All travelers who want to enter the United States must apply for the ESTA, an online license issued by the United States Department of Immigration. Valid since 2008, ESTA is the abbreviation of the Electronic System of travel authorization.
The US Department of Homeland Security (“Homeland Security”) administers “the Visa Waiver Program (VWP)”. This replaces form I-94W (the green form) and allows travelers from VWP participating countries to apply for a permit
To enter the United States before embarking. To obtain this permit, VWP travelers are required to apply to the ESTA, the on-line authorization issued by the Visa Waiver Program.
ESTA is therefore a system that determines whether a visitor is eligible to enter the United States. The information is then transmitted to the Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS), which is used by airlines, allowing them to
To authorize the embarkation of the visitor. ESTA allows travelers to remain in the United States for up to 90 days and is reusable within 2 years of approval (unless the passport
expired). To be valid, the ESTA document must be marked “Approved Approval”.
The ESTA is a document that can be obtained much faster than a visa. Indeed, while for the visa one has to go to the American embassy by appointment, the ESTA is realized in a few minutes, from a computer.