Working in the USA with an ESTA application

The United States is not a destination of choice only for holidays. The country also attracts many French people due to employment opportunities. However, it is less difficult to travel to the country for tourism than to work there. Whereas in the first case an ESTA application is sufficient, in the second case it is necessary to have a work visa. Obtaining your electronic travel authorization may however be a springboard for employment, with the responsibility for you to subsequently initiate the process of obtaining a visa to practise legally.

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ESTA application, a springboard to work in the USA

With your ESTA you will be able to stay in the USA for a period not exceeding three months. This is a relatively new system that allows nationals of countries as part of the visa waiver program to be able to travel to the United States without going through a traditional visa application procedure. The application is made online, a simple form must be filled in and the fees paid for it to be taken into account.

However, this compulsory formality is reserved for tourist trips. This is the only authorization you will need to enjoy with peace of mind the wonders of the country, some of which are presented on Except in this case, this authorization does not give you the right to practice in the USA, whether it is small jobs or a real job.

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However, an ESTA application can be a springboard for working in the USA. Once on site, you can then try to make contacts or find job offers. It is possible to apply for those corresponding to your profile. A job found, you will need to return to France and start the steps with your employer to apply for a work visa.

ESTA application, steps to obtain a work visa

Working with ESTA is risky. It does not matter the activity when it can be given a market value. If the authorities notice this, except in exceptional cases, you may be refused any type of visa in the future. It is therefore preferable to comply with the law and obtain a work visa before practicing any paid profession in the United States.

As you can see here, there are several types of visas that give the right to employment. However, the H1B visa is most requested. For getting it the first step is for the employer to make an application via Form I-129. In case of approval, he will receive the form I-797, which is equivalent to work authorization, which is responsible for sending it to the candidate so that he can effectively apply to the American Embassy in France.

Unlike ESTA several documents must accompany the application. A valid passport, a recent photo of identity, the confirmation page of Form DS-160, the original of Form I-797 and various other supporting documents. A medical interview may be required, but in any case it is necessary to conduct an individual interview. These steps taken, the precious sesame can then be granted to you.

An ESTA application is not enough to be able to work in the USA legally. To do this you will need a work visa which corresponds to the employment to be exercised. The duration of the various visas is limited, but does not prevent the holder from initiating steps to obtain a permanent work visa.

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