ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) is an online facility that facilitates citizens of countries participating in the United States Visa Waiver Program to travel to the US without requiring a visit visa.
While an ESTA allows you to visit the United States without the hassle of acquiring a visa, it comes with a few stipulations regarding its validity and the circumstances under which individuals qualify to apply for ESTA.
One important aspect is the validity of ESTA. Here is a brief guide on what to do when your ESTA expires.
When does ESTA expire
When your ESTA is formally authorised, it is valid for two years beginning from the date of the authorisation. You can travel multiple times within two years. In most VWP countries, the limit is two times a year for 90 days each time, i.e., 180 days a year in total.
In any case, once the two-year period is over, your ESTA will expire, and you will have to apply for a new one. Moreover, if your passport expires even when your ESTA is still valid, your ESTA will automatically expire, too, and you will require a new one.
Therefore when you decide to travel and apply for ESTA, check your passport’s expiry date to ensure that you do not face any problem when you travel.
What to do when ESTA expires
It is important to note that ESTA does not have a renewal; you must reapply to get a new permit if you want to use the ESTA program. There is no facility for extension of the date on your existing application or renewing it, and the only option is to reapply.
To apply for a new ESTA, you will need to follow the same process as before, i.e., fill out the ESTA application, make payment and wait for the email to arrive, which may take 24 to 72 hours in usual circumstances. You can also reapply for ESTA even if there is some time remaining in your ESTA’s expiry.
What to do if ESTA expires when you are in the USA
You can go to the USA even if there is one day remaining in your ESTA’s validity period. If your ESTA expires when you are in the US, there is no need to worry, and you are not required to apply for it before leaving the country.
As long as your ESTA was not expired when you entered the United States, you should be fine. The condition also holds when you change joining flights in the US. You should have no trouble boarding if your ESTA is effective when you change the flights.
In any case, it is recommended to ensure that there is sufficient validity time in your ESTA and e-passport before you begin your travel to be on the safe side.