Everything you need to know about the ESTA form before traveling to the USA

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Alejandra Rangel


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Traveling to the United States: instructions for use

Who has never dreamed of exploring the United States? The huge, multi-faceted apple promises a rich and varied journey. New York, Manhattan, Brooklyn or the pearl of Florida, Miami, is full of tourist places to discover. Without forgetting the West Coast, San Francisco, Los Angeles or even Las Vegas.

But to fully appreciate the American dream, it is better to know the instructions to follow ... even before entering the territory. Here's everything you need to know to travel the USA scam-free.

No visa but the ESTA form

Certain rules must be observed in order to be able to board the plane. Before leaving, you must complete the ESTA form. This regulation has been in place since January 2009 for all travelers, tourists or workers, wishing to land on American territory.

Where can I find the form? On the US government website. Or, for those who are afraid of making a mistake, on sites that offer to help you get the precious sesame. 

The ESTA form, at what price?

The price of the ESTA form is $ 14 per person, to be paid online when registering. The form is nominative and is open to everyone. It requires personal information such as passport information or the place of arrival on site. The United States Department of Homeland Security advises complete it at least 72 hours before departure, but it is better to do it as soon as possible.

The request is valid for two years, if you wish to return several times to the United States during this period, it is not necessary to make a new form. The stay cannot exceed 90 days.

Beware of scams

If you want to travel to the United States, beware of malicious companies that offer their services for the ESTA form. There's no point in stressing out and rushing to the first site you see. By typing “ESTA form” on Google, some advertising sponsored links are often scams.

Despite their authentic appearance with American flags for example, not all of these sites are reliable. Some of these companies can charge you over $ 100!

However, everyone can get the ESTA form, except the forms filled in with mistakes or fraudulent passports. So beware of unfounded speeches on the Internet. And if you really want help, choose trusted sites like (which will take care of everything for you for $ 74).

What to know about the passport

To fly to America, the passport can be biometric or electronic but must be valid. Scanner passports are not valid, but don't worry, they can be exchanged for free for a biometric passport. Some countries impose a validity period of 6 months for the passport after the date of return. This is not the case for the United States, you can travel as long as the passport is valid during the stay.

Arrival at the airport

At the airport, travelers must go through the United States Customs and Border Protection and present the ESTA authorization. It is thanks to him that it is possible to enter the United States. However, the responses must satisfy the Customs Service.

Since 2014, the US authorities have tightened security measures for flights to the United States. Passengers should also charge their cell phones, laptops and other mobile devices before entering airport security areas.

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