To make a road trip in the USA and Canada, you have to plan certain formalities, have the necessary documents and above all that they are valid. If you don’t have these documents, you won’t be able to enter the United States or even Canada. Here is a list of documents that you will need to have.
A valid passport
It is necessary to have with either a valid biometric or electronic passport. If you need to apply for a creation or renewal, you are required to submit your file to the Town Hall or the Prefecture if they are not equipped with the necessary device. Note that the cost of this document is 86 € and that it takes a little time to obtain it, so do not forget to do it in advance, if you plan to go abroad in the months to come.
Visa is not compulsory but AVE and ESTA compulsory
Know that as a French, you are not required to have a Visa for a road trip of less than 90 days. However if you have been to Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or even Yemen since 2011, you must apply for a Visa.
The eTA when passing through Canada
The eTA Canada is an electronic travel authorization, necessary in case of Visa exemption, if you are going to Canada, or simply in transit. This eTA is valid for 5 years, knowing that your passport must have the same validity, the price of this document is ridiculous, you will have to pay 7 dollars to obtain it. Note that this is a necessary document for Canada, but not for the United States, nor for people with a Visa.
ESTA for all travelers to the United States
The ESTA, which is an Electronic Travel Authorization System, is a document costing around € 12, which all persons from France, Belgium or even the Swiss must be in possession of, if they wish to make a tourist trip to the United States. To be valid, the ESTA must be signed with the mention “authorization granted”. It is a document for which you apply online 72 hours before your departure and which once obtained is valid for 1 to 2 years.
Have an international driving license
Obviously, if you are going for a road trip, you will need to have an international license, be aware that the application is free, but can take several months, so you have to do it in advance. It is valid for 3 years and must be presented with the French license if necessary. However, for the United States the international permit is not compulsory, except if you are passing through Georgia, which is the only state requiring this permit.
Last advice before your road trip
In order not to encounter any problems, during your trip and to always have a copy with you, it is better to have too much than not enough, it is therefore advisable:
- Make a photocopy of each of your documents
- To have a duplicate in your suitcase, but to always have the originals with you
- For more security, keep a digital version accessible even offline, via google drive for example