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I am a French citizen and I am going to USA to work with a company during a Toy Fair event. The job is not contractual and not paid directly. The company covers my travel and accommodation costs. I will stay in the USA for about a week.

Do I need a visa for such a travel?

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2 Answers

up vote 9 down vote accepted

No, you don't need a visa to visit the US.

A French citizen can visit for 90 days for business or leisure without obtaining a visa. What you need is a travel authorization ("ESTA"), that you can apply for online.

You can apply at the USCBP ESTA website. There is a $14 fee.

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Indeed, a good article in french about the ETSA program can be found here –  pinouchon Dec 7 '11 at 14:27
    
you're wrong. He specifically mentioned a BUSINESS trip, those do not fall under the Visa waiver program. –  jwenting Dec 8 '11 at 6:10
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You're wrong. From the ESTA page: "You plan to travel to the United States for business or pleasure." –  victoriah Dec 8 '11 at 14:42
    
you need ESTA clearance for both business AND pleasure, in addition to any visa you may also need. –  jwenting Dec 14 '11 at 7:31
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@jwenting that is not correct. An ESTA is NOT required if you hold a visa. An ESTA is required only if you using the Visa Waiver program (which only covers certain things - it does cover some categories of business travel, but not typically not 'work'). –  Andrew Ferrier Sep 14 '12 at 19:12
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Yes, for business travel (which this is) you're going to need a business visa (NOT a tourist visa).
You may or may not also need a work permit (especially if the company is a US company, unlikely if it's a French company and all you're doing is representing them to potential US customers). The US embassy or consulate nearest you should be able to give you a definite answer.

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This contradicts the other answer and what ESTA's site seems to say... –  Ankur Banerjee Dec 8 '11 at 10:24
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in that case things have changed. My father travelled to the US extensively on business and always (even for a visit of occasionally only a few hours) would need a business visa. In the end the embassy just handed him an unlimited business visa, so he didn't have to go to them every other week for a fresh one. –  jwenting Dec 14 '11 at 7:31
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