Skip to main content

Read more about the reasons why an ESTA is rejected

There are many reasons why an ESTA is rejected. These are not always immediately recognizable. Sometimes it seems very arbitrary. The following is a list of the most frequent reasons. This list is by no means complete.

Failure to complete application form

  • Wrong information in the application: Anyone who provides incorrect information (e.g. about previous convictions, earlier entries into prohibited countries) will be rejected. Such a rejection often leads to the fact that ESTA can no longer be applied for at a later date.
  • Name match with an already rejected person: The request is checked by the computer. If this person encounters a person who has the same name as a person who has already been rejected, the request will in many cases be rejected
  • Suspicious names in the e-mail address: Suppose an applicant is called Ingrid Schulz and has abbreviated the part of her name in IS as her e-mail address. At first glance completely harmless. For Homeland Security this means of course not Ingrid Schulz, but Islamic State. This is of course a reason to reject the application.
  • >Wrong information in the application: If the information from the passport is incorrectly included in the application, it will be approved in most cases. It's still invalid. The border official checks the information and finds that it does not correspond. He's refusing entry. Now the traveller has to make another application quickly. Often the aircraft has flown off in the meantime.

Uncooperative behavior in the past

Who has already entered the country in the past and did not leave on time will often not receive an ESTA application anymore. This point is explicitly queried in the security questions. Anyone who has been negative in any way will have problems with their next entry. This may include:

  • The length of stay of 90 days was exceeded
  • The border official has refused entry
  • The applicant has made use of the ESTA and will only leave for a short time and then return immediately.

The traveller represents a safety risk

In some cases the authorities assume that the applicant represents a safety risk. The assessment is not limited to the application. Even at the airport the entry can still be refused despite valid ESTA. That can be completely different reasons. Some of them he is not responsible for, others are connected with the travel activity of the last years and others have their reasons in the attitude of the traveller. These points are queried in the security questions. If one of these points is answered with yes, the application will automatically be rejected. 

  • The applicant suffers from an infectious disease. That doesn't mean the flu. It's about diseases that could harm him and his fellow travelers. In the application some diseases are listed, due to which the entry is not possible. 
  • Whoever has committed a crime in the past (property offences, drug offences, fraud) cannot enter the country with an ESTA.
  • Who has visited certain countries in the past (currently Syria, Libya, Somalia, Yemen) is also excluded from the Visa Waiver Program. 
  • Who plans to participate in terrorist activities, genocide, sabotage or espionage cannot of course enter the country. Neither with an ESTA nor with a visa.
  • Participants in the Global Entry Program (CBP) do not receive ESTA because they do not need it. You have previously submitted a separate travel request and have undergone an interview. This makes it possible to enter the country very quickly. The CBP was specially designed for frequent flyers to make their entry easier. 

The ESTA can be rejected for many reasons. Sometimes these are perfectly clear, in many cases the rejection seems completely arbitrary. Who already knows or suspects that the ESTA will be rejected, should save the costs. If the application is rejected, the money will not be refunded. This also applies to a visa.