Case Number 1: Refusal of ESTA after a request via the official form

ESTA refused, you will need to apply for a visa to enter the United States

First of all, don't panic, the ESTA form is very rarely refused by the American authorities, as long as you know the formalities to be completed. We estimate that the refusal rate is about 0.1%, which represents about 1 request out of 1000 refused. In most cases, after ESTA's refusal, applying for a VISA from the U. S. Embassy (usually VISA B2) is your only way to save your trip. You can check the status of your ESTA application online.

First of all, there are two types of ESTA refusal:

  1. Before you leave, you will receive an authorization that says "Unauthorized travel."
  2. You have an authorization with the words "Authorization granted" on it, but you are refused entry into the territory.


Case Number 1: Refusal of ESTA after a request via the official form

For the first case, the causes can be many. First, if you have already submitted an identical application, a new application will be refused by the system. There may also be an error in the data submitted, for example, if your passport number is incorrect or if your name is incorrectly written.

It is therefore very important to check the data carefully before validating the form. Moreover, few people know it, but an ESTA request will be refused if a VISA for the USA has already been refused to you (regardless of the type of VISA). So, if you apply for a VISA at the embassy and it is refused, you will no longer be able to travel to the USA with an ESTA authorization. A new VISA application will be required.

Case Number 2: What is the possibility in case of invalidation of the ESTA on entry to immigration?

The second case is rarer, but not impossible. You have your ESTA authorization in your pocket, and when you arrive at the immigration post in the USA, the agent asks you to follow him. After further questioning at the immigration offices, you may be told that you must go home after taking your fingerprints and searching your suitcases, papers, etc.

Please note that while waiting for the next available return flight, you will have to wait at the immigration offices. This can be a traumatic experience. Indeed, some people have waited more than 30 hours for their flight in places that are generally not welcoming. You are not aware of your flight schedule, which must be very frustrating.

In addition, you will only get one phone call; be sure to call the right person, as cell phones are not allowed in the premises. Some people have even told us that they slept on benches as a bed in a locked cell. Again, there are many causes.

The main reasons for refusing your ESTA application

Most often, people who are returning to their country of origin are suspected of coming to work in the USA without a VISA (remember, you cannot work with an ESTA authorization). This can also happen if, during a previous trip, you have exceeded the maximum duration of the ESTA (90 days) or your VISA; this is called "overstay".

This case is more serious because it is severely punished by the United States; depending on the duration of the overtaking, you may be subject to a ban of 6 months to several years. Keep in mind that ESTA does not allow you to enter American territory. It is not a VISA; on the contrary it is an exemption from VISA. Only the immigration officer when you leave the plane decides whether to let you in or not.

If your travel authorization has been refused, you will need to apply for a visa

If you receive an authorization with the words "Unauthorized travel" on it, you will have to check that all the information given is correct. If so, then you will be required to apply for a VISA from the U. S. Embassy. In addition, you will not be able to know the reason(s) for the refusal.

If you are refused entry to the United States, there is no need to submit a new ESTA application, it will be refused. You must also apply for a VISA at the US Embassy here.

Apply for a B2 visa to enter the United States

There is the VISA B2, which is a long term tourist VISA and allows you to travel to the United States for a maximum of 6 months. But, it is quite complicated to obtain it since you have to prove to the consular agent that you are not going to immigrate illegally to the USA. This will require proof of attachment to your country of origin (employment contract, title deed, etc.).

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