In 2008, the United States embarked on the establishment of the ESTA visa waiver program. It aims above all to secure the flights or sea travel of all foreigners who want to go there. The United States, for then, has not made it mandatory worldwide since only 40 countries participate so far in 2022. Most are European countries like Switzerland or France. There are also some Asian countries.
What about ESTA for Switzerland?
Switzerland now participates in the visa waiver program set up by the US government. As a result, these nationals can use it at any time if they meet the conditions required for ESTA. The rules are always the same for Switzerland as for the 40 participating countries. The reason for the trip is important since it is limited to trips for tourism or business.
The maximum duration for a trip is 90 days . It is impossible to board an aircraft or ship if your ESTA is pending. If your ESTA request has been refused, you must apply for a visa at the embassy.
The mandatory biometric passport to be able to obtain an ESTA
One of the reasons why not all countries can participate in the exemption program is the passport. Indeed, the ESTA requires the possession of a machine-readable passport. The ideal is obviously the biometric passport. It is the most secure passport, put into circulation until today. But there are also other alternatives such as the electronic passport. What should be avoided the most are temporary or emergency passports. These types of passport are not admissible for an ESTA application . There is also the optical passport, but you have to check if your optical passport was issued before October 26, 2005.
Is there a form to fill out to obtain an ESTA?
Yes and you will only find it online only. To help you fill it out, there are now specialized sites dedicated to submitting your form. Administrative costs included, the rates of these service providers vary between €55 and €79. It all depends on the services they offer. But in general, it is especially at the level of the follow-up of your file that they intervene.
At the end, they notify you about the final status of your application. The form is quite long and it is divided into 6 main categories which concern your marital status, your passport, questions relating to your trip , your medical and legal history especially vis-à-vis the United States, payment and end.