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When Do I Have to Apply for a New ESTA?

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If you are a citizen of a country that is part of the Visa Waiver Program, you can come to the United States without obtaining a visa from a U.S. Consulate, but you still have to apply for an ESTA. There are certain circumstances when you have to apply for a new ESTA even if you currently have a valid ESTA.

You must apply for a new ESTA even if you currently have a valid ESTA in the following circumstances:

  • You obtained a new passport
  • You changed your name
  • You changed your gender
  • You became a citizen of a new country that was not disclosed in the original ESTA application

Additionally, you will need to apply for a new ESTA if your answer to one of the eligibility questions changed.

What are the ESTA eligibility questions?

The ESTA eligibility questions are as follows:

  • Have you ever been denied a U.S. visa you applied for with your current or previous passport?
  • Have you ever stayed in the United States longer than the admission period granted to you by the U.S. government?
  • Have you ever been refused admission to the United States or withdrawn your application for admission at a U.S. port of entry?
  • Have you ever been arrested or convicted for a crime that resulted in serious damage to property, or serious harm to another person or government authority?
  • Have you ever violated any law related to possessing, using, or distributing illegal drugs?
  • Do you seek to engage in or have you ever engaged in terrorist activities, espionage, sabotage, or genocide?
  • Have you ever committed fraud or misrepresented yourself or others to obtain, or assist others to obtain, a visa or entry into the United States?
  • Are you currently seeking employment in the United States or were you previously employed in the United States without prior permission from the U.S. government?
  • Have you traveled to, or been present in Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen on or after March 1, 2011?
  • Do you have a physical or mental disorder; or are you a drug abuser or addict; or do you currently have any of the following diseases (communicable diseases are specified pursuant to section 361(b) of the Public Health Service Act)?

Please note that sometimes people may not realize that they need to apply for a new ESTA.

Example

Your ESTA was approved in September 2019 and you were applying for an E-2 visa in December 2020. Your visa application got denied. You did not know that you have to apply for a new ESTA if your visa is ever denied. What happens if you try to enter the U.S. on the old ESTA?

Please note that your entry may be denied by the CBP officer, as you should have applied for a new ESTA. If the new ESTA is not approved for any reason, you should have applied for a new visa.

Additionally, people often do not realize that the 221(g) refusal is a denial for the purposes of ESTA. In the example above, if you had an interview at the Consulate in December 2020 and the Consulate requested additional documents and issued 221(g) form, you would have to apply for a new ESTA even if the visa petition was ultimately approved.

Please see our blog post on what is ESTA when you click here.

Please read our blog post on when you should apply for a B-1 visa rather than ESTA when you click here.

Please click here to find out whether you have to apply for ESTA during Covid.

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