If you have already had the opportunity to benefit from an ESTA travel authorisation to visit the USA and you wish to learn how to renew this travel document to again visit this country then in this article you will find the answers to all the questions you may have on this subject. We do of course cover all the major points such as the renewal of an ESTA after its expiry date or even during its validity period when this is necessary and you will find practical explanations on how to proceed with this renewal.
ESTA renewal: Key points
- ESTA authorisation is valid for two years, with no automatic renewal
- A new application must be made at the end of this period to renew your ESTA.
- The ESTA must be renewed before the end of this period if your passport or other important information changes
- The price of an ESTA renewal is the same as that of an initial application.
Is the ESTA automatically renewed at the end of its period of validity?
First of all, let's start this article with a reminder of how long an ESTA authorisation is valid. Once you have received a positive response to your online ESTA application, this authorisation is legally valid for 2 years. This means that, except in certain special cases which we will discuss below, you do not need to renew your ESTA during this period and can therefore use it for several stays, stopovers or transits in the USA.
But what happens once the validity period has expired? In other words, is it necessary to renew your ESTA after these two years or is this done automatically? In reality, there is no automatic renewal of ESTA authorisation. It is therefore up to you to renew it when you need to, by making a new application online as if you were applying for the first time.
Of course, you are under no obligation to renew your ESTA as soon as it expires, unless of course you plan to travel to the United States soon after it expires. You can therefore wait until you really need it before repeating the procedure, as you will have to go through the entire application process again.
When you need to renew your ESTA before it expires:
Now that we have explained that the ESTA is not automatically renewed at the end of its two-year validity period, let's look at the specific cases in which it will be necessary to renew this authorisation before this period has expired.
In theory, you can use your ESTA as often as you need to travel to the USA, provided, of course, that you comply with the ESTA preconditions during the two-year validity period, but no important data or information must have changed since your first application. For example, if your address, passport or surname have changed or if, more generally, one of the answers to the questions on the form is no longer correct, your ESTA, although still valid, will no longer be considered valid and you may be refused boarding or border crossing during your trip.
Of course, some of the information on your ESTA application can be changed and does not therefore need to be renewed. However, the elements that can be changed are rare and it is generally necessary to go through the entire application procedure again.
The reasons for this are simple. For example, if your passport number has changed following the renewal of a passport that has expired or has been reported lost or stolen, it is logically necessary to make a new ESTA application, since this electronic authorisation is linked electronically to this passport number. It is also essential that the identity details on your ESTA are the same as those on your passport.
Similarly, given that the answers you give in the online application questionnaire are used by the American authorities to assess the admissibility of your application and your right to enter the country, it is clear that any different answer will mean that your application will have to be re-examined in its entirety.
How does an ESTA renewal work and what procedure should I follow?
Let's get down to business and explain how to renew your ESTA travel authorisation. When your ESTA has expired or the information on it has changed, your right to enter the United States must be reapplied for in full and validated in the same way as when you made your first application.
You therefore need to go to a website offering an application form in French, such as the one we recommend here, and complete a full questionnaire. None of the information on your previous ESTA application will be retained, so you will have to answer all the questions again. Remember that to do this you will need a valid passport number, valid for the whole of your trip?
Once you have carefully completed the questionnaire, you will need to validate it by paying the application and processing fees online. You will then have to wait a maximum of 72 hours to receive a reply from the American authorities by email to the address you have provided.
Note that if you are planning to travel to the USA with family or friends, you can make a group ESTA application to speed up the process and save yourself a tedious procedure.
Why do I have to pay for my ESTA again when I renew?
Although the cost of applying for an ESTA is not extremely high, some people wonder why they have to pay the full fee again when they renew their authorisation. This is because, whatever the reason for the renewal, and even if it is made during the period of validity of the authorisation, the fee is still required. Nor is there any special rate or discount for a simple ESTA renewal, which will cost you the same as an initial application.
This is simply because an ESTA renewal is treated in the same way as an initial application. Both the American authorities and the website where you apply have to do the same work as for your first application. It is therefore logical that a fee should be charged for this new procedure, and that it should not be any cheaper than the first.
You should be aware, however, that the price of your ESTA may vary from one site to another, so it is important to choose the site on which you fill in your form carefully and follow the advice below.
Do you systematically obtain an ESTA when you apply to renew it?
Let us now pass on to another question that is asked by many visitors that wish to renew their ESTA and this relates to the probability of obtaining a positive response to your application. In fact, just because you obtained your ESTA with a previous or initial application this does not guarantee a favourable response to a later application. This renewal is actually an entirely new application and only the American authorities responsible for this system can decide whether or not to grant you the right to visit the USA.
However it should be noted that if nothing has changed in your situation since your previous application and the USA immigration laws have not changed then it is probable that you will again obtain the right to enter American territory with an ESTA.
The cases in which you risk obtaining a refusal relate to the non-respect of certain conditions implemented by this system such as a visit that is too long or an invalid reason for a visit. In these two particular cases you will still have the possibility of completing a visa application to visit the United States. But in other cases, such as litigation problems since your previous application, or health problems, or you have moved to another country that is not recognised by the American immigration authorities, or if you have been banished or expulsed from the United States during a previous visit then there is a strong probability that you will not be granted an ESTA or a visa.
It should however be remembered that, in the case to the contrary, an initial application that led to a refusal by the American authorities does not mean that you will obtain another refusal to this new application.
In which cases will you be required to apply for a visa instead of a renewal of your ESTA?
If you wish to renew your ESTA for a new visit to the United States you should first ensure that your situation and the reason for your visit comply with this programme’s conditions. In fact in certain cases it may be best to simply apply directly for an American visa instead of an ESTA travel authorisation.
Concerning your situation, it should be remembered that the ESTA is only for citizens of member countries of this programme. If you have moved to another country since your initial application that is not a signatory to this agreement then you cannot benefit from this system but you can apply for a traditional visa, with the exception of certain countries.
Concerning your visit, it should also be remembered that this period must not exceed 90 days if you wish to use your ESTA. A visit for longer than this will require you to apply for a specific visa.
Finally, if your visit to the USA is for another reason other than tourism or business, or you wish for example to stay longer than three months or for permanent residency, working or following studies then you cannot renew your ESTA to do so and must follow the standard application procedure for a visa.
If you are in one of the situations that we have stated above then don’t waste time by applying for an ESTA, go directly to the visa application website. It is important to remember here that the visa application procedure often takes far longer than for an ESTA as it requires certain documentary proof and may even require a visit to the consulate or Embassy.
Should you renew your ESTA on the same website you used for your initial application?
To conclude this article relating to a renewal of your ESTA authorisation let us look at another question that is frequently asked by visitors relating to the website you should use to complete this renewal. In fact, many people ask if it is necessary to use the same website they used for their original application.
In reality it does not matter as this renewal procedure is identical to that of an initial application. You are therefore free to choose the website that you wish to use. For this we recommend that you take into account the following points:
- The quality of accompaniment and the possible presence of a customer assistance service online to assist you with any queries.
- The fact that the application form is available in multiple languages.
- The rapidity of the transference and processing of your file to obtain an ESTA fast.
- The amount of fees payable.
- The possibility of obtaining a refund in the case whereby your ESTA application is refused.
The website that we have selected for you and that we recommend on our website reunites all these aspects and it therefore a judicious choice for renewing your online ESTA travel authorisation.
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.