Is it possible to get an ESTA refund or cancel your application?

For one reason or another, some travellers want to know whether it is possible, once the application has been made, to cancel their ESTA and obtain a refund of the fees paid. In this article, we will answer this question in detail and explain in which cases it is possible to obtain a refund of your ESTA.

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Cancel your ESTA and getting a refund: The key points

  • It is not possible to cancel an ESTA or get a refund, even if there is good reason to do so.
  • An ESTA that has been rejected can sometimes be refunded if you use a service provider that offers this option
  • An ESTA cancelled because of a change during the validity period is not refunded either.

In what cases can you cancel and request a refund of your ESTA?

There are many cases where an ESTA must be cancelled and refunded.

  • Flight or trip cancellation: If your flight has been cancelled by your airline or your travel agency has cancelled your booking and you have already paid for your ESTA, you may want to cancel it and get a refund.
  • Unable to travel to the United States: With the recent Covid-19 pandemic, it is now easy to realise that certain events may prevent you from completing a trip you have been planning for a long time. You may want to know if there is a refund policy for your ESTA in this case.
  • You made a mistake when filling in the form: Finally, you may realise too late that you made a mistake when filling in the form, such as misspelling your name or your date of birth or even your passport number. As these errors may result in your ESTA authorisation being refused, you will also want to cancel the application and receive a refund.

Unfortunately, in each of these cases, you will not be able to obtain a refund of your ESTA or even cancel the current application.

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Why can't I cancel an ESTA application?

When you apply for an ESTA online, you know that your application is processed very quickly. As soon as you have paid the application fee and validated the form, it is checked almost instantaneously and transferred to US immigration officials. For this reason, some sites such as the one we are highlighting on this page guarantee you a response in less than 72 hours.

Thus, once the form has been transferred, it is no longer possible to stop the procedure and go backwards. You cannot therefore cancel an ESTA application. Of course, and in the same way, it will not be possible to obtain a refund of the fees you paid at the time of your application. Indeed, on the one hand, the service provider needs to pay itself for the service of checking your application and transferring your file to the legal authorities in the United States. Finally, the American agents who received your application also work on its verification and this generates costs which are also non-refundable.

Therefore, once your payment has been made, if you are in one of the cases mentioned above, you will unfortunately not be able to cancel your ESTA and request a refund.

But as we will see above, in another case, it will be possible for you to be reimbursed for these costs.


What is the only reason to be reimbursed for ESTA fees?

As we have just mentioned, there is only one reason why you can obtain a refund for your ESTA procedure, but this will depend on the service provider you use. Indeed, when your ESTA is refused, some sites offer to automatically refund the fees paid.

However, if you have deliberately lied on the application form, it is possible that your refund will not be made for obvious reasons.


What to do if you can't go to the US and you have already obtained your ESTA?

If you are in one of the cases listed above and cannot travel to the United States due to a cancellation of your trip or a personal problem, it will not be possible to cancel your current ESTA application or even to cancel an ESTA that you have already obtained.

But you should also know that an ESTA permit is valid for two years. So if your trip to the USA is simply postponed for a few months, you can still use this authorisation at a later date and even for different trips if you wish.

The only case where this will not be possible is if your passport is lost or renewed during this period of validity. Remember that the ESTA electronic authorisation is electronically linked to your passport number. If your passport number has changed during the two-year validity period of your ESTA, it will not be visible on your new passport, which will be checked at the time of boarding and upon arrival.

In any case, your ESTA will remain valid for two years unless you reapply. In this case, the new ESTA will replace the old one on your passport.


How do I reapply for an ESTA online to replace an invalid ESTA?

If you have changed your passport during the validity period of your ESTA or if you have made a mistake when filling in the online application form, you will need a new valid ESTA to travel to the USA.

To do this, go to the official website or the website of a service provider offering this application form and access the ESTA form.

Fill in this form with your identity details and the passport number with which you will be travelling, checking its validity beforehand, and then answer the list of questions asked. Remember to check the accuracy of the answers to these various items before validating your application and proceeding to payment because, remember, once validated, it will no longer be possible to cancel or have your ESTA refunded.

The reply to your new application will then be sent to you by email to the address you have given within 72 hours. The validity period of your ESTA will start from the date of granting of this authorisation and will last for another two years.

You do not need to print your authorisation and you can simply keep a digital copy or note your file number if you wish to be able to retrieve the status of your application at a later date.

You will not need to show your ESTA when you travel as the authorities will only check your passport, on which they will be able to see your ESTA thanks to special software.

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As a web writer and globetrotter with a passion for travel and tourism, I have acquired in-depth knowledge of the procedures that are essential for travellers. I help travellers to complete all the formalities required for a successful trip, particularly when it comes to obtaining a visa online. With several years' experience in this field, I'd like to offer you some valuable advice to help you discover the world with complete peace of mind.


Frequently asked questions

How to request a refund of your ESTA?

It is not possible to request a refund of your ESTA except in certain very specific cases, notably if your application has been refused and only on certain sites. Most of the time, this refund is automatic if your application is rejected, but some service providers will ask you to make a request by email or by using an online form, indicating the reasons for your refund request and your file number.

Can a valid ESTA be cancelled?

No! It is not possible to cancel a valid ESTA, especially as there is no real point in doing so. Once you have paid for your ESTA, it is valid for two years from the date of issue and cancelling it will not entitle you to any refund. If you wish to change your ESTA, you simply need to reapply online.

What do I do if my ESTA has been cancelled by the US authorities?

If you do not comply with the rules set by the US government regarding your stay in the United States, for example if you commit a crime in the US or if you do not respect the maximum stay of 90 consecutive days, it is possible that the immigration services will decide to cancel your ESTA and make it inactive. In this case, you will not be able to reapply, receive a refund or apply for a visa.