U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) updated the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) website on August 5, 2019. According to a notice posted on the ESTA homepage at the time of the update, all ESTA applications pending payment status were to be archived during the update. The notice, which has since been removed, indicated that affected applicants must reapply for ESTA (at least 72 hours prior to traveling to the United States). Applicants may check the status of their individual ESTA applications on the CBP’s application portal.
ESTA is an online system used to determine whether a traveler is eligible to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, which allows nationals of 38 countries to travel or be admitted to the United States without a visa. Travelers are encouraged to apply for ESTA authorization as soon as they book their travel plans but in no case later than 72 hours before departure to the United States. ESTA approvals are generally valid for two years or until the traveler’s passport expires (whichever is sooner) and cover multiple entries into the United States during the approval period. Citizens of Canada and those traveling on a valid U.S. visa are not required to apply for ESTA authorization.