What happens if my ESTA is denied?
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What happens if my ESTA is denied?

It is now standard procedure that if you wish to travel to the United States of America you must first pass pre-screening by the United States government.

If you are planning a trip to the US, either for business or pleasure, for less than 90 days and you are a citizen of a country in the Visa Waiver Program, you need to apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization). You must successfully be granted an ESTA before you will be allowed to board a plane or ship going to the United States. Citizens of countries outside of the Visa Waiver Program require a non-immigrant visa for short-term travel and will not be granted an ESTA.

If you are eligible for an ESTA, It is recommended that you apply at least 72 hours in advance of travel to allow for processing time and potentially time to iron out any problems which may arise.

Who is eligible for an ESTA?

If you are a citizen of a country in the Visa Waiver Program, you are not in current possession of another US visa, and your travel is for 90 days or less, you may be given an ESTA.

However, if you wish to stay longer than the approved 90 days, you may be required to apply for a business visa or residence visa. In addition, if your country is not a part of the Visa Waiver Program, you must obtain a visa prior to travelling to the US.

Which countries are in the Visa Waiver Program?

There are now 38 members of the Visa Waiver Program: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and United Kingdom.

What information do you need to provide for the ESTA application?

In the ESTA application form you will be asked to provide you name, birth date, valid passport information and your destination address in the US. In addition to this information, you will be asked questions about your health, any criminal history and any past visa denials or deportations. You are given time to check your application form for any mistakes or gaps for your form is submitted. Please note that if you unknowingly or purposely apply with false information, you may become permanently ineligible for travel to the US.

What should you do if your ESTA application is denied?

There are three types of responses to an ESTA application: ‘Authorisation Approved’, ‘Authorisation Pending’, and finally ‘Travel Not Authorised’. Whilst the vast amount of ESTA applications go from pending to approved within three days, sometimes hopeful travellers receive a ‘Travel Not Authorised’ response. If your ESTA application is denied, you may consider applying for a non-immigrant visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate, though please note that Embassies and Consulates will charge a fee for this service.

Can you reapply for another ESTA if you are refused the first time?

If you meet the eligibility criteria for the ESTA visa but you are rejected the first time, you may reapply after ten days. However, if you are not eligible for an ESTA and your circumstances have not changed since your last application, your ESTA form will be rejected again.

Can you find out the reason your application was denied?

There are no guarantees that any request to find out the reason why an ESTA visa was denied will be granted. The ESTA system is designed to deny entry to those who pose a security risk or reject entry to individuals who do not meet the eligibility criteria of the Visa Waiver Program.

Embassies and Consulates will not provide details about ESTA denials, nor act as mediators in ESTA disputes. However, these bodies can process an application for a non-immigrant visa which is likely to take longer than the average 72 hours for ESTAs.

Can you get an emergency visa appointment with the US embassy if your ESTA is denied?

In the event of ESTA denial, you may wish to seek an emergency visa appointment at a US Embassy or Consulate. However, due to the demand of visas, there is no guarantee you will secure a next-day appointment. Therefore, travellers are advised to make their applications in advance, consider getting advice from visa agencies, and read information about the ESTA visa process.