Planning a vacation in the USA? Whether you are a first-time traveler or a frequent flyer, as soon as you leave the European Union, you must have a passport for the United States before applying for any travel authorization or visa.
If you already have a travel authorization under the Visa Waiver Program, we remind you that the validity of your ESTA is also linked to the validity of your US passport. Also, if your authorization has expired since you received it, it will no longer be valid and you will have to reapply.
Which passport for the United States?
U.S. security checks have been tightened over the years, so that all travelers must have an electronic or biometric passport for the United States. Since 2016, machine-readable passports are no longer valid for travel to the US.
The biometric version is newer than the electronic one. To find out what type of USA passport you have, it’s very simple: just look at the cover of your document, the word “Passport” is underlined on the biometric version.
In fact, the electronic passport was put into circulation in France in 2006. It contains in digital form the information relating to the holder: names, date of birth, nationality and the number of the document.
The biometric passport has been issued in France since 2009. In addition to the information already recorded on the e-passport, it also contains the holder’s digitized photo and fingerprints.
Electronic or biometric, your USA passport is an essential document that will allow you to apply for a visa or travel authorization.
Apply for a USA passport for your trip
It is recommended that you apply for a USA passport as soon as possible, especially if you are traveling during the summer months, when applications are in high demand, resulting in longer processing times. Indeed, many travelers go to the United States in the summer, during the summer vacations.
It is issued by the town halls, sub-prefectures and police prefectures. If you are applying from abroad, it will be given to you by the embassy or consulate of your country of residence.
For a first time passport application to the USA, you will need to provide a valid identity document, two passport photos and proof of address. If you are renewing your passport, you will have to bring it back and it will be destroyed on the spot by the administrative agent.
The price of the tax stamp is currently 96 €, which you can buy in a tobacco shop for example.
Validity of the USA passport
The passport is valid for 10 years for adults (and 5 years for minors). If you are traveling to the United States, your USA passport must be valid for your entire stay. However, the english government recommends that it be valid for 6 months following the date of return from your trip to the United States.