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What to do if your ESTA application is denied

It can be quite distressing if your ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) application is denied. For the novices, it is an electronic permit that allows citizens of participating countries of the US Visa Waiver Program to travel to the United States without a visitor’s visa.

Whether it is your first time applying for ESTA or you have travelled to the US with it, there may be numerous reasons for your ESTA application being denied. Most of these issues can be resolved without much hassle, and in this section, we have addressed a few of these concerns. Let’s have a look.

Find out the reason for rejection

Whether your application is denied or accepted, you will get a notification via email. Usually, the authorisation process for your ESTA application does not take much time. It may get delayed, but the approval comes through within three days.

If your application is rejected, you first need to determine the cause of the rejection. Knowing the reason is pertinent because you can only determine how to respond, as different rejection reasons will require a different response.

So, the first thing you need to do is find out the reason your application was rejected. You can check the status of your application on the official ESTA website.

Review your application to find out if you have entered the information accurately.

The application questionnaire has nine questions; if you have answered yes to any of these questions, it could be the reason for your rejection. If the answer were a genuine yes, your ESTA would not be authorised. If you mistakenly chose yes, then it can be rectified. You will need to contact the US CBP (Customs and Border Protection) for correcting the application.

Here are a few more reasons why your application may be rejected.

  • You previously applied for a US visa or ESTA, and it was rejected
  • You have a criminal record or share a first and last name with a criminal
  • You have recently travelled to a country categorised as restricted in the US
  • You travelled to the US based on ESTA before and stayed for more than 90 days
  • You were deported from the US for some reason or were denied entry
  • You lost your passport earlier and reported it but found it later, did not get reissued and used it after all.

What to do if the application cannot be rectified

If there are no issues with your application, i.e., you have chosen no for all the questions and entered all the information accurately, and still, your application is rejected, you will need to apply for a visitor’s visa. If you intend to travel for business, you will need a B1 visa, and if you want to go for tourism purposes, you will need a B2 visa.