If you want to travel to the United States, the chances are you’ll either need a visa or an ESTA visa waiver in order to enter the country. But visas and waivers can be a little difficult to understand so here we’ll answer some simple questions to help you figure out whether you need an ESTA and how long your ESTA will last once it has been granted.
Once your ESTA has been granted it should be valid for a period of up to two years (unless it is revoked at any point). These two years run from the date of authorisation, not the date of travel, so be aware of this when thinking about its validity and whether you need to renew. The date of authorisation can be found on the ‘Authorization Approved’ screen online, as well as on your documentation. It is always worth printing out this document for your records and so you can easily check the ESTA validity. Officers at customs and immigration will not need to see a copy of it as they will be able to see your authorisation electronically within the system.
If your passport expires before the ESTA runs out, or you change any of your personal details such as name, gender or country of citizenship, you will need a new ESTA visa waiver if you wish to travel to the United States on your new passport. This is because the ESTA visa waiver is electronically attached to your passport, and not to your identity as an individual.
An ESTA visa waiver is valid for multiple trips to the United States within the two-year period, so even if you travel to the country over and over again you won't need to apply for a new authorisation. It is important to note, however, that each individual trip may not be any longer than 90 days.
Please note: ESTAs cannot be extended nor renewed while in the United States. It will not matter if it runs out while you are in the US, as long as it was valid for your arrival.
For other Frequently Asked Questions regarding an ESTA please click here.