All about the ESTA questionnaire

When you want to travel to the United States for vacation or business, you can benefit from a travel authorization called ESTA. This electronic authorization was introduced as part of the Visa Waiver Program.

To obtain your ESTA, simply click on the online form.

A questionnaire in 3 parts

Introduced in January 2009, the ESTA questionnaire is a pre-authorization to enter the United States, but it does not guarantee entry into the USA. It is in this sense that it differs from the visa, the final decision being taken by the U.S. customs, or more precisely the immigration service when you disembark.

The application for travel authorization is completed exclusively online, and the mandatory ESTA fee must be paid by credit card.

The ESTA questionnaire is composed of 3 distinct parts, each allowing the American authorities to establish if the applicant meets all the criteria to enter the USA.

The traveler must first fill in his personal information such as his name, first name, home address, reason for his stay, etc. The second part focuses on the information on the applicant’s passport. The authorities can thus ensure that the latter will be valid for the entire duration of the stay + 6 months after the return date. Finally, closed questions must be answered regarding his health status, his criminal record and his possible terrorist involvement.

Although the information to be provided in the ESTA questionnaire may seem very personal, it is important to remember that you must answer it as honestly as possible in order not to be worried when you arrive at the American border.

ESTA questionnaire completed and then?

You will receive your authorization within 72 hours after paying your ESTA online. This is the maximum amount of time that U.S. authorities say they will take to process an application. Most of the time, the answer is given the same day. However, it is better to start as soon as possible. Sometimes your application will be in ESTA pending status for up to 3 days.

Note: Please make sure that you meet all the requirements for ESTA eligibility before you start the application process.

Without your validated ESTA form, you cannot travel to the United States. But don’t worry, if your ESTA application is denied, you can submit a new one 10 days later. You can also turn to another alternative such as the B2 tourist visa. The process will be more costly and time consuming.

Rest assured, filling out the ESTA questionnaire is simple. ESTA authorizations are very often refused due to a data entry error or erroneous information.