ESTA validity

The electronic travel authorization ESTA for trips to the USA has a validity of two years. However, there are events that can negatively impact your ESTA validity. Learn when and why you need to apply for a new ESTA.

What is ESTA?

ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) is an electronic application process introduced by the US government to ease the entry of citizens of certain countries into the USA.

Currently, 41 countries worldwide participate in the "Visa Waiver Program" (VWP) on which ESTA is based. Therefore, citizens of 41 countries may travel visa-free to the USA after completing the digital application process.

ESTA validity period

The validity of an ESTA is generally two years (exceptions apply to travelers from Brunei and Hungary), but depends on the information provided in the application form and the conditions of your travel. The following factors will affect the validity of your ESTA:

  • Application and approval time
  • Validity of your passport
  • Complying with ESTA requirements during the trip
  • The accuracy of your information in the ESTA application
  • Your travels to other countries

Especially the last two points indicate that an existing ESTA authorization is not a guarantee that you can enter the USA. The final decision on whether you are allowed to cross the border or not is made by the Customs and Border Protection officers at the airport in the USA.

Allowed duration of stay with ESTA in the USA

If you have a valid ESTA approval, you can stay in the USA for up to 90 days. Multiple entries are also possible with an ESTA. Therefore, the 90 days stay can be repeated multiple times, as long as you take a sufficient break between each entry into the USA.

How much time between your stays is acceptable in your case depends on the discretion of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). If you enter the USA too frequently with ESTA, which creates suspicion of immigration intent or illegal employment, you will be subject to an interview.

Permitted activities with ESTA in the USA

You can use your ESTA approval in the USA exclusively for private or business activities (e.g., tourism, business trips, medical treatments, or transits). ESTA does not replace a visa that would allow you to work or study in the United States.

When does my ESTA expire?

The two-year validity period of an ESTA approval is terminated prematurely if the following events occur:

  • Your passport expires.
  • You violate ESTA regulations by planning a stay longer than 90 days, working illegally in the USA, or attempting to immigrate.
  • There are changes in your personal data, such as your name or gender, and you receive a new passport.
  • There is a life event through which you would have to answer at least one of the ESTA security questions with "yes" (e.g., arrest).
  • You enter a country that the USA classifies as a "State Sponsor of Terrorism" or considered risky under the "Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act," such as Cuba, North Korea, Iran, Sudan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, and Syria.
  • It turns out that you have violated US immigration or entry regulations.
  • You receive second citizenship of Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, North Korea, or Syria after your ESTA approval.
  • Other security-relevant information about you becomes known, or it turns out that you have made false statements in your ESTA application.

Regularly check your ESTA status and update your contact email address if anything changes.

How to renew ESTA

If your ESTA has expired after the two-year validity or your personal information has changed, but you still meet the ESTA requirements, you can simply submit a new application.

However, if your electronic travel authorization expires for other reasons such as an arrest, entry into a country classified by the USA as a "State Sponsor of Terrorism," or violation of US immigration laws, you will no longer meet the ESTA requirements and will be excluded from the ESTA system.

Good to know

Exclusion from the ESTA system does not mean you cannot travel to the USA, but rather that you will need a US visa for a stay in the United States in the future.

ESTA Validity FAQ

Do you have further questions about your ESTA validity? Then you will certainly find answers in our FAQ:

My ESTA has expired while I am in the USA. What do I have to do?

It is fine if your ESTA expires while you are in the USA. The main thing is that your ESTA is valid at the time of your entry into the USA. So you do not have to do anything and can leave as usual.

How do I find out that my ESTA has lost its validity?

Shortly before the expiration of your two-year ESTA validity period, you will receive an email with the notification of the upcoming expiration of your electronic travel authorization.

My ESTA is about to expire. When do I have to apply for a new one?

You can apply for a new ESTA at any time and do not have to wait for the expiration of your current ESTA authorization. However, you can generally wait until your next USA trip is imminent.

Can I travel to the USA without ESTA?

If you want to travel to the USA without ESTA but are not a US citizen or Green Card holder, you will need a US visa.

What happens if I am revoked from the ESTA system?

Being suspended from the ESTA system does not mean you cannot enter the United States. An automatic ESTA block can be imposed for many reasons, and simply means that you must apply for a US visa for future visits to the United States.

An ESTA block can only be lifted in exceptional circumstances, so it is essential to prevent it if you want to continue traveling to the US quickly and cheaply. You are advised to use a trusted ESTA agency such as esta-application.com for your ESTA application.

Can I enter the US more than once with ESTA?

Yes, you can travel to the US multiple times with a valid ESTA. However, it is essential that there is sufficient time between each visit to avoid the appearance of immigration intent or illegal employment in the US.