Are you planning a trip to the US and are unsure if your ESTA is still valid or not? You don’t necessarily have to take a trip down memory lane to find the answer. There’s an easier way of finding out. Keep reading to find out.

Is my ESTA Still Valid?

You can check the validity of your ESTA by visiting the official ESTA website. Enter your name and passport details. You can now retrieve your application number, ESTA validity, and expiry date.  

When attempting to ascertain your ESTA validity, you may encounter any one of the following responses:

ESTA Application not Found

This response can be generated for a number of reasons. Firstly, you may have entered incorrect information which does not match the information provided in the initial ESTA application.

Secondly, the response “Application not found” will also be generated if there is no record of a current or previous ESTA application.

ESTA Application Expired

This response is generated when your ESTA is no longer valid. You cannot enter the US using this ESTA and must apply for a new one. Note that there is no renewal process, the only way of obtaining a valid ESTA is by applying for a new one.

ESTA Application Pending

This response is generated when you have recently submitted your application and the 72 hours time frame has not lapsed. You may recheck your status in a while.

ESTA Authorization Approved

This response means that your ESTA is still valid. You can check its expiry date and note down the application number (for future use). 

ESTA Application not Authorized

This response indicates that your application was denied and you cannot travel to the US under the Visa Waiver Program. However, you may explore other options for obtaining entry into the US.

When Must I Submit a New ESTA Application?

You can submit a new ESTA application at any time, even if your current one has not expired yet. On the contrary, a new ESTA application is a requirement in the following situations:

  • You have made a mistake while filling out your application and have submitted it without amendment.
  • You have renewed your passport or have changed your name/gender.
  • 2 years have lapsed since your ESTA approval
  • Your ESTA will expire during your US trip

Why Isn’t my ESTA Valid For Two Years?

Once approved, your ESTA authorization is valid for two years. However, in some situations, it might become invalid before this time period. Your ESTA authorization might become invalid in the following situations:

  • Your passport with which you applied for ESTA has expired. This will automatically cause your ESTA to expire as well. 
  • If you took a trip to the US under the Visa Waiver Program and your stay exceeded 90 days. This is a violation of the ESTA law and will invalidate your ESTA. 
  • If you visited the US using your ESTA authorization and indulged in activities that are not permitted according to ESTA laws. (for example, getting a job in the US during your stay). Any such action not in compliance with ESTA laws will invalidate your ESTA before the 2-year period.

What Happens if Your ESTA Expires While You Are in the USA?

ESTA authorization is only required on arrival to the US. It does not matter if your ESTA expires during your stay in the US.

Even after your ESTA has expired, you can still complete your 90-day stay in the US. However, you must check your ESTA validity before your trip. If the expiry is too close to your date of departure, you must apply for a new ESTA to be on the safe side. 

If your ESTA expires during your stay in the US, you must still limit your stay to 90 days. Failure to do so can result in a travel ban to the US in the future. 

Final Verdict

Checking the validity of your ESTA authorization is extremely important while planning a trip to the US. Checking the validity well before time will also help you decide if a new application needs to be submitted or not. 

Certain circumstances require that you submit a new ESTA application even if your existing one has not expired yet. If your ESTA is about to expire close to your intended date of travel, we recommend that you avoid taking a risk and apply for a new one straight away.