The ESTA is the best solution to travel to the United States thanks to the visa waiver program that benefits nationals from 40 countries in the world.
This travel authorization, also known as the USA ESTA visa, is very popular with travelers who want to go on vacation in the USA. However, this document is not valid indefinitely. We will come back in details on the validity of the ESTA, what it allows you to do and to what extent.
How long is the ESTA valid for?
The USA travel authorization is limited in time: the duration of the ESTA is 2 years from the date of issue. During this period, you can make multiple trips to the United States with a single authorization.
However, you must respect certain conditions: your stays must not exceed 90 consecutive days and they must be for tourism or business purposes (but not for remuneration). After that, you must leave the U.S. territory before returning after a reasonable period of time, so that customs does not suspect you of being an illegal resident in the U.S. This time limit is to be taken very seriously because confusion between 90 days and 3 months can quickly occur (beware of odd months in particular). Also, to check the validity of the ESTA, you just need to consult your document, the date is on it.
Once the ESTA validity has expired, it is not possible to request a renewal of the same authorization. It is mandatory to submit a new ESTA request in order to be able to travel to the United States legally.
ESTA validity after a change of passport
Although the ESTA is valid for two years, it can in fact expire much earlier than that. When you apply, you must fill out a form that asks you to provide information about your marital status, your passport, or your stay in the United States. All of this information allows the U.S. government to identify you and determine whether or not you are allowed to present yourself at the U.S. border. As you can see, the ESTA validity period does not only depend on the calendar.
It often happens that some of your information will change (change of passport, marital status, etc.). Therefore, if you change your USA passport during the two-year period, it will be assigned a new identification number that will no longer match the one on your travel authorization. The ESTA validity will then be null and void in the eyes of the American authorities.
In such a case, in order to update your information, you will have no choice but to renew your passport before applying for a new travel authorization – not the other way around!
These two documents are among the few US formalities that are required to enter the US. If your documents are not in order, the U.S. government will definitely deny you entry.
Make sure that your ESTA and passport are valid before planning your stay in the United States in more detail.