How Long Does An ESTA Last?

How Long Does An ESTA Last?

Are you planning a trip to the United States soon and wondering “How long does an ESTA last?” Look no further! Understanding the duration of your ESTA is crucial for a seamless travel experience to the United States. 

In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about the duration of an ESTA and how to make the most of it during your travels.

How Long Does An ESTA Last?

If you have applied for and been approved for an ESTA, it is generally valid for two years from the date of authorization. This means that during this period of time, you can make multiple trips to the United States without having to apply for another ESTA. 

However, if your passport will expire in less than two years, then your ESTA will be valid only until the expiration date of your passport. 


Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

When traveling under an ESTA, each visit is limited to a stay of up to 90 days

It’s important to keep track of when your ESTA is due to expire as well as the expiration date of your passport. 

If your ESTA is due to expire soon and you plan on traveling again, you should consider applying for a new ESTA before your current one expires. 

This will ensure that you can travel as planned and avoid any unexpected issues related to an expired ESTA. 

Can You Stay In The United States For The Entire Two-Year Period?

No, you cannot stay in the United States for the entire two-year period when you obtain an ESTA. An ESTA allows you to travel to the United States under the terms of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), and each stay cannot exceed 90 days. 

Therefore, even if you are granted an ESTA valid for two years, your maximum stay during each visit is still limited to 90 days. 

You can re-enter the United States multiple times over the two-year period as long as your total stays do not exceed 90 days at any one time. 

It is important that you adhere to this limitation or you may be subject to fines or other legal action. 

Therefore, it is best that travelers planning on staying in the U.S. for more than 90 days obtain the appropriate visa before entering the country. 

If you have any further questions about ESTA requirements and limitations, please contact your local U.S. embassy or consulate for assistance. 

Additionally, to ensure compliance with immigration laws when traveling to the United States, it is best to consult with an experienced immigration attorney before making travel plans. 

They can provide valuable advice and assistance in navigating the U.S. immigration system quickly and efficiently.

How Does ESTA Work At The Airport?

Border Control

Photo by CDC on Unsplash 

When you arrive in the US, your ESTA will be checked by US Border Control. This is to ensure that you are eligible to enter the country according to US laws and regulations. The airline that you are traveling with will usually check whether or not your ESTA is valid. 

If it is found that your ESTA is not valid, before boarding the plane, they won’t let you on board and you won’t be able to travel to the US. 

Your ESTA is an important document when traveling to the US.

It provides evidence that you are allowed into the country legally and have been approved by customs officials. 

It also shows that all relevant information has been provided, such as passport details and other personal information. 

Once your application for an ESTA has been approved, it will be linked to your passport, allowing US Border Control to quickly and easily identify that you are eligible for entry into the US. 

Depending on the country in which you are traveling, there may be other security checks required at airports before being allowed to board a plane. 

When these have been completed successfully, you’ll then proceed through border control where your ESTA will be checked one last time before entering the US. 

Can You Come Back To The U.S. If You Overstayed?

Both yes and no; Actually, the answer depends on how long you were unlawfully present in the country. If you have been unlawfully present for more than 180 days but less than 365 days, then it is possible to return after a three-year ban. 

The first step towards returning to the U.S. after an overstay is applying for a nonimmigrant visa at the nearest U.S. consulate or embassy abroad. 

This applies regardless of whether you were unlawfully present for 181 days or 365 days.

You will need to show proof that you meet all requirements under U.S. immigration law, as well as provide evidence that your unlawful presence has been forgiven. 

If you have remained unlawfully present for more than 365 days, then it is not possible to return to the U.S. unless you are granted an exception by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). 


In some cases, the DHS may grant what’s known as a “waiver of inadmissibility,” which will allow you to come back to the U.S. despite your overstay and unlawful presence.

How Do You Apply For An ESTA?

Applying for an ESTA is a simple and straightforward process. All you need to do is follow the steps below: 

  • Go to the official ESTA website at 
  • Click on the “New Application” button to start a new application form. 
  • Enter your personal information, passport details, and travel itinerary into the required fields of the form. 
  • Answer the security questions related to your eligibility for the ESTA program in order to complete your application successfully. 
  • Review your application and make any necessary changes before submitting it for processing by clicking “Submit” at the bottom of the page. 
  • Pay the required fee of $14 USD for each application you submit. 
  • Wait for the result of your application, which is typically provided immediately after you submit it. In some cases, the result may take up to 72 hours to process.
  • If your application is approved, be sure to print a copy of your ESTA authorization for your records.

Once your application has been processed, you will receive an email notification confirming whether or not it has been approved. If approved, an approval number will also be provided in the notification email. 

Keep this approval number handy as it may be needed when entering the United States. 

What Can You Not Do On An ESTA?

An ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) is designed to allow travelers to the United States for short stays of up to 90 days. An ESTA authorizes you for leisure travel and tourism but does not give you permission to work or study in the US. 

Activities not allowed with ESTA

Photo by Unseen Studio on Unsplash 

This means that activities such as working, undertaking paid or gainful employment, studying, and conducting leadership and management training seminars or other training events are not permissible under an ESTA. 

If you would like to undertake any of these activities while in the United States, you must apply for the relevant US visa instead. 

It is important to understand that an ESTA does not provide authorization for any activity beyond leisure travel and tourism. 

Any violation of this can lead to serious consequences including being fined and/or deported from the United States. 

It is therefore important to familiarize yourself with the activities allowed and not allowed under an ESTA before traveling to the US. 

Why Will ESTA Be Denied? An Overview Of The Reasons Behind Possible Denial

The most common reasons for denial of ESTA include lying to the questions in the questionnaire, having a criminal record related to serious crimes for which you have been convicted, or already being denied an ESTA application or an ordinary U.S. Visa in the past.

Exceeding the 90-day consecutive stay limit under the ESTA conditions, engaging in an employment activity without proper authorization or visa status, and a few other causes could also be reasons for ESTA denial.

It is important that all travellers carefully read through every aspect of their application before submitting it for review as even small mistakes can result in a denial. 

Doing your due diligence when applying for an ESTA, such as researching the application process and questions in advance, can help to reduce any chances of your request being denied. 

If you are concerned about your eligibility for an ESTA, it is important to research more information or contact a professional before submitting your application. 

Additionally, if you have already been denied an ESTA or other U.S. visa, it is highly recommended that you seek out further advice before reapplying. 

That way, you can ensure all requirements have been met and that your next attempt at applying for travel authorization will be successful. 


Is ESTA 90 Days Per Year?

No, an ESTA is not just 90 days per year. An ESTA allows you to travel to the United States multiple times for stays of up to 90 days per visit within a two-year period. You can visit the US multiple times during the two-year validity period of your ESTA.

You can stay for up to 90 days each time you visit the US. It is valid as long as your ESTA remains valid and you meet all eligibility requirements. 


So, in total, you could stay in the US for 180 days or more over the two years if desired!

Why Do ESTAs Get Rejected?

Rejected ESTA

Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash 

ESTA applications can be rejected for a variety of reasons. Common causes include having a criminal record, previously applying for and being denied a VISA or ESTA, and overstaying when visiting the US. Ensure that you meet all requirements before submitting an application to avoid rejection. 

If your ESTA is rejected, contact the US Customs authority for further information and advice.

How Many Times Can You Renew An ESTA?

You can apply for an ESTA as many times as you need. Even if your current ESTA is still valid, you may request a renewal. The duration of each newly granted authorization to travel under the VWP is two years or until the individual’s passport expires, whichever comes first.

To be eligible for renewal, applicants must meet all requirements for VWP travel and submit their updated application before the expiration of their existing ESTA. 

Remember to check and update your biographic information every time you renew your ESTA to ensure that it remains valid. 

Note that it can take up to 72 hours for US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to review applications.

Can You Extend Your Stay In Usa With ESTA Visa?

No, you cannot extend your stay in the USA with an ESTA visa. In order to stay longer than originally planned, you can apply for a new ESTA. You will have to fill out the same application form that was used to obtain your original ESTA and submit it online. 

Make sure all of your information is up-to-date and accurate when submitting the application. Once approved, your new ESTA visa will be valid for two years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.

However, it does not change or extend any previous ESTAs you may have had.

How Long Does It Take To Get The ESTA Approved?

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security usually takes 72 hours to process ESTA applications and make a determination. An email notification will be sent with the results once the processing is complete. You can check your application status online by visiting this website and clicking “Check ESTA Status”. 


Provide your application number, passport number, and birth date for verification. If approved, you’ll receive an electronic travel authorization valid for up to two years or until your passport expires, whichever comes first.  

All in all, it typically takes three days to get the ESTA approved.

Will An ESTA Guarantee Entry?

No, an ESTA does not guarantee entry. Even if your application is approved, you may still be denied admission by US border officials. When applying for or entering the US with an ESTA, it’s important to remain polite and courteous in addressing any inquiries. 

If mistakes are made on your ESTA form, you can reapply. However, if it’s rejected due to a valid cause, reapplying won’t make a difference. 

In some cases, you may need to apply for a visa instead of an ESTA

For more information about the requirements and procedures related to obtaining an ESTA and/or visa, contact the nearest American embassy or consulate in your home country.


In conclusion, an ESTA or Electronic System for Travel Authorization is a crucial document for travellers from eligible countries seeking to visit the United States. The ESTA is valid for two years from the date of issuance, allowing multiple entries into the country within that period, as long as the visits do not exceed 90 days.

It is important to note that an ESTA does not guarantee entry into the United States. The final decision is made by the Customs and Border Protection officers at the port of entry. 

Travellers should ensure that they have obtained their ESTA well in advance of their travel plans. Additionally, they must also comply with all the terms and conditions attached to their ESTA. 

Doing so will help ensure a smooth and hassle-free travel experience to the United States.

Swati Jaiswal

Swati Jaiswal is a dedicated traveler and an even dedicated individual who specializes in travel, digital marketing, & health and fitness niches. Passport stamps and coffee stains are her badges of honor.

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