The Electronic System for Travel Authorisation, commonly referred to as ESTA, is a program regulated by the US to allow residents of participating countries of the US Visa Waiver Program to enter the USA without requiring a visit visa. This is contingent upon the requirement that their stay in the country should not be more than 90 days, and the purpose of travel should be transit, business, or tourism only.

If it is your first time, you may be apprehensive about getting approval for ESTA so that you can travel to the US on your intended travel date without any inconvenience. Usually, the ESTA application is approved within three days or less, provided all the information is accurate, and there is no problem with the application.

Here are a few tips to help ensure that your ESTA application is successful.

  • Make sure to enter accurate information on your ESTA application.
  • The answer to all the security questions on the questionnaire should be No. Your application will be denied if you mistakenly choose yes to any of the questions. If the answer to any question, for instance, travels to a restricted country recently, is a yes, you will not be granted approval.
  • You must also ensure that you have an e-passport, i.e., it should have a chip containing your information. If you do not have an electronic passport, you cannot apply for ESTA.
  • You will also not be granted approval if your passport is near expiry. It must be valid for at least six months from the date you enter the US.

Here are a few instances when your application may be rejected.

  • You chose yes as an answer to one or more questions on the form
  • If you have a criminal record
  • Your previous visa or ESTA application was rejected
  • You went to the US on ESTA in the past and overstayed
  • You violated a US visa stipulation in the past or were deported for some reason

Your application may also be rejected if you have the same first and last name as someone with a criminal record. It may take a while to work out the situation and get the issue resolved. You can check the status of your application on the official website for ESTA. If your application is rejected and the reason was some mistake with your form, for instance, you chose yes to one of the questions; you will have to contact the US Customs and Borders Protection for application rectification.

If your application has been rejected and there is no issue with the information on your application, you may have to apply for a visit visa.