Belgium, like 38 other countries in the world, is part of the ESTA program. It is a new procedure, in force since 12 January 2009, which allows Belgium to dispense with visa United States. From now on, to get to the US, Belgian travelers have only to apply for a special USA visa: ESTA USA. This approach greatly simplifies the usual procedures of the classic United States visas. Indeed, the ESTA is an on-line form which includes a list of basic questions to which you must answer. You do not have to go to the US Embassy or Consulate after making an appointment. You do not have to wait a week or more for the usual issuance of visas for the US. A few minutes after filling in your ESTA form, you will know if US domestic security authorities allow you to fly to the United States.
The ESTA allows for more flexibility and responsiveness in organizing possible trips to the United States if you are coming from Belgium.
This hybrid formula, which could be called ESTA visa, has also helped to ease congestion in American embassies and consulates in the 38 countries covered by the program.
However, a biometric or electronic passport is required to apply for ESTA. If this is not the case, it is in your interest to have a new passport drawn up. This will be compulsory at a public service counter which has a biometric station. You will then be able to make an ESTA authorization request (also known as “ESTA Authorization”) via the internet.
Everything happens very simply because you will answer questions about your identity, your reasons for staying and whether you are traveling as a tourist or a professional. The duration of your stay is very important and must be specified. If it is more than 90 days, your ESTA application will not be validated because the ESTA only applies to trips of less than three months. Beyond that, you must go to the US Embassy or Consulate and apply for a B-1 or B-2 visa.
If you live in Belgium but you are of a different nationality from that of your host country, it is important to refer to the list set up by the US government. You will be able to see if your country of nationality is among the registered countries or not. If this is not the case, you must go through the US Embassy in your usual country and have a visa issued, whether your stay is short or long.
Internal security authorities have introduced this approach in order to strengthen controls on visitors entering the United States. Using this form, they can understand and clearly understand the motivations of people visiting the USA.
If you are certain of the duration of your stay, ie less than three months, you can apply only three days before taking off.
As soon as you arrive at the airport, you will have to go before the US Customs Service. It is they who will decide whether or not you will finally be able to circulate on the territory. You will need your ESTA validation and then the approval of the US Customs, once on the spot. The approach will be exactly the same as you cross the ocean by air or by boat.
If you go ahead a little, you will know immediately if you have the right to travel to the United States. However, avoid doing it too far ahead! Indeed, the ESTA is only valid for two years. This period allows you to make as many trips to the USA as you wish if they do not exceed three months. After these two years, you will have to make an ESTA application again via internet.
Therefore, it is best before you book any airline ticket or boat for the US, to make your ESTA application. When the ticket is validated, you can compare tickets and travel dates from Belgium to the USA in peace of mind!
Do not forget that if you are leaving Belgium for another country but with a stopover in the USA a few hours before your next flight, you must also Have an ESTA in your possession . This is mandatory, even for a very short passage on the ground of an American airport.
Finally, know that children, even very small ones, must have their own ESTA. If you