What happens if your ESTA expires while you are in the USA?

If you are in the US and your ESTA expires then it is not an issue, as your ESTA must only be valid when you are entering the border of the US. This is when you will get checked by the border control authorities, so when you are returning to the UK or wherever else, there is no requirement to have a valid ESTA.
However, it is important that you do not stay in the US for longer than the limitation of 90 days, as this can get you banned from visiting the US in the future. You will be banned for three years if you overstay by 180 days to a year, and it can affect your chances of having any future ESTA applications approved.

What to do when your ESTA is close to expiration

In the situation where your ESTA is coming to the end of validation, it is a good idea to renew it before you travel to the US in case there are any issues such as your plane getting delayed or cancelled. If the ESTA is due to expire very close to your flight date, then this is especially a risk should your flight be delayed or cancelled. If you need to take later flights a few days later and your ESTA has expired, you will not be allowed to board the plane to the US as the airport staff will not allow you to, knowing that you will not be able to enter the US without a valid ESTA.

If my ESTA expires today, can I travel to US?

If your ESTA is due to expire on the day of your travel, it is considered to be valid up until 11.59pm but you must remember the time will be based on when you enter the US, so take into account the journey time, time difference and the fact that you could easily be delayed for many hours. It is recommended that you do not risk travelling with an ESTA that is due to expire on the day of travel to avoid any problems.

How to check if your ESTA is valid

You can check your ESTA validity and expiration date at any time by visiting the ESTA website and using your reference number.
I’ve renewed my passport, is my ESTA still valid?
If your passport that you held when you applied for your most recent ESTA has expired and has been replaced by a new one then your ESTA is no longer valid. When you have an ESTA approved, it is electronically linked to your passport and it does not transfer over when you get a new passport.
It is recommended that you have at least six months still valid on your passport when you travel to the US. Therefore, if your passport is due to expire before your planned trip to the US, you should apply for a new passport and once you have received it, you will then need to apply for your new ESTA. It will usually only take a short time for your ESTA application to be processed but you should leave enough time so that your travel plans are not affected if your ESTA application is delayed by a few days.
You cannot just renew an existing ESTA, you will be required to send a new application, completing all of the information required in the online form, the same way that you did when you applied for your last ESTA.
How long is ESTA valid for?
Your ESTA will usually be valid for a period of two years or until your current passport expires, whichever date comes sooner. Within those two years you are able to use your ESTA for multiple visits to the US as long as you do not stay for longer than the 90 days that are permitted under the terms of an ESTA.
Can I apply for a new ESTA whilst my current one is still valid?
Even if your existing ESTA is valid until during your trip, or just after you return from the US, you can still apply for a new ESTA so that you do not encounter any expiration issues. When you apply for a new ESTA, it simply replaces your previous one and will link up to your passport with the updated details and new expiry date.

Related FAQs

Why isn’t my ESTA valid for 2 years?

If you have obtained your ESTA authorisation, but your passport is due to expire before the end of the 2-year validity period, then your ESTA will expire automatically with the expiration of your passport.

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Do I need specific travel plans to apply for ESTA?

You do not need specific travel plans when you are applying for an ESTA, you just need to fill in the address where you will be staying. If you’re travelling around the U.S. then you can just write the first place you’re staying at as a point of reference.

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What do the responses mean for my ESTA application?

There are three responses that you can get once you retrieve your ESTA application, as listed below: Authorisation Pending: This means that your application has been received, but it has not been decided whether to authorize or reject it yet.

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