The ESTA is an entry authorization to the United States territory. This document was created as part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWA). This authorization which can only be issued by US authorities is mandatory for all persons wishing to enter the country.
Does the ESTA replace a Visa ?
The ESTA has been established as a replacement for the Short Stay Visa. If you plan to travel to the United States for less than 90 consecutive days, you will not need a Visa anymore. Obtaining an ESTA will be enoughfor you to enter and exit freely, as many times as you want, in the United States during its validity.
Are all countries eligible ?
It must be noted, however, that the ESTA can begranted only for people from countries participating in the VWA program. Thirty-eight countries, including France, are currently members of this program. People from non-member countries will have to continue applying for a Visa to enter the United States.
What validity for the ESTA ?
Like the short stay Visa, the ESTA comes with a limited validity period. The authorization is valid for 2 years from the date of issue. Once this period of timeis expired, it will be necessary to apply online for a new ESTA.
The passport remains obligatory
Although ESTA replaces Visa, it is only issued to persons holding a valid electronic or biometric passport. You should present your passport and ESTA when entering the United States.