What to do if the ESTA authorisation expires during a trip?

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What to do if the ESTA authorisation expires during a trip?

Are you planning a forthcoming visit to the United States using a previously obtained ESTA but it expires before the end of your trip? In this case you will want to know what steps, if any, you should take to ensure your travel goes smoothly. 

It is important to know that if your ESTA expires during a visit then this will not cause problems. But, in certain cases, it can be necessary to renew your ESTA application online. Here are some explanations on this subject.

 

Is is necessary to renew an ESTA if it expires during a visit:

An ESTA authorisation is valid for a visit to the United States of less than 90 days, and during the two year period of validity following its issue date by the American authorities. In the situation whereby your ESTA reaches its expiry date before the end of your visit but is valid on your departure date you have absolutely no need to renew your application.

Of course, it is imperative that your departure date falls within the valid period of your ESTA authorisation and that the stated return date is within 90 days of the departure date. Regarding your passport, this should be valid for the entire duration of your visit to the U.S.A., including the return date.

 

In which situations is it necessary to reapply for an ESTA:

Although your ESTA authorisation can be used for numerous visits to the United States during its two year period, even if it expires during your trip, there are certain situations whereby you will be required to reapply for your travel authorisation online. These are as follows:

  • A change in name or gender of the traveller or any other change relating to their identity, except marriage when the maiden name is stated on the passport or the travel tickets/documents.
  • A change of contact details (address) of the traveller.
  • A change of passport. Verify carefully that the passport number stated on your first application is the same as that of your current passport.
  • A change in the answers to one or several questions in the application form.

To put this simply, all the information that you supplied during your first ESTA application should still be valid for this trip. If this is not so then you may not be allowed to board your transport.

 

How to reapply for an ESTA if this is necessary?

If one of the clauses above applies to you then you will need to reapply for an ESTA online to be sure that your travel plans to the USA are successful. You will therefore need to visit a website such as ours to access the application form available, ensure you have your valid electronic or biometric passport with you when you do so.

When you have completed the questionnaire you will need to pay the processing and transmission fees for the application to the American authorities in order to validate it.

A response will be sent to you by email within 72 hours maximum.

 

Does an ESTA expire automatically after its expiry?  

Certain visitors wrongly think that the ESTA is automatically renewed after the expiry of its two year validity period. In fact this procedure is not automatic and you are not even notified when your authorisation approaches its expiry date. It is therefore up to you to take action if you plan to visit the United States around the time that your ESTA authorisation expires.

For this, you should of course know the expiry date of your current ESTA authorisation. You can find this out in several different ways. If you printed your ESTA or requested a paper copy through your ESTA service provider (certain reputable ESTA service providers such as the one we recommend provide this service for a nominal charge) then you will easily find the issue date noted which will provide you with its expiry date. However if this is not the case you will need to find the confirmation email that was sent to you following your application. You may find it useful to search in your email inbox using the keyword ‘ESTA’ if you did not save the message in another folder.

If you noted your reference or identification details when you originally applied then you can also access your ESTA online through the website you applied from to consult the status of your application, or you can use the official ESTA government website.

If your ESTA has already expired or will expire before your travel departure date then you should complete a new application, commencing the entire procedure from the beginning. You will therefore need to respond to all questions asked on the online form. It should be noted that even if you have already obtained this authorisation in the past it is still possible that you receive a refusal the next time, notably if certain important information relating to your situation has changed.

If you do not need to reapply for an ESTA for this next visit and your old ESTA has not yet expired then it is still wise to check that your situation has not changed and all the information you entered on your application is still correct. In the case to the contrary as indicated above you will need to modify the information that has changed, when possible, or complete a new application form online.

 

The particular case relating to transits and stopovers in the United States:

Let us now take the time to examine the specific case of transits or stopovers in the USA. It is actually necessary to hold an ESTA for the same day even for a short passage through American territory, and even if you do not leave the airplane during your stopover. This of course brings us to certain queries relating to the validity of an ESTA for an outgoing transit or stopover and the return trip.

Let us imagine that your ESTA is valid for your outgoing travel which transits through the United States but expires before your return travel. We mentioned earlier that the validity of your ESTA for a simple visit of less than 90 days in the United States was only significant for the outgoing travel, the departure date or arrival in the USA. But in the case of a transit each trip, outgoing and return, is considered as a unique visit, entry and exit, through American territory. Therefore the date of your transit or stopover on your return trip is also considered as the beginning date of a visit to the USA. It is therefore logical and necessary that your ESTA is valid on this date.

If this is not the case and your ESTA authorisation expires during your visit you will need to reapply to ensure you have a valid ESTA for the outgoing and return travel. For this, two solutions are available to you. The first is that you complete a new ESTA application during your visit, between the outgoing and return dates, but for this you need to be sure you have the time and internet access necessary. The second option is to renew your ESTA before your departure date. The new ESTA will thereby cover the entirety of your visit, including the outgoing and return travel apart from in rare cases where a visit lasts longer than two years. The latter solution is generally considered more advantageous as you can travel without the worries of having to undertake any administrative procedures during your visit and you have the guarantee of being able to board for your transits or stopovers through the USA without any possible problems.

Online ESTA application form