The online ESTA application procedure is a simplified process that allows you to travel to the United States without having to apply for a visa. This travel authorisation, which is valid for two years from the date of acceptance, can be used for several trips, transits or stopovers in the USA, provided that the data recorded on it is still valid. In some cases, if the data and information have changed, it is possible to make certain changes to your file. We will therefore explain to you what data can be modified and how to make these modifications simply and directly online.
Situations where it is necessary to amend your ESTA application:
First of all, let's start by reminding you in which cases it is necessary to modify the information on your ESTA file. Once you have validated your application form and paid the fees, you cannot change the answers you have given and must therefore wait for the email response to your application. Once you have received this reply, you can, if you need to, modify certain information which we will detail below. But in which cases is it necessary to modify the information in this file?
Firstly, it is possible that you made a simple mistake when you applied online. In this case, it is of course necessary to correct this error as it could cause you problems when boarding or crossing the border upon arrival in the USA.
Similarly, if you wish to make a new trip to the USA with an ESTA that you obtained previously and some of the information has changed, you will also need to change this information in order to complete your trip.
We will come back to these few elements in more detail below.
What information can be changed on your ESTA?
We will now look in more detail at the information you can change directly online on your ESTA application. Not all changes are possible and in most cases you will have to reapply for these changes to be taken into account. There are, however, some data that can be modified after your ESTA authorisation has been validated and which therefore do not require a new study of your file.
For example, you can easily change the email address you gave in your initial application and thus keep your access to your file if you no longer have the same email address as before. This modification is done directly online and is of course completely free of charge.
Similarly, if you have moved since you first applied for ESTA, you are obliged to indicate this change on your authorisation, which must include your current real address to be valid during your stay. It is also important to note that if you have moved to a country that is not part of the ESTA system, you will no longer be able to use this authorisation to travel to the USA and will have to apply for a visa.
It is also possible to change the address of the destination where you will be staying in the USA during your trip online. It is indeed logical that you use a different accommodation or even visit a different state than on your first trip. In this case, you can change the address of your accommodation or your US airport of destination online. Unfortunately, this is the only information that can be changed on your ESTA application without having to reapply.
Information you cannot change on your ESTA authorization:
As we have just seen, the information that can be modified on your ESTA file is relatively limited and in most cases you will have to apply for a new travel authorisation online when certain situations or data have changed. Here are some examples of information that you cannot change once your ESTA application has been validated and the explanations for this impossibility of modification.
The most concrete example concerns the passport number, which cannot be changed under any circumstances, for a simple reason. The ESTA is an electronic travel authorisation that is electronically linked to the biometric or electronic passport whose number was indicated on the form. Therefore, if you have had to reissue your passport because it has expired or because it has been lost or stolen, you will need to apply for a new ESTA authorisation because your previous authorisation cannot be transferred to your new passport.
Similarly, any change in your identity, such as a change of name, surname or sex, cannot be the subject of a simple modification. This may be the case, for example, following a marriage or divorce with a change of the wife's name. It is very important to remember that the identity data indicated on the ESTA application form must be the same as that shown on your passport.
It goes without saying that any other error or change concerning one of the answers given to the other questions on the ESTA application form cannot be modified online either. It is these questions and the answers you give to them that enable the American authorities to examine your application and to give a negative or positive response.
Therefore, in most cases, you will need to reapply for an ESTA to continue to use this authorisation without risk and travel to the USA again. Without certain modifications, and if you are checked when you embark or arrive in the United States, your ESTA may not be accepted and your trip will be compromised.
Is it possible to modify an ESTA form if you made mistakes when applying?
We have just explained in detail what information you can change on your ESTA file after you have obtained this authorisation and what other information you cannot change and which require a new online application.
Let's now look at the possibility of modifying the ESTA application form, especially when you have made mistakes when filling it in, which unfortunately happens often and can result in a refusal to stay in the USA.
What you need to know is that once validated, an ESTA form cannot be modified and you cannot correct your mistakes once the payment has been made because the response to your request cannot exceed 72 hours, which does not leave time for any modification.
Also, to avoid having to modify your form, it is preferable to reread the answers you have given to each of the questions on the form before validating it definitively. This is possible thanks to an intermediate step that you will have access to after completing the online questionnaire. You will be offered the opportunity to review all the data before finally validating your application. In this way, by taking a few extra minutes to reread the data, you will ensure that you do not have to redo your entire application after it has been rejected due to a simple error.
How do you go about modifying your ESTA file?
Now that you know in which cases it is possible or not to modify information on your ESTA, let's get down to business by explaining how to modify your ESTA file online.
Firstly, if you need to modify your ESTA, it is ideal to have your file number with you, which will have been given to you when your application was validated. With this simple file number, you will be able to access your file and modify some of the simple information we have summarised above.
Of course, if you have lost your file number, you will be able to access your ESTA and make changes to it by going to the official US website and filling in some information about your identity such as your full name and date of birth.
Once the changes have been registered, you will of course have to wait again for the US authorities to check them before you can use your ESTA again. This can take up to 72 hours, the same time as for an initial application.
Is there a charge for changing an ESTA authorisation?
Another question that many people who need to change their ESTA authorisation have is whether or not they need to pay any fees to do so.
Whether or not you have to pay this additional fee actually depends on the type of change you are making. If you are simply updating information that can legally be changed online, you will not have to pay anything.
However, if you change your ESTA in a more significant way or if the data that has changed is not included in the restricted list of information that can be changed, you will have to make a new application, starting the process all over again. In this case, you will of course have to pay the processing and transfer fees again, which is logical since this new application will be examined once again by the US immigration authorities.
Most sites that allow you to access your file to change your address or destination may also charge you a fee. Ultimately, the only ESTA change that is completely free of charge is the change to your email address.
Is it possible to make a simple modification of your ESTA when it has expired?
Let's now move on to the particular case of the end of validity of your ESTA. We have just reviewed all the cases in which certain information in your ESTA file needs to be modified, but it is also possible that certain things have changed since your first authorisation expired.
First of all, remember that your ESTA authorisation has a lifetime of two years from the date of issue and that you can therefore use this authorisation to make several trips during this period, provided that the information on it has not changed or that you have made the necessary changes. However, once this period has expired, you cannot simply renew your ESTA and must therefore make a new application as if it were the first. Therefore, it is not really possible to modify your ESTA once it has expired, but you can very easily enter the correct information in the new form.
Note here that even if you have already obtained ESTA authorisation before, there is no guarantee that you will get it again if major information has changed in your file. The good news is that some sites will give you a full refund of the fee you paid to apply if your application is refused.