In recent years, the United States government has implemented a number of policy measures to enhance the state of national security. One of the prominent policy measures that have been implemented to this effect is the introduction of an Electronic System For Travel Authorization (ESTA) for non-residents traveling to the U.S under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The Waiver Program allows nationalities of selected countries to gain admission into the United States visa-free. Currently, non-residents who are eligible for the Visa Waiver Program are required to obtain a travel authorization before they travel to the U.S.
This travel authorization is commonly referred to as an ESTA USA Visa. To get the ESTA USA Visa, a VWP eligible candidate such as France is required to apply online via the official website provided by the Department of Homeland Security and the United States Customs and Border Protection. You must provide certain crucial information during your application such as travel, biographic and financial details. This information is subsequently processed by the system to determine whether you are eligible for visa-free entry into the United States. If your application is approved, the system gives you an automated response and you can then proceed with your planned travel.
Essentially, the ESTA Visa USA for France is an added measure of security implemented by the United States government under the Visa Waiver Program that is meant to ensure eligible candidates do not pose any risk to national security. Both public and private carriers work with the Department of Homeland Security and the United States Customs and Border control to travelers under the VWP meet the necessary requirements and have a valid ESTA Visa. Non-residents from eligible countries such as French citizens are advised to apply for travel authorization at least 72 hours before time of departure.
The ESTA USA Visa is therefore more of a travel authorization than a travel document. The need for VWP candidates such as France to have this authorization before traveling to the U.S is the main reason many people call it a Visa. Citizens from countries that are not under the Visa Waiver Program are not required to get an ESTA Visa before traveling to the United States. This group of travelers falls under the compulsory Visa travel which requires that travelers must have valid USA Visas in order to be allowed into the United States.
The Electronic System For Travel Authorization (ESTA) has been around since 2009. It is good to note that If you have applied for an ESTA Visa before, your application is only valid for 2 years or until your passport expires. After this period, you are required to re-apply for an ESTA Visa. Non-residents who visit the U.S using an ESTA Visa can only stay for a maximum of 90 days. Prolonging your stay can result in you being denied entry in the future. There is however no limitations on the number of visits you can make with your electronic travel authorization.