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Entry formalities in the United States
Unlike an expatriation project in the USA, spend your holidays there when you are a foreigner is much simpler.
In French, you can stay without a visa in the USA until 2 times 90 days per calendar year (From January 1st to December 31st) as part of a tourist or business stay.
For this, visa-free implies still to get an ESTA, to ask at least 72h before departure on the official website of the government. Without ESTA you will not be able to board and you will lose your plane ticket!
Going to Canada or Mexico does not extend your authorization to stay in the US!
Warning ! If you thought that to extend your 90-day US residence permit you had to visit a border country, you are totally mistaken.
Indeed, visiting Mexico or Canada from the US with a ESTA and 90-day tourist visa will not extend your US residence permit, for this you must visit a non-border country, see return to France, because it remains at the discretion of the customs officer.
Which credit card to use abroad?
We recommend leaving with two bank cards in the United States:
- One to pay for your trip and enjoy travel insurance, such as with an American Express card
- One second for your daily payment which does not charge foreign currency payment fees, for example with the free online bank N26.
Conditions to drive and rent a car in the USA
To drive in the United States you must absolutely be 21 years old, and to rent a car at least 25 years old. Some renters are willing to rent to guests under 25 years of age, but sometimes charge extra.
International license is not required, your French license is enough to rent a car and drive to the USA.
Driving in the USA, what license is needed?
To drive less than 3 months in the US the French driving license is enough, no need to apply for an international license! However, the latter is valid if:
- Your national driver license has at least one year old
- The driver is at least 21 years old
It can happen that some renters, and it is rare, request an international permit … we invite you to contact your rent to have no bad surprise once there. Personally, before living in the USA, I always rented my cars with my French license, I never had an international license.
Think about the plug adapters!
In the USA and Canada the catches are not the same as a lot of countries (like in Europe).