before they can leave and set foot on U.S. soil.
Thanks to the Visa Waiver Program, many French people choose to spend their vacations in the United States. The ESTA is valid for two years, allowing you to make several visits to the USA during this period. Although this document is easy to obtain, it is nevertheless essential, as are a few other USA formalities to be completed before leaving.
AMERICAN formalities to be respected
A vacation is something to prepare for, and this is especially true for a trip to the United States! The USA formalities may seem long and tedious at first, but it is not so. We present you the documents you need to gather and the criteria you need to meet in order to be able to go to the USA.
First and foremost, you must have a valid electronic or biometric passport that covers the entire duration of your stay in the United States (including your return date). As France is a member of the “Six Month Club”, it is not necessary for its nationals to have a passport valid for 6 months following the return date. Once you have this document, you can apply for a travel authorization or a US tourist visa (depending on your situation).
Please note: if you have an emergency passport, you must apply for a USA visa, regardless of the type of travel you are undertaking (tourist, professional or transit).
Finally, if you are entering the United States by land (from Canada or Mexico), you must have your passport and pay a $6 fee at the border.
Once you have completed these formalities, you can leave for the United States with peace of mind. However, the journey does not really begin until you pass through U.S. immigration.
United States formalities: passing through the American immigration service
You have all the required documents for your vacation in New York and you have completed all the formalities for your trip to the USA? Very good! When you arrive in the United States, you will go through the U.S. Immigration Service. The officer you will be presenting yourself to will ask for your passport. The blue 6059B form, also known as the customs declaration form (given on the plane or ship) is no longer required.
The immigration officer will take a picture of you and scan your fingerprints. Also, if you have a travel authorization, it is important to remember that it only concerns your travel and not your entry into the United States. In other words, it means that you are allowed to present yourself at the U.S. border without being guaranteed to cross it. But rest assured, if you have filled out your application correctly and honestly, there is no reason for the officer to deny you entry into the United States.
Finally, remember that if you are only transiting, you are not exempt from US formalities: you will go through the same control but will use a lane dedicated to transit travelers.