ESTA for French Citizens -

ESTA for French Citizens

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France has been a member of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) since 1989. During this time, French citizens have been able to benefit from using an ESTA as travel authorization to US instead of applying for a US visa. This makes it easier for French tourists and business people to make one-off or regular visits to the US.

ESTA Requirements and Important Information

  • A biometric passport is required•Restricted to visits of up to 90 days
  • Required for travellers either flying or arriving by sea to the US
  • ESTA lasts for two years, or until passport expires
  • For tourism, business, medical or transit purposes
  • Children required to have their own ESTA
  • Can be used for multiple US visits
Application for French Citizens

Benefits of Applying for ESTA for French Citizens

Citizens from France can apply for an ESTA by simply completing an online ESTA application form , which usually takes less than 20 minutes to complete. The applicant then receives an email to confirm whether the ESTA has been approved or declined, usually within just a few hours. This process is much quicker than applying for a US visa, in the way that visitors from countries outside of the VWP must do.

As well as being a faster process, the ESTA is valid for two years (or until the passport expires). Within this time, the ESTA holder is able to make multiple trips to the US, without needing to apply for a new ESTA. The conditions are that the visit to the US is not for longer than 90 days at one time and the applicant can visit for tourism or business, but must not work whilst in the US. French citizens who are looking to work or study in the US must apply for a work or study visa instead.

The other advantage of applying for ESTA instead of a visa is that it costs less for the application fee and you will not have to travel to the US Embassy in Paris for an interview. You will not need to wait for an appointment time either, which can be one of the big delays in processing a visa.

How French Citizens Can Apply for ESTA

French citizens require a valid passport, an email address and an electronic payment card to pay the application fee. Log onto the ESTA website and complete the questions on the application form, which include personal details such as name, address and DOB. You will also need to provide your passport details, so make sure that you have that with you when you are filling the form in. Be very careful when you are filling in the application form for the ESTA, as an error could cause a delay or decline for your ESTA. It is recommended that you apply for the ESTA at least 72 hours before the time of travel to the US. This should give enough time in case there are any issues with the system or other delays in the processing of the application.

Documents Required for US ESTA

These documents are required to apply for the ESTA authorisation:

  • a valid passport,
  • a debit or credit card for paying the visa waiver fee,
  • current email address.

Once the ESTA is approved, it is electronically linked to the passport used during the application process. Also, it must be presented upon arrival in the USA. If the French passport associated with the visa waiver expires within 2 years, the ESTA will also expire. Additionally, a new US ESTA must be applied for with a new French passport if the passport is lost, stolen, damaged, or rendered invalid.

Make Sure to Have the Correct Type of Passport

Any traveler needing entry must bring an e-passport valid for a minimum of six months post the trip. If these conditions are not fulfilled, entrance may be refused.

What Are the Processing Times for the US ESTA?

The processing time for a US ESTA application is usually very fast. Most applicants receive approval within minutes of submission. However, in some cases, it may take up to 72 hours for the application to be processed, so it's important to apply well before your travel date.

How Long Can French Citizens Stay in the US Under ESTA?

French citizens can stay in the United States for up to 90 days with an ESTA obtained through the VWP. It's essential to adhere to this time frame and exit the country before the 90 days are up to avoid any complications with future visits.

Updating Your ESTA: When Will I Need a New ESTA?

If you experience any of these situations, you must apply for a new ESTA:

  • Your passport has expired
  • You have obtained a new passport
  • You have changed your name
  • You have changed your gender
  • Your answers to the ESTA eligibility criteria have changed

What to do if ESTA is Declined

If the application is declined, French citizens may be able to apply for a US visa instead. To do this, they should complete the DS-160 form and arrange an interview at the US Embassy.

US Embassy address in France:

U.S. Embassy Paris
2 avenue Gabriel
75008 Paris

Do Children Need Their Own ESTA Approval?

Yes, Esta must also be approved for children. Parents apply for ESTU on behalf of their children. It is very important to ensure that all the information listed in the application is accurate and up-to-date to avoid problems with the child's travel. A fee is charged for each ESTA application for a child.

Do Dual Citizens of France and the United States or Canada Need an ESTA too?

Individuals with dual citizenship in the United States or Canada are not required to request an ESTA or a visa when visiting the USA.

What Are the Differences Between an ESTA and a US Visa?

Although ESTA and the traditional visa have similarities, there are also some differences.

ESTA is faster and easier to get than a visa. The disadvantage is that it can only be used for specific purposes for a period that is at most 90 days.

The visa provides greater privileges and guarantees that your entry to the USA is approved, which is different from the case with ESTA.

Under What Circumstances Will a French Citizen Need a Visa Instead of an ESTA?

Here are the situations when a visa is needed instead of an ESTA:

  • Individuals whose trip will exceed 90 days;
  • French citizens who plan to study or work in the USA;
  • Those arrested or convicted of a criminal offence;
  • Any trip that is not for tourism or business purposes.
Benefits of ESTA for French citizens:
  • Travel authorization for visits of up to 90 days
  • Fast processing time
  • Use for tourism, business, medical or transit in US
  • Easy and fast application process
  • Use mobile or desktop to complete form
  • Multiple visits to US allowed
Where Can I Find More Information About ESTA For French Citizens?

Ensure you meet all the criteria and have the necessary documentation by reading ESTA FAQs and ESTA Requirements pages. You can also ask all questions to the support team via e-mail at:

Written by Abisola Fikayomi

Abisola is an accomplished writer interested in US Travel, immigration, passports and visas. She’s passionate about exploring new places and cultures and willing to share her experiences, expertize and findings with others. That is her primary drive for specialising in this industry.


Yes, French citizens need an approved Esta to travel to America. The process of obtaining Este is quick and easy.
French citizens need a visa only if their trip lasts more than 90 days or is for a purpose not covered by Esta. In all other cases, Esta is recommended instead of a visa.
If they meet all the necessary conditions, French citizens can travel to the USA only with an ESTA, without a visa. They must have a valid passport that meets the VWP criteria.
You will receive a confirmation email with a link when your ESTA application is approved. From this link, you can download and print your ESTA authorisation.