If you are traveling to the United States from Switzerland, Your trip will be facilitated by the Visa Waiver Program. Because the latter allows you to travel to the US without a US visa usually required. This program was set up in early 2009 in order to make it easier both for travel and for purely security purposes.
In fact, every traveler traveling from Switzerland will be required to complete an Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) form.
It is easily found on the internet and concerns a specific list of countries, including Switzerland. ESTA works with new generation passports. They must be either biometric or electronic, established by the traveler’s country of residence. In your case: Switzerland. If you do not have such a passport, it will be advisable to have one, as soon as possible. As soon as it is created, you can fill in the ESTA form on the internet. A validation of the US government security services will follow, after a few minutes.
Not all countries of the world are part of the ESTA program. It is therefore necessary to verify the list made available by the American authorities. Some countries not included in the exemption program are still required to have a standard visa at the US Embassy in their country of residence. A US visa application is still valid, however, if you are a Swiss citizen and your trip exceeds 90 days.
This completed form allows the US authorities to verify in every detail the identity, reasons for travel, dates and US cities crossed. All this for a purely security purpose, traceability in some way.
It should be noted that with the correct passport, it is necessary to enter this ESTA travel authorization on the Internet with at least 72 hours in advance.
The ESTA validation allows you to take the plane or the boat but does not necessarily allow you to tread the American soil. But it remains mandatory in all cases.
It still remains much simpler and quicker to get than the usual united states visas.
This new approach, which dates from 2009, was introduced with the aim of reinforcing the security checks of visitors entering the United States.
Visas for the US have always existed but now apply to long-haul travelers.
It is possible, however, even for brief stays that the American authorities, for reasons of their own, simply refuse you the validation of your esta. In this case, you will have to get closer to the US Embassy or Consulate in Switzerland and apply for a B1 or B2 visa, depending on the reason for your stay: if this is a professional or tourist visa.
In case your stay is actually less than three months and the esta has been validated by the US government security services, you will benefit from this same pass for a period of two consecutive years.
Regardless of the number of trips made in two years to the US, a single ESTA will be required.
On the other hand, if you travel with your spouse and children, regardless of their age, an esta form will be required for each of them.
As for entering the esta form itself, it takes less than a quarter of an hour of your time to answer all the questions. You will also know very quickly whether your request is validated or not. It may, however, be pending for 72 hours before being finally approved. If it is definitely refused, you are strongly advised to contact the United States Embassy in Switzerland to access A usual USA visa .
It is very rare that Swiss nationals are faced with a veto on the part of the American authorities. Of the 38 countries that are exempt from visa requirements, there is a very low proportion of ESTA refusals by the security services.