Your ESTA application data remains active for the amount of time that your approved ESTA is valid,
or until your passport expires, whichever date comes first. The Department of Homeland Security then
keeps this information for a further year, after which it is archived for 12 years. The information
is archived for that period of time in order to allow national security or law enforcement to be
able to access the data in case of any potential investigation. Archived information can only be
accessed by a very limited number of officials.
If an ESTA is used instead of a
, your information can be retained for up to 75 years,
and this is in accordance to the I-94W form. Since the Department of Homeland Security is
transitioning to a paperless I-94W form, the data on your ESTA application is used instead.
The length of time that your data is stored is consistent with the Customs and Border Protection
border search authority and with their mission that was decreed by Congress. Therefore, any
information stored in the archives or while it is active can be used for investigation purposes
during the stipulated time outlined above. However, any data that matches enforcement activities
or investigations will remain accessible as long as law enforcement requires this information.
This also includes ESTA applications that have been denied.