Is the ESTA equivalent to a visa?

To enter the United States, travelers must obtain prior authorization. Several administrative authorizations are possible to travel to the United States: Possessing a Green Card or a visa, or having obtained an electronic travel authorization ESTA.

For a stay of less than 90 days in the USA: It is not necessary to obtain a visa. You can request an authorization in a few minutes by clicking on the online form.

What are the differences between the ESTA and the visa?

The ESTA and the visa are two administrative authorizations to travel to the United States. The two authorizations are different, here are their differences:

ESTA authorization: You can obtain authorization by filling out an ESTA form directly on the Internet. The main features of ESTA are:

The American visa: it requires a longer and more expensive procedure. Unlike the ESTA, which is mainly intended for tourists, the visa comes in several versions:

The list of different visas for the USA is long. There are as many visas as there are reasons to travel to the United States. The price and the duration of validity of the visa depend on the reason for your trip, but count on a minimum fee of 160 € and sometimes several months of waiting before getting an answer.

How to obtain an ESTA or visa?

To obtain a USA visa, you must apply online at and then you will need to make an appointment at the U.S. Embassy for your visa.

ESTA is much easier to obtain. The ESTA application is only done online. The ESTA processing time is 72 hours maximum. This is possible directly on the official American ESTA website. They offer a form in all languages and a set of online content to help you in your process.