What is ESTA?
ESTA stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization and it is an automated system that allows people from certain countries to apply for travel authorization to the United States without having to get a visa from a U.S. Consulate. This authorization is granted under the Visa Waiver Program, which allows citizens from certain countries to travel to the U.S. for tourism or businesses purposes for up to 90 days at a time. A list of countries where nationals are eligible to apply for ESTA can be found here.
When do I have to reapply for ESTA?
ESTA applications are usually approved for 2 years at a time and you can travel to the U.S. multiple times while the ESTA application is valid. Normally you can apply to renew your ESTA when the validity period ends, however if one of the following circumstances occurs, you must reapply for ESTA, even if your application is still valid.
Circumstances that require you to apply for a new ESTA include:
- Being issued a new passport
- Changing your name
- Changing your country of citizenship
- Anything happening in your life that changes your responses to the ESTA application questions that require a “yes” or “no” answer. For example, if you have a valid ESTA and then apply for a visa to the U.S. and the visa application is denied, you will need to reapply for ESTA and your ESTA application may be rejected due to the visa denial. This does not mean you cannot travel to the U.S., but if you want to visit for tourism or business purposes you will need to go to the Consulate to get a B1/B2 visa first.
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