Travel to the USA: what are the formalities (passport, Esta, visa...)?

Verified 20 October 2022 - Directorate for Legal and Administrative Information (Prime Minister)

Traveling to the United States for a stay of less than 90 days depend on the type of passport you have.

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You have a classic passport

If you have a French passport validNo, you don't need a visa.

However, if you have dual nationality with some countries or that you traveled there after February 2011, you must be in possession of a visa affixed to your French passport by the US authorities before your departure. Contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate prior to your departure.

However, before you leave, you must request a electronic travel authorization (Esta).

Generally, the decision is made within 72 hours of your request.

Application for travel authorization to the United States (Esta)

Issuance of the Esta costs $21.

The Esta is valid 2 years and allows you to travel to the United States several times without needing a new authorization. If your passport expires before this period, the authorization is valid only until its expiry date.

Please note

now, if you arrive in the United States by road or by train (via Canada or Mexico), the Esta is required. For example, you must receive an Esta before applying for admission to the USA and continue to pay the I-94W fee of $6, unless you enter the 90-day admission period.

You got a passport in an emergency

You need a visa regardless of the type of trip (tourist, professional or simple transit on American soil)

To get it, you have to do the application to the U.S. Embassy.

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