How to access the ESTA form from Switzerland?

If you are a Swiss citizen and wish to travel to the United States for tourism or business, you are required to apply for an ESTA online by filling in an ESTA form. To find out more about the reasons for this process and the procedure to follow, discover all our explanations and practical advice in this article.

ESTA authorization for Switzerland :

Like other countries, Switzerland is a member of the Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) program, which was introduced by the United States in 2009. This process was set up to facilitate the official procedures for Swiss nationals who wish to travel to the USA and whose stay does not exceed 90 days. It is a kind of visa waiver programme that saves you the long and tedious procedures you had to go through before.

To access the ESTA application form, simply log on to the internet and visit the official website or our partner's website where you will find a form. You will then be asked several types of questions, mainly concerning your identity and the reasons for your trip to the USA. All you have to do is answer them honestly and carefully, remembering to bring your passport number with you.

Once you have completed the questionnaire, you will be asked to pay a processing fee to validate it. Your application will then be sent to the US immigration authorities, who will review it and send you a reply by email within 72 hours. If the response is positive, you do not need to do anything else and do not have to print out any documents, although we recommend that you make a note of your file number and print out the email you receive.

An ESTA authorisation for Switzerland will be valid for two years from the date of its first validation and therefore for subsequent trips.

 

Can a Swiss person apply for an ESTA on a British website?

Yes, of course you can apply for an ESTA on an English website like the one of our partner and regardless of your nationality or country of residence, as long as this country is part of the Visa Waiver Programme as is the case for Switzerland.

The questions asked in the form are indeed the same for all.

 

Some tips for filling in the ESTA form:

To avoid mistakes that could jeopardize your trip, consider following these tips:

  • Take the time to read all the questions and answer them correctly.
  • Bring your biometric or electronic passport before you start, as well as your bank card, which you will need for payment.
  • Ideally, you should apply for ESTA two weeks before your departure date.

 

Is ESTA authorisation automatically granted to Swiss nationals?

As we have just seen, Switzerland is a member of the ESTA system, which allows travellers from this country to obtain a simplified electronic residence permit without having to apply for a visa, which is often long and time-consuming. However, this does not mean that this travel authorisation will be granted automatically by virtue of your nationality alone.

Indeed, as mentioned above, there are other conditions that must be met in order to benefit from this visa waiver programme and to access the ESTA online form. For example, you must have an electronic or biometric passport that is valid at the time of your application and that covers the duration of your stay in the USA. The length of your stay in the USA and the reason for it are also important. Remember that your stay must not exceed 90 days or 3 consecutive months to be eligible for ESTA. In addition, only travel for tourism, visits to family or friends and business travel are permitted. Under no circumstances can you use an ESTA authorisation to work in the United States during your stay.

Similarly, it is possible that, although you meet all the conditions mentioned above, the US authorities in charge of examining ESTA applications refuse to grant you this travel document. This may be because the answers you provide do not comply with US legislation and immigration rules. Unfortunately, the precise reason for this refusal will not be notified to you in the email you receive. It is up to you to find out what the problem is and whether it is worth applying for a visa.

 

What are the deadlines for obtaining an ESTA from Switzerland?

If you wish to apply for an ESTA from Switzerland, you will need to be aware of certain important deadlines related to this procedure, such as the time limit for obtaining the ESTA, the time limit for the validity of this authorisation and the authorised stay.

First of all, the time required to obtain the ESTA is very short. In fact, you will only need a few minutes to fill in the online application form. The American administration will then send you a reply within 72 hours at the most, although in reality this time frame will be even shorter.

Another important period to be aware of is the validity of the ESTA authorisation. Once you have obtained this travel authorisation, it will be valid for two years, provided that your passport does not expire during this period and that no information concerning you has changed. This means that you will be able to make several trips to the United States during these two years without having to apply for a new authorisation, provided that you continue to comply with the conditions set out earlier in this article.

Finally, and precisely among the conditions for using your ESTA, it is important to know the maximum length of stay you can have in the United States with this authorisation. The ESTA is only valid for stays of less than 90 consecutive days on American soil. If you plan to travel longer in the United States, you will not be able to use your ESTA and you will have to apply for a tourist visa or any other visa depending on the reason for your stay and its final duration.

Frequently asked questions

Where and how to obtain an ESTA in Switzerland?

There are many sites offering access to the online ESTA application form in Switzerland and elsewhere, and you will find the official site or several partners of this programme offering a form in English. However, we recommend that you use a site that offers online assistance and real support in case of problems with the form, such as the site of our partner, whose link you will find on this page.

What to do if your ESTA is refused from Switzerland?

If your ESTA has been refused, it is first important to know the reason. However, this is not indicated in the refusal email you will receive. If the refusal is due to a simple error when filling in the form, you will be able to make a new application after waiting 10 days after the refusal. If the refusal is due to an incompatibility in the conditions to be met with the ESTA, you will have to apply for a visa.

Is it better to apply for a visa or an ESTA to travel to the USA from Switzerland?

Both the visa and ESTA allow you to travel to the USA, but the ESTA has the advantage of being cheaper and much quicker and easier to obtain thanks to the 100% online procedure. However, it is reserved for Swiss tourist or business travellers who do not wish to stay longer than 90 days in the USA.