What is the difference between an ESTA and a visa?

An approved travel authorization is not a visa. It does not meet the legal or regulatory requirements to serve in lieu of a United States visa when a visa is required under United States law. Individuals who possess a valid visa will still be able to travel to the United States on that visa for the purpose for which it was issued. Individuals traveling on valid visas are not required to apply for a travel authorization.

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A travel authorization is valid for two years after the application date or until the passport expiration date whichever happens first.

If you obtain a new passport or change your name, gender or country of citizenship, you will be required to apply for a new travel authorization.

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If your ESTA has expired, you must reapply by submitting a new application.

Your ESTA must be valid when you enter the U.S., if it expires during your stay it will not affect your departure.


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