No matter how intricately planned your trip is, a situation might arise where you need to extend your stay or cut it short. All countries have their own set of rules and regulations, and so does the United States of America. 

During your visit to the US, you might wonder, “Can ESTA be extended?” The Department of US Citizenship and Immigration does not allow extension to ESTA.

Read on to explore the different options available to you when you find yourself in such a situation. 

What Are the “ESTA 90 Days” and ESTA “180 Days” Rules?

Your ESTA authorization is valid for two years. Each time that you enter the US using this authorization you can stay for a maximum of 90 days per visit. Furthermore, you cannot exceed the 180-day period in one year.

The ESTA expiry date will be mentioned in the email that you received approving your ESTA. We advise you to check the validity date long before you plan to depart for the US.

When Can You Ask for an ESTA Extension?

The only situation in which you can extend your ESTA while you’re in the US for some time is if you request a Satisfactory Departure and it gets approved.

ESTA Extension in Covid

The Satisfactory Departure clause was added to the ESTA authorization with effect from 17 April 2022. This extension is for a thirty-day period only if you are unable to depart the US in the face of an emergency e.g. due to Covid 19.

How to Apply for Satisfactory Departure?

You should submit your request for a Satisfactory Departure before your current period of admission ends. The request is to be submitted to US Customs and Border Protection. 

Note that this is not an option that you can bank on. It is only in rare cases that you may be granted a 30-day extension. 

ESTA Extension Criteria

You must be able to show to the concerned authority that you are unable to leave the US due to the occurrence of an emergency. The ESTA extension criteria are as under:

  • Covid 19
  • Medical emergency
  • Flight cancellations

You should also be able to prove that this occurrence is not due to a fault of your own. For example in the case of:

  • Suspended flights from the US
  • Your country has closed its borders to incoming flights

You must provide your passport number to the concerned authorities when submitting your request.

Alternative Options

Since the chances of getting an ESTA extension are bleak, it is recommended that you explore the other options that are available to you. 

If you intend to stay for more than a 90-day period right from the start, the best approach is to apply for a B1/B2 visa instead.

You can also apply for a new ESTA authorization in some situations. The following circumstances require a new ESTA application:

  • Your ESTA has already expired before you entered the US
  • You renewed your passport
  • You lose your passport
  • The personal information on your passport has changed
  • Your ESTA will expire during your trip to the US

You may apply for a new ESTA authorization if your current one has still not expired. Once you receive your new ESTA number, the existing one will get invalidated. 


  • Can I stay more than 90 days with ESTA? 

The ESTA 90 days rule is applicable per visit. The ESTA 180 days rule is applicable if you make multiple trips in a year (limited to 90 days per visit). Overstaying will count as a visa waiver overstay and it will have consequences.

  • What happens if I overstay my ESTA?

When you overstay, a removal process will begin automatically. When you get caught, you will be deported immediately. Furthermore, your passport will get banned automatically, which will be problematic for you whenever you wish to leave the country.

  • Can you renew your ESTA before it expires?

Yes, it is possible to renew your ESTA before it expires. ESTA authorization is valid for up to two years after issuance. Some circumstances call for a renewal e.g.if you lose your passport or if it expires, etc.

  •  How do I extend my 90 days ESTA?

The only way that you can extend your stay beyond 90 days on ESTA authorization is by submitting a request for a Satisfactory Departure. If this request gets granted, you can stay in the country for another 30 days.

Final Verdict

ESTA extension in COVID and emergencies are the only time leniency is shown regarding the duration of stay. The above-mentioned approach outlines what you should do if such a situation arises.

Extending your stay by illegal means will prove problematic for you sooner or later. We recommend abiding by the rules; plan and execute accordingly!