In this case, you will need to apply for ESTA in order to obtain permission to stay, which exempts you from applying for a visa.
To find out more about the steps to be taken and the documents to be provided for your application, we suggest you find out more about applying for an ESTA in Belgium for the United States.
Is Belgium covered by ESTA?
To benefit from the ESTA visa waiver programme, one of the conditions to be met is to be a national of one of the 38 member countries of this scheme set up in 2009 by the American authorities. As Belgium is a member of this scheme, you can, if you are a Belgian national (i.e. you live in Belgium), benefit from this simplification of your procedures for obtaining a residence permit.
Of course, being a Belgian national is not the only condition for obtaining your ESTA quickly. In addition, you must have a valid biometric or electronic passport that is valid for the entire duration of your trip.
The ESTA programme is also reserved for stays of less than 90 days. If you plan to stay longer in the United States, you will need to apply for a visa on the website of the American consulate in Belgium.
What are the steps to be taken from Belgium to apply for an ESTA?
The good news about your ESTA application is that, compared to a visa application, it will only take a few minutes of your time and you will not need to travel at all. In fact, the entire process is done online. All you need to do is to be in front of a computer connected to the internet, and go to the official website or to a website such as that of our partner, where you will find an application form.
There is no need to go to a particular Belgian site.
By accessing this online form, you will be able to enter information about yourself such as your identity, passport number, and reasons for travel. You will be asked other questions to determine whether you represent a danger to American society, and you must answer them truthfully.
Once you have completed the questionnaire and paid the application fee by credit card, your application will be reviewed by the US immigration authorities who will send you their decision within 72 hours. You will not have to print your application, but it is advisable to keep your file number in order to be able to modify your file if necessary.
Finally, you should be aware that it is possible that your application may be rejected for any reason. In this case, you can reapply 10 days later, or apply for a traditional visa.
What are the conditions to be met by Belgian citizens who wish to obtain an ESTA for the United States?
Of course, as we have quickly seen above, ESTA authorisation is not available to all travellers who wish to visit the United States. Indeed, even if Belgium is a member of this scheme and its citizens theoretically benefit from the visa waiver programme, it is also necessary to meet several other conditions to benefit from it.
First of all, it is essential to have a valid Belgian biometric or electronic passport.
Several conditions must also be met with regard to the purpose of the trip to the USA, which must only be for tourism, medical or business purposes, or even a stopover or transit. Finally, it is also essential to fill in the online security form carefully and honestly. After examining the document, the border officials will decide whether or not to grant the Belgian citizen who applies for an ESTA.
Remember that in this form, you will have to answer several questions concerning your identity, your passport number, but also questions concerning your recent travels, your judicial situation or your health situation.
A simple error in the answer to one of these questions can therefore lead to a refusal by the American authorities. It is therefore essential to be very careful to answer all the items correctly without trying to modify or change the reality.
What to do if you are not eligible or if the ESTA is refused?
If you do not meet the above requirements and still wish to travel to the United States, for example for a longer period of time, to seek employment or for any other reason, you will still be able to obtain travel permission in the form of a visa.
Of course, this visa application procedure is more time-consuming than the ESTA application procedure, so it is best to avoid it whenever possible.
If your ESTA has been refused, you should first find out why. If it was a mistake made when you filled in the form, then you can reapply only 10 days after being notified of the refusal.