Like the traditional I-94W form, which is only available in paper format, the ESTA form is to be completed online. This greatly facilitates the procedure and allows anyone wishing to travel to the United States for a stay of less than 90 days to apply for a travel authorization without having to have a VISA.
However, while the ESTA form is much more practical, it has a major drawback: no typing errors or any other errors are allowed when filling in the form. Any clumsiness could make the verification process more tedious for the system and could lead to your request being put on hold, or even to a refusal if it is not quickly rectified.
First of all, you should know that filling out the form is not difficult, in other words, you have nothing to fear. You will not be asked for information that you do not already know and that is not within your reach. The information you will be asked to provide can be categorized into three distinct categories: your identity and passport information.
That's why you have to fill out this form yourself and make sure that you don't make a mistake, regardless of the data you enter, because obtaining your travel authorization depends on it.
Then, a series of questions to be answered with "yes" or "no". In order to establish your profile and assess whether or not you are a threat to US citizens, the questions will revolve around:
To make no mistake, take the time to read the questions carefully and don't rush your answers. Travellers do indeed tend to check "no" because they think that this will improve their profile, without realising for a second that they have read all the questions and will be held responsible for the accuracy of all the information they have provided.
To avoid errors due to misunderstanding of the question, do not hesitate to ask a third party for help in re-reading the questions and helping you with your answers.
Finally, you will need to specify your destination and flight information, as this part of the form is not mandatory. However, filling in the requested information about the number, date and time of your flight as well as the state and city you wish to travel to could help you and optimize your chances of obtaining a travel authorisation.
Although the official ESTA website is available and translated into several languages: Danish, Dutch, Czech, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, Greek, Hungarian, Estonian, Finnish, Lithuanian, Japanese, Korean, Slovak, Slovene, Latvian, Icelandic
If your level of English is low enough, you can ask for help from someone close to you who speaks or understands the language better than you do. You can also ask a travel agency or specialized agency to fill out the form for you, while ensuring that the information entered is true. In addition, in the "Help" function of the official website, you can also find specific instructions on how to fill in the form correctly.
When filling out your form, be sure to avoid typing errors: for example, make sure that you have not entered "O" instead of "0" or "1" instead of "I", because if the difference is subtle, it may well justify a refusal. If you do not realize this until too late after the request has been sent, promptly report any errors to the responsible parties.
Please note, however, that it is not possible to correct a request once it has been submitted. As a last resort, you will have to re-apply for a new application and therefore pay new fees. Updates are possible for some of the information you provide, such as your email address, phone number or destination address. If they have been modified, you will be able to rectify them without any problems without having to reapply.
The same does not apply to changes to your passport. If the information on this one has been modified or if a new one is obtained, no update is possible. You will need to reapply for ESTA.