What are ESTA Application Numbers?

Category: ESTA Processing | 0
What are ESTA Authorization Numbers

Once you have submitted your ESTA application form to CBP (Customs and Border Protection) an ESTA application number will be generated. ESTA application numbers are unique and tied to an individual application. They are used by CBP to identify a particular applicant’s profile.

What is the application number comprised of?

The application number generated by the ESTA system consists of a 16-character alphanumeric string. Characters are in a completely random sequence that does not correspond to any specific attributes of the applicant. Having access to the application number will not enable anyone to get access to the applicant’s private information. However, the application number plus that person’s date of birth and his or her passport number can be used to check the status of that particular ESTA application.

How do I get an ESTA application number?

Once you’ve submitted the ESTA application form, you will get an application number. The application number will be sent via email. If your application is approved, this application number will then become your ESTA authorization number.

What is the use of the application number issued to applicants by ESTA?

Once someone’s application has been approved, the application number will become that applicant’s authorization number. The authorization number provides a digital link to the profile of the applicant, including their travel, personal, passport, and other information. For ESTA applications that have been approved, therefore, the authorization and application numbers are exactly the same.

Should an ESTA application be denied though, there will be no link from the application number to an approved ESTA application. It will, instead, stay in the system with the ‘Travel Not Authorized’ status. The only way to check the status of a currently active ESTA application is online.

How many different types of ESTA statuses are there?

When you check whether your ESTA application has been approved or not, you may encounter many different status‘. If your application status shows as ‘Payment Pending’ it means that no payment has been received yet and that the application has therefore not been forwarded to DHS (Department of Homeland Security) to be processed. You will have to pay the full amount before the application can be processed. If you do not make full payment within a 7-day period after submitting the form, the application will expire. You will no longer be able to access it on the system and you will have to submit a new application.

How can I know whether or not the ESTA authorization number I received is genuine?

This is fairly easy to check. Visit the ESTA application status web page. There you will be able to check the status of the ESTA authorization number you received. If you try to check the application status for that number and the system returns a ‘No Application Found’ message, then there is no such application and you will have to submit a new ESTA application.

For how long is an ESTA application valid?

Once an ESTA application has been approved, it is typically valid for a 2-year period. During this time you are allowed to visit the United States multiple times without the need to apply for a new ESTA. If your ESTA expires while you are in the U.S., it will have no effect on your admissibility or the time duration you will be permitted to stay in the United States. If an ESTA application is not paid for, it will expire within 7 days of the last edit to the application.


The application number generated by the ESTA system when you submit the application form is a vital link between that application to travel to the United States under the VWP (Visa Waiver Program) and your travel, personal, and passport details. It is highly recommended that you make reference of this number so you can later check the status of your ESTA application before boarding a flight or boat to the United States.