After completing the online application form and paying the cost, your ESTA application is processed almost immediately. From that moment on, you can no longer cancel or change the application. In many cases, submitting changes is also not necessary, and your ESTA will remain valid for your trip to the USA.
Does the ESTA remain valid if my situation changes?
It is possible that the details you entered in the online application form of the ESTA change after the travel authorisation is granted. This might include moving within your home country or changing your accommodation in the USA. It is also possible that you made mistakes when filling in the application form after completing the payment.
For changes to some details, the ESTA will remain valid, without the need to adjust the details by applying for a new ESTA. Travellers always have to meet all the ESTA requirements. In case the following details are incorrect or do not match the current situation of the traveller, it is not necessary to apply for a new ESTA:
- The arrival date in the United States, as long as it falls within the validity of the ESTA,
- The accommodation in the USA,
- The point of contact in the USA,
- The indicated employer's information
- The indicated information regarding the emergency contact,
- The names of the traveller’s parents,
- The address details, as long as you still live in the same country,
- The travel purpose for which the ESTA was applied for, providing the new travel purpose is also allowed with an ESTA (for example a short tourist stay instead of only a transit, or a business trip instead of a holiday, or vice versa).
Which changes cause the ESTA to be invalid?
In the above situations it is not necessary to provide any changes, because they do not influence the validity of an ESTA. The ESTA was introduced primarily as a security measure and allows the US immigration service to screen travellers before they arrive. To do so, mainly the identity details are important. In the case of changes or mistakes in these details, the travel authorisation is invalid, even if it had already been granted.
You need to apply for a new ESTA in the following situations:
- Your passport details are not exactly the same on your ESTA as in your passport,
- You have a new passport or want to travel to the USA with a different passport than the one you used to submit the application,
- Your first and/or last name has changed,
- Your gender has changed,
- You moved to a different country,
- Your country of birth and/or (second) nationality (or multiple nationalities) do not appear fully or correctly on the ESTA.
When applying for a new ESTA, always keep in mind your departure date and the time required for processing your previous ESTA application.
Requirements and safety questions
To use the ESTA, a traveller must meet all requirements pertaining to this travel authorisation at all times. Travellers with an ESTA cannot pose a risk to the safety of the United States of America. Travellers therefore must be able to answer ‘no’ to all the safety questions in the application form.
In order to use the ESTA, all the following points must apply to all travellers, both at the time of the ESTA application and during the anticipated travel to the USA:
- The traveller does not have a physical or mental condition that might be dangerous for his or her environment,
- The traveller has never committed a criminal offence that resulted in serious material damage or harm,
- The traveller does not use drugs and has never violated a US drug-related law,
- The traveller is not a terrorist, spy or saboteur,
- The traveller has never violated a US visa-related law,
- This traveller has never been rejected for a US visa application (a rejected ESTA application is not a problem),
- The traveller has never been denied entry into the USA or been deported from the country,
- The traveller does not have the nationality of Iraq, North Korea, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and/or Yemen,
- The traveller has not been in Iraq, North Korea, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and/or Yemen after 1 March 2011,
- The traveller has not been to Cuba as of 12 January 2021.
Travellers who are not or no longer eligible for an ESTA, can often apply for another visa for America. If you have to answer one of the safety questions in the application form with ‘yes’, you cannot apply for an ESTA, for example. If you already have an ESTA, but something happened to cause you to have to answer one or more safety question in the ESTA form with ‘yes’, the previously granted ESTA is no longer valid. You can also not apply for a new electronic travel authorisation. In this situation it is typically possible to apply for a visa for a trip to the USA. In comparison to the ESTA, you cannot do so online, but only by making a physical appointment at the US Embassy, or via another US representation in your home country.
Check the application form and your ESTA
Did you make a mistake when completing the application form for your ESTA or has your travel purpose changed? Always check if your ESTA is still valid in your current situation, or if you have to change details by submitting a new application, or if you have to apply for a visa.
If all the details on your ESTA are correct, you can use the travel authorisation for your trip to the USA. Always keep in mind the validity period and the maximum allowed duration of stay.