The different reasons for refusal of the ESTA authorisation
Applicants whose personal information on their passport does not match that stated on the ESTA application form can have their travel or transit authorisation to the USA refused. This is also the case for those applicants who use a temporary or expired passport.
Also, if the ESTA application form is not completed as instructed then the application may be refused. The questions requiring a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer should not display any notes or explanations.
It should be noted that certain personal information specified on the application form can influence the decision of the authorities. This is the case for applicants suffering from contagious illnesses, foreign citizens that have committed criminal acts or those suspected of being implicated in possible acts of terrorism. Applicants fitting these profiles can also be prohibited access to the United States.
The procedures to follow in the case of ESTA authorisation refusal
As the ESTA application form was destined to filter out any possible terrorists and criminals, people who respond to questions concerning these activities with a ‘yes’ will see their ESTA authorisation application refused. However, those who are refused due to mistakes or omissions on their ESTA application form may submit a new application at an interval of 10 days after the original application.
It is therefore very important to ensure that the personal information stated on the passport matches with that on the ESTA application form to avoid a possible authorisation refusal. For citizens from countries not affiliated with the VWP program, the application for a visa is a necessary procedure.
For the foreign citizens that continue to plan their travel to the USA despite the ESTA refusal, they will have to apply for a visa from the consular services of the American Embassy in their home country.
Please note that if an ESTA authorisation application is refused, the reasons for refusal are not communicated to the applicants. Even in the case of a visit to the American Embassy to obtain a short term visa, the officer charged with the visit will not be able to pass any further information on the reasons for ESTA refusal to the applicant.
Another thing, it should also be noted that no urgent appointment can be granted by the American Embassy to applicants in the case of an ESTA refusal. It is therefore necessary for the applicant to follow standard visa application procedures to be able to visit the USA.
Is it possible to know the reasons for an ESTA travel authorisation refusal?
Although the response to your ESTA travel authorisation application will be carefully determined after a thorough examination of your file, the immigration agents responsible for this are not required to inform you of their reasons for a refusal.
You will therefore simply receive an email indicating that your application has been refused without any other explanation and it will not be possible to know for what reason your authorisation has not been granted.
It is therefore up to you to go through the various reasons for a refusal that we have stated in order to determine if any of them concern you and thereby know if it is judicious for you or not to complete an ESTA application or apply for a traditional visa through the Embassy.
In all cases and if you have received a refusal to your travel authorisation application it is pointless to try and continue with your visit as you will not even be allowed to board your transport by the airline company and even if you did manage to board you would be denied entry onto American territory once you arrived.
Is it possible to obtain an ESTA authorisation following an initial refusal?
As we mentioned previously, the fact of obtaining a refusal following an ESTA authorisation application online does not necessarily mean that you cannot visit the United States using another means of authorisation such as a visa. However you also have the possibility of reapplying for an ESTA after a 10 day wait following the receipt of this refusal notification.
Of course, if you complete a new application exactly the same as the initial application then it will certainly lead to the same response, a refusal by the authorities responsible for examining the applications. But in certain specific cases this new application can result in an acceptance.
For example, if your ESTA was refused due to a simple mistake when initially completing the form there is a strong possibility that your second application may be accepted if all the conditions are respected. This can sometimes happen and it is why you should pay great attention when you complete the application questionnaire and carefully read and check all your answers before its final submission. In fact, you should know that it is not possible to simply modify your answers following a refusal of your ESTA in order to obtain it, you will need to recommence the entire ESTA application procedure from the beginning, including payment of the costs and fees.
It is equally possible that your situation has stopped you obtaining an ESTA authorisation in the past but now, following a major change in this situation, you will be in a position to obtain it. This is the case for example if you were previously refused due to your country of residence that was unacceptable for this authorisation or because your visit was for longer than 90 days or that your visit was for a non-acceptable reason. In any of these cases, and if you now fulfil all the prerequisite conditions for obtaining as ESTA, you may be granted an ESTA authorisation with a new application.
But in certain cases it is pointless to complete a new ESTA application following a refusal as you cannot under any circumstances obtain this authorisation. For example if you have obtained a refusal to your travel authorisation application due to your legal situation or state of health then there is a strong probability that this refusal will be repeated.
Does the refusal of your ESTA application enable you to obtain a visa for the United States?
Of course, those who have received a refusal from the American authorities after examination of their ESTA application can try to continue their visit through another legal means. For example you may have the possibility of applying for a classic visa if your situation is appropriate.
Visa applications can notably be appropriate for people wishing to travel to the USA and who are not a permanent resident of one of the 22 member countries of the ESTA system, or if you wish to stay there for longer than 90 days or wish to visit for other reasons apart from simple tourism.
To complete a visa application you should visit a specialist website that offers the online form and complete it as you would an ESTA. However, there are certain specific differences between an ESTA application and a visa application. For example, with a visa application you will need to upload a photograph of yourself that fulfils certain criteria defined by law. You will also need to supply certain documents and, in some cases, you may be required to meet with authorities to fully submit your application.
The time required to obtain a visa is longer than for an ESTA so we recommend that you apply well in advance to ensure your plans run smoothly.
Important note! If you have obtained a refusal to your ESTA this does not automatically mean you will be granted a visa. In fact, obtaining a visa is subject to certain precise rules that it is important you understand and respect. Therefore, if you are not eligible for an ESTA authorisation it may be possible that your visa application is also refused depending on the responses you have supplied in your online application form. To learn more about the conditions for obtaining a United States visa visit the American Embassy website of your country of residence which will have a list of the important information you should know and explain how to apply for a visa.
To summarise, although there are other ways to visit the USA following a refusal of your ESTA application it is not guaranteed that you will obtain a travel authorisation as this depends above all on your situation.