How to complete an ESTA form?

How to complete an ESTA form?

Are you planning to go to the USA soon and need an ESTA document ? To obtain your residence permit, you must first complete an online form, called the ESTA form. Although this formality is not complicated, it still requires a certain rigor. Indeed, at the slightest error appearing on the form, the American authorities may refuse your ESTA application. Now find out everything you need to know about the ESTA form, to travel to the United States with peace of mind.

First step to complete the ESTA form: bring a valid passport

To complete an ESTA form, the traveler is systematically asked to have a valid passport. Two types of identity documents are accepted: the electronic passport and the biometric passport. If your passport ever expires within six months of your boarding date, customs services may reject your ESTA application. To avoid this situation, simply apply for a passport renewal. When your town hall has issued your new passport, this time you can apply for a temporary residence permit.

Where to complete the ESTA USA form?

As its name suggests, the ESTA ( Electronic System for Travel Authorization ) is an electronic travel authorization, that is to say, it is only obtained online. Two types of websites provide access to the ESTA form:

  • the official website of the US government;
  • private sites specializing in this residence permit.

It’s up to you to choose the desired site, it doesn’t matter much about the ESTA form. The latter is indeed always structured in the same way.

Filling out the ESTA form: entering information

The ESTA form is made up of three parts.

Traveler data

To start, the traveler is asked to communicate the main information of his passport. Note that the American administration insists on the fact that the data entered in this part must be strictly identical to those appearing on the passport.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of the information requested in this section:

  • marital status ;
  • passport number ;
  • date of issue ;
  • Issuing country ;
  • expiration date ;
  • parent’s name;
  • personal details ;
  • e-mail address ;
  • information about your current (or former) employer.

Once you have completed this first part of the ESTA form, you will have to detail the conditions of your trip to the USA.

Information about staying in the USA

In this section, US Customs and Border Protection simply wants to make sure that you are not planning to go to the US to work, intern or study. You will therefore need to provide the reason for your stay, an address on site and the details of an emergency contact.

Then comes the last step of the ESTA form: the questionnaire.

Eligibility questions

This part is composed of 9 closed questions, that is to say that it is enough to answer with yes or no. The topics of these questions vary, but be aware that they are all security-related. As such, you will, for example, be asked if you are subject to mental disorders or a communicable disease, if you have already had legal convictions or if you have already been refused access to American territory.

Answering yes to any of these questions means that you do not meet one or more of the U.S. Visa Waiver Program eligibility requirements. But then what if you absolutely have to go to the USA? The only alternative will be to apply for a visa at the US Embassy or US Consulate.

Completed ESTA form: what’s next?

After you have finished filling out your ESTA form, the payment window will appear in which you will have to enter your bank details in order to pay the ESTA file fees. Once payment has been made, your ESTA application will be subject to analysis by the computer systems of the DHS (Department of Homeland Security). The status of your file will be decided within a maximum of 72 hours.

If you have verified that you meet the ESTA eligibility requirements, your online application will most likely be approved. From that moment, you are officially authorized to leave for the USA without a visa for a maximum of 90 days, within the framework of a tourist stay, a business trip or a transit.

How to update your ESTA form?

Updating the ESTA form is only possible under certain conditions. First, the timing of the update will determine what information can be updated on the ESTA form. If you have not yet paid the processing fees related to your request, you will be able to freely modify all the information. On the other hand, if you have already paid the requested amount, only two pieces of information will be modifiable: the address of residence in the USA and your e-mail address. If you want to update other information, you will have no choice but to fill out an ESTA form again and pay the application fee once again.