Updated: Aug 24, 2023
An ESTA application number is generated once an application is submitted to Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The application number is a unique identifier used by CBP to identify traveler profiles. The ESTA application number is an alphanumeric string of 16 characters. The sequence of characters is random and does not represent any attributes of an applicant. The application number itself cannot be used to obtain applicant information, however, alongside a passport number and date of birth, it can be used to obtain the status of an existing ESTA application.
The number digitally links an applicant’s profile, including their passport, personal, travel and other information. The ESTA application number is also used as a traveler’s authorization number when the application is approved. Thus, for approved ESTA applications, the application number and authorization number are same. However in cases where an ESTA is denied, an ESTA application number will not be linked to a successfully authorized ESTA application, instead it will remain in the status of ‘Travel Not Authorized’. The status of an existing ESTA application can only be checked online.
Status Check: You can use this number to check the status of your ESTA application.
Updates: If you need to update non-critical information on your application, such as an address of stay in the U.S., the application number is essential.
Record Keeping: The application number is important for your records, especially if you need to refer back to an approved application when planning future travel to the U.S.
Travel Reference: Airlines and border control agencies may require you to provide this number as part of their procedures to verify your travel authorization.
Applying for a New ESTA: If your ESTA is nearing expiration and you plan to apply again, having the previous application number handy can be helpful to reference, although usually, you'll need to start a new application as the previous submission may no longer be available.
Your ESTA Application Number can be found in one of three ways:
 Initial Confirmation Page: The ESTA Application Number is typically displayed on the confirmation screen immediately after you submit your application.
 Email Confirmation: It is also sent to the email address provided during the application process.
 PDF Copy: You may have received or saved a digital PDF copy of the confirmation page or email for your records. This page should contain your ESTA Application Number
If you lose or forget your ESTA Application Number, you can usually retrieve it by going to the ESTA website and using the "Check Existing Application" or "Retrieve Application Number" feature. You'll need to provide identifying information such as your passport number and birth date.
Always keep your ESTA Application Number confidential and secure to protect your personal information. Keep in mind that guidelines and features can change, so it's good to check the most recent regulations and procedures.
There are multiple ESTA status’ which applicants may come across when checking if their ESTA is still valid. If the status is ‘Payment Pending’ this means an application has not yet been submitted to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for processing. Thus, the applicant will need to complete payment for their application to be processed. If an ESTA application is not paid within seven days it will expire and will no longer be accessible and a new application will need to be submitted.
You can verify the status of any ESTA authorization received by visiting the check ESTA application status page. If the application status returns as ‘No Application Found’ then no application exists and you will need to apply for ESTA.
An ESTA application number is an important link between your application to enter the U.S. under the Visa Waiver Program, your passport, personal and travel details. Applicants are advised to make a note of their ESTA application numbers to check the status of their authorizations before traveling to the United States.