How long does an ESTA remain valid?
As long as the holder meets all requirements, an ESTA is valid for two years from the moment it is granted. This does not mean that a stay in the USA can last two years. In fact, the maximum duration of stay per visit is 90 days. However, within the two-year validity period, travellers can make an unlimited number of trips to the United States.
ESTA never valid for longer than two years
In a number of exceptional cases, the ESTA is valid less than two years after the issuance date. In certain situations, the maximum allowed duration of stay on US soil can also be shorter than 90 days.
During the validity period, the ESTA can be used multiple times. This period never exceeds two years and starts as soon as the ESTA application is approved. The validity of the travel authorisation therefore does not commence on the expected arrival date in the USA that the traveller indicated in the application form. In the following two situations, the standard two-year validity period expires earlier, and a new ESTA must be applied for:
- You are using a new or different passport for your next trip than the one you used to apply for the ESTA.
- Due to a change in your personal situation, the details you entered in the application form that are important for the validity of the ESTA are no longer up-to-date.
ESTA not valid with a new or different passport
At the moment an ESTA is granted, it is digitally linked to the passport that was used for the application. If you want to travel with a different passport, you have to apply for a new ESTA with that passport. This applies to all cases in which you travel with a different travel document than the passport you previously used for your application. The below situations are examples of this:
- You have a new passport (for example because your previous passport has expired).
- You have multiple nationalities, and you want to travel with the passport of the nationality with which the ESTA was not applied for.
- You have a second passport based on the same nationality and want to travel with this other passport (that was not used in the ESTA application).
Shorter ESTA validity due to change in your situation
In the ESTA form, not only the contact details but also the travel details and personal details of the traveller(s) have to be filled in. In addition, the US government requires background information for each traveller. You can provide this background information by answering a couple of safety questions. Of course, it is possible that a number of things may change in a traveller’s personal situation between the time the ESTA is granted and the time of travel. This is all the more true for any second or third trip with an ESTA that was applied for some time ago.
If some details you had entered in the application form for your last trip are no longer applicable to your next trip or something changed in your situation, you can check with the below button if you have to apply for a new ESTA for your next trip:Is the ESTA of my previous trip still valid?
If something changes in your situation, causing the answer to one or more safety questions in the application form to change from “no” to “yes”, your ESTA immediately loses its validity. This can happen, for example, if you have been to Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, or Yemen after the ESTA was granted. In addition, if you have an ESTA that was issued prior to 1 march 2011, but you went to Cuba after this date, your ESTA will become invalid. In that case, you no longer meet the ESTA requirements. It is not possible to get an exemption from these rules. In some cases, a change in your situation causing the details entered in the application form to no longer be up-to-date will not invalidate the ESTA. If the change concerns one of the following details, your ESTA will remain valid, and you do not need to submit a new application:
- Your travel date,
- Your (expected) accommodation in the USA,
- Your point of contact in the USA,
- Your employer,
- Your emergency contact,
- The names of your parents,
- Your address (as long as you live in the same country),
- Your travel purpose (providing your new travel purpose falls under the permitted travel purposes with an ESTA).
Even if you made a mistake in one of the aforementioned details when completing the application form, this is not a problem for the validity of your travel permit.
ESTA valid for up to 90 days per visit
During the two-year validity of the ESTA, you can travel to the USA as often as you would like. With this travel authorisation, each visit to the USA can last up to 90 days. For a trip to Guam and/or the Northern Mariana Islands, islands that are part of US territory, the maximum duration of stay with an ESTA is 45 days instead of 90 days. In addition, you have to keep in mind that the maximum duration of stay continues from your first arrival date if you travel from the USA to Canada, Mexico, or a Caribbean island and later travel back to the United States.
Shorter stays with an ESTA in case of trip to certain neighbouring countries
If you travel from the United States to Canada, Mexico, or a Caribbean island (except Cuba) and then return to the USA, you cannot stay in the country for another 90 days from your second arrival in the United States. In this case, the maximum duration of stay allowed actually continues from your first arrival in the US. The number of days you have spent outside the USA will then be deducted from the standard maximum duration of stay of 90 days.
For example, if you travel from the United Kingdom to the United States to stay there for 40 days, travel to Mexico for 30 days, and then return to the USA, your second stay in the USA can last up to 20 days (90-40-30 = 20). In this case, your actual stay in the USA can last up to 60 days (40+ 20 = 60), instead of the 90 days you would have been allowed to stay in the country in the case of a continuous stay.
If you travel to Cuba from the United States, your ESTA will become invalid. Since 1 March 2011, you need a US visa for a trip to the USA after a visit to Cuba.
Leaving the US shortly for a longer stay not possible
Travellers are not allowed to leave the USA for a short period of time and then stay for another 90 days in the country. However, there are no set rules regarding the minimum length of time between two consecutive trips to the USA. This is determined separately for each inbound traveller by an employee of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
When a traveller travels to the country again within a short time after his or her last trip to the USA, an assessment is made of the traveller's intentions. If a US customs officer suspects that you only left the USA for a short time in order to circumvent the maximum duration of stay with the ESTA, that officer may refuse you entry into the country.
Duration of stay cannot be extended
If your current ESTA has not yet expired but is also no longer valid long enough for your next trip to the USA, you have to apply for a new ESTA for your next trip. An ESTA cannot be extended. If you want to stay in the United States longer than the maximum number of days that are allowed with this travel authorisation, you cannot use an ESTA, and you have to apply for a US visa.