Has your ESTA application been denied? No panic! We will show you how you can still travel to the USA. Learn about ESTA denial reasons, objection procedures, and alternative travel options.
Thanks to the digitized and fully automated ESTA process, the electronic travel authorization is much easier, cheaper, and faster to obtain than a US visa from the embassies and consulates.
An ESTA is usually only denied by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) if the traveler fails to meet the ESTA requirements or makes a mistake in the application process.
For your ESTA application to be approved, you must meet the following requirements:
If you do not meet the ESTA requirements mentioned here and still submit an ESTA application, it will most likely be denied.
Despite all caution with the ESTA application, it can happen that your travel authorization is denied. As a rule, you will not be told the reasons for an ESTA rejection, as the CBP is not obliged to inform you about them.
However, you can explore the most common reasons for ESTA refusals in the exclusion process and compare them with your personal case. Possible reasons for the denial of ESTA authorizations are:
If you provide false or misleading information on your ESTA application, you will be denied entry to the United States. Also, deliberately providing false information can lead to criminal charges and a permanent entry ban.
To avoid having your ESTA application denied, make every effort to do the following:
If unsure, you can enlist the help of a trusted ESTA agency to help you submit an error-free ESTA application and provide you with additional reassurance.
If you submitted your ESTA application on the US government website and it is denied, your credit card or PayPal account will not be credited the full ESTA costs of $ 21, but only a $ 4 processing fee will be deducted.
When working with ESTA agencies, you can protect yourself with a money-back guarantee. In the unlikely event of an ESTA rejection despite the involvement of an ESTA agency, you will be reimbursed your average service fee of € 60.
After the rejection of your ESTA application, you will first be excluded from the ESTA system for visa-free travel to the USA. Instead of applying for a second ESTA, we recommend applying for a US visa and researching the reasons for the refusal by contacting the CBP and, if unsuccessful, using the TRIP program.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection first encourages travelers with denied ESTA applications to contact help.cbp.gov and use the “Ask a Question” option. However, the “Ask a Question” section is difficult to find, sending ESTA applicants on a wild goose chase.
The solution: You can now find the option under help.cbp.gov/s/article/Article-ContactUs. After clicking on the "Ask us a Question" button, you can select a topic in the form, enter your email address plus screenshots and write a message.
In your message to CBP, explain your problem (e.g., why you answered "yes" to any of the security questions and why there was a misunderstanding) and ask for clarification on the next steps.
If you are stuck on this path and still believe that your ESTA application was denied without reason, you can use the DHS Travel Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP) to have the decision reviewed.
TRIP is a program of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that allows travelers to receive information about why they may be affected by security measures and how they can end those measures.
You can also use TRIP if you are denied entry to the USA despite a valid ESTA approval. However, the program offers no guarantee that the CBP's decision will be changed.
A link to the TRIP website will be provided to you with a notification of your ESTA denial. The question and answer or complaint process may take some time. Therefore, in the meantime, we recommend applying for a US visa so that you can continue with your travel plans.
Do you have further questions about ESTA denials? Then you will surely find what you are looking for in our FAQ.
An alternative to ESTA is to apply for a US visitor visa (B-2 for tourists or B-1 for business travelers). However, you should allow several weeks for this, as visa approvals take much longer than ESTA approvals.
ESTA is an automated screening of travelers with no gray areas. If you have the flu and answer the question about your state of health with "Yes" because you don’t know better, your ESTA will be denied, even though the flu is not a reason for rejection. If you are unsure about answering the ESTA security questions, it is better to seek the help of an ESTA agency.
If your ESTA application is denied and you still want to travel to the USA, you must apply for a visa at the US embassy or consulate. Visit the US Department of State website to learn more about the application process.
It is important that you carefully check that the information in your ESTA application is correct and complete before submitting it. ESTA applications, once submitted, can only be corrected to a limited extent.
You can use the ESTA status query to correct inaccurate information on security questions or contact details shortly after sending. However, in other cases (such as an incorrect passport number), you must immediately reapply to avoid refusal.
You can change your first overnight address in the USA and your email address as often as you like after the ESTA approval within the two-year validity period.
Whether you are allowed to enter the USA after landing is decided neither by an approved visa nor your ESTA permit but by the border staff at the airport. There are different reasons why travelers are not allowed into the country. Again, the DHS Travel Redress Inquiry Program (TRIP) can help clarify this.