Reasons for an ESTA refusal

The ESTA authorization allows citizens of certain countries to travel to the United States (for tourism or business travel of up to 90 days) without having to apply for a U.S. visa first. This measure, although very practical, does not concern everyone and there are several reasons for a ESTA refused. We will detail the conditions of eligibility in order to determine which reasons may lead to a refusal.

Your ESTA is denied because you are not part of the VWP

In order to benefit from ESTA, you must have a passport from a country that is a member of the Visa Waiver Program set up by the American government. The Visa Waiver Program is the first and most important requirement for accessing ESTA.

The program consists of 40 countries since 2022 with the addition of Croatia, listed below:

Andorra, Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brunei, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom

If your country is not on this list, your ESTA application will be will be systematically refused. systematically.

It is possible that your passport is from one of the countries covered by the VWP, but that you are still denied ESTA authorization refusal. This may be due to the fact that you have been in one of the countries on the U.S. blacklist, which are Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. If you have traveled to any of these countries since 2011, entering the U.S. via the VWP does not work and your ESTA will be denied.

Denial of ESTA authorization due to non-compliant passport

The ESTA is an electronic travel authorization and as such must be linked to a valid passport number. By valid, understand that the passport must be capable of containing the owner’s fingerprint, facial and retinal recognition information.

Only a biometric or electronic passport meets these security requirements. will result in the refusal of your ESTA authorization.

If you do not have a valid passport to which the ESTA can be electronically linked, your ESTA application will be denied.

If you have an electronic passport, but have been refused, make sure that the validity period is 6 months longer than the date you started your trip to the United States. If not, you will have to get a new passport.

Denial due to possible threat to U.S. homeland security

U.S. authorities take their country’s homeland security very seriously. If they feel that you pose any threat, your authorization ESTA will be denied. But what makes them think you could be a potential threat?

The third part of the ESTA form, composed of closed questions (where the only possible answers are yes or no), may be to blame.

These questions are designed to find out about your criminal and medical history, your possible membership in a terrorist organization, and whether you want to find a job while in the United States. While you should answer the questions as honestly as possible, be aware that a positive response in this online questionnaire ensures the denial of your ESTA authorization.

In addition, a simple typing error when filling out the online form with your personal information can be perceived as fraud.

What to do if your ESTA is denied?

The refusal of your ESTA authorization does not mean that you are permanently banned from entering the United States, just that you do not meet the criteria for travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.

If you believe that the reason for the denial is simply due to a typo in the online application, you have the option to reapply within 10 days of the denial. If, however, the refusal is repeated on the second attempt, you must turn to another solution.

In order to travel to the United States, you will need to contact the American embassy where you live and apply for a USA tourist visa.