Your ESTA, if granted, gives you permission to travel to the United States by air or sea, and is available only if you are a citizen of a country that falls within the VWP (Visa Waiver Programme).
Therefore, if you have an ESTA a visa will not usually be necessary. If you already have an ESTA, you have permission to travel to the United States and this permission will usually last for two years from the date your application was granted.
There are six circumstances in which you would need to apply for a new ESTA, which are:
1. Your forename or surname is changed;
2. You change gender;
3. The country of which you are a citizen changes;
4. The answers to your ESTA application need to be changed due to a change in your circumstances;
5. You are issued with a new passport;
6. Your existing passport or ESTA expires*, whichever is the earliest.
Each of these changes in circumstance would necessitate a fresh ESTA form to be completed. As with your initial ESTA application, you will usually be notified immediately as to whether your ESTA has been granted or denied, though in some cases you may have to wait for up to 72 hours for a decision to be made.
* Once you have submitted an ESTA application and had it approved, it will last for two years (your ESTA will include validity dates for ease of reference). You must therefore apply for a new ESTA once the two years have elapsed, or upon expiry of your existing passport (whichever is earliest).
You will need to apply for a new ESTA whenever your existing passport expires or if any changes are made to your passport. This is the case even if your existing ESTA has not yet expired. This is because the information held on your passport is central to your application for an ESTA and so it is vital that it is accurate and up to date.
Your passport would need to be changed to reflect a change of your name (surname or forename) or your gender, and if you became a citizen of another country you would need a valid passport belonging to that country. If any of these changes occur and you need a new passport you will also need a new ESTA (USA). You will also need a new ESTA if any of your circumstances change and your previous answers to questions on your ESTA form then need to be changed (those requiring a ‘yes/no’ response).
When completing your ESTA form online you will be asked to ensure that all of your information is correct, so it is important that you check it through carefully – perhaps even get a family member to double-check spellings, dates and so on, including your passport number.
If you have made a mistake in your ESTA application but only notice after it has been submitted, whether you will have to submit a new ESTA form depends on the nature of the mistake.
If you have made a mistake involving any of the following information you will need to submit a fresh ESTA application form:
– Information about your passport;
– Information about your identity (biographic information);
– Information concerning your eligibility for travel including citizenship.
If, however, your mistake is about any of the following details, then you will not have to re-apply but can instead use the ‘update’ facility on the ESTA application:
– Contact details (e.g. telephone number, email address);
– Travel details (e.g. flight number, carrier, city of embarkation);
– Details of where you will be staying in the United States
Updating your ESTA application in this way will not normally affect the validity of your ESTA, but it is important for all of your details to be kept up to date in case the Department of Homeland Security needs to contact you about any matter.
No, you do not. Your ESTA is simply authorisation to travel by plane or boat to the United States. You can leave the United States without a valid ESTA. However, if you plan to return to the United States you will need a valid ESTA so if yours has expired, you will need to apply for a new one before you next travel to the United States.