Let us start with the main term. ESTA stands for "Electronic System for Travel Authorization". We have already talked about the exemption of VISA ESTA in a previous article, so we will only talk about it here a little bit more. In short, it is an exemption from VISA. A system put in place by the U. S. authorities that allow citizens of 37 countries to travel to the U. S. for a maximum of 90 days to do business or tourism (work bans).

Authorization granted

Most of the time after submitting your ESTA application, you will receive an authorization with the words "Authorization Granted" on it. However, this does not mean that you are allowed to enter the U.S.

Only the immigration officer can decide when you leave the airplane, to allow you access or no.

Authorization Pending

Your application may also be pending. Again, we will not talk about it much either, because we have devoted an article to this subject. It means that extra time is needed to process your request. In general, this usually takes only few minutes or even hours. Just check your application few hours later and you should be granted permission.

Unauthorized travel

In rare cases, "Unauthorized travel" may be mentioned. You will need to verify that the information you have entered is correct. If this is the case, unfortunately you will not be able to know the reason for ESTA's refusal. To travel to the USA, you will be obliged to apply for VISA at the US Embassy.

Biometric passport

The biometric passport has been issued in France since June 2009. This passport contains an electronic chip, in which the digital photograph and two fingerprints of the applicant are stored.

Also, the word 'Passport' on the cover is underlined, which was not the case with the ePassport and is the only visual difference with the ePassport. The biometric passport is valid for 10 years (5 years for minors).

Only holders of biometric or electronic passports may apply for ESTA (or holders of optical reader passports issued before 26 October 2005).

Application number

Once your ESTA application is submitted, you will be assigned an application number. This number is unique and corresponds to your ESTA request. You will be asked if you wish to retrieve or update your authorization. We therefore advise you to write this number and not to lose it; in case of loss, you will have the possibility to recover it by entering your personal information (passport number, etc.).


A national is a person who originates from a foreign country and is thus protected by the diplomatic representatives of that country. For example, if you are French, but you are on American territory; then, you depend on French legislation. They say you are a French national.

ESTA expires

As a reminder, ESTA is valid for two years or until the expiry date of your passport. During the two-year period, the permit holder may make many trips to the U. S. without renewing their application. However, if the number of round trips to the USA is too high, you may be suspected of working illegally in the United States without VISA.

First Time ESTA VISA / ESTA USA Applicant?

Update your Travel Authorization?