Citizens of all Schengen countries as well as Ireland, Australia and New Zealand can travel to the United States for tourism, transit or business without obtaining a visa, provided that they:
1. Have a valid e-passport (biometric passport) (regardless of the date of issue).
2. Obtain an ESTA authorization prior to travel ($14/person, payable by credit card on the official ESTA website).
3. Have a round-trip plane ticket or a cruise ticket (proving your exit from U.S. territory, regardless of the port of entry and exit).
4. Plan to stay for 90 days or less (the stay cannot be extended, and the visitor cannot change status, accept employment or study).
5. Present proof of solvency (credit card, traveller's cheques, etc.).
Note that a visa is required for certain categories of travellers (e.g. previous visa refusal or students). For information about visas, please refer to the website of the American Embassy in your country.
*ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) is a form that must be completed online before travelling to the United States. It provides authorization to enter the United States under the VWP (Visa Waiver Program). You will need to provide information including each traveller's first and last names, passport number, home address, etc.
* An ESTA is valid for 2 years or until the passport expires, whichever comes first.
* Since August 15, 2012, it is possible to make grouped ESTA applications on the official website and submit a single payment.
e-Passport or Visa?
An e-passport (also known as a biometric passport or digital passport) is a traditional passport that has an embedded electronic chip which contains biometric information that can be used to authenticate the identity of the passport holder. E-passports are available in all Schengen countries as well as Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. The cost and wait times vary by country.
A visa is more difficult to obtain and more expensive. It is issued only after an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in the country where you live and is valid for 10 years. Wait times for interviews can be quite long, depending on location and season. A visa is necessary if you intend to stay more than 90 days in the United States.
- The U.S. does not require an exit authorization form.
- At the land border (between Canada and the United States and between Mexico and the United States) you will be required to pay a US$6 tax, payable in cash only.
- Please note that customs clearance at the land border can be very long, as the checks are very thorough. We thank you in advance for your patience and courtesy.
AUTHENTIK ADVICE: Make copies of your passport before leaving for your trip. Keep a copy in a separate location from the original. That way, if your passport is lost or stolen, it will be much easier to get help.
IMPORTANT NOTE: These laws and regulations may change without notice. We strongly recommend contacting your embassy or consulate before planning your trip.
COVID-19: For information relating to Covid-19 and its impact on entry requirements and formalities, please refer to our blog article Travel to the U.S. and Covid-19: Everything you need to know.
What documents do I need when travelling with children?
Children under the age of 18 are considered minors and are subject to the same requirements as all other visitors to the United States. They therefore need a valid passport.
Divorced or separated parents who share custody of their children should carry copies of the legal custody documents. Adults who are not the parents or guardians of a child with whom they are travelling must have a written consent letter from the parents or guardians authorizing them to take the child on a trip out of the country. The consent letter should include addresses and telephone numbers where the parents or guardian can be reached and confirm that the child has not been abducted and is not accompanying the adults in question against their will.