There are three possible responses to an ESTA application:

Here we focus on the latter case and reveal the reasons for ESTA refusal.


The American authorities do not give reasons for refusing an ESTA application. Contact the Travel Redress Inquiry Program of the US Department of Homeland Security to ask for an explanation.

In our experience, however, we can cite three reasons for ESTA refusal: an error in entering the form online, answering yes to the questionnaire and failure to meet one or more eligibility conditions.

It is essential to fill in each field of the ESTA form with the utmost care, and to check that all the data entered is correct before validating the application. The slightest error can result in a refusal. The only information that can be changed once the ESTA application has been validated is the e-mail address and the local address (in the USA).

In addition to the form, the applicant must answer a series of closed questions (possible answers: yes or no). If the applicant answers yes to any of the questions, this positive answer may result in a refusal.

ESTA travel authorization was introduced with the primary aim of guaranteeing the national security of the United States as part of the Visa Waiver Program. This program allows nationals of member countries to travel to the United States without a visa. As a filter, ESTA authorization is subject to several eligibility criteria.

Anyone wishing to travel to or transit through the United States must :

A valid ESTA is of course required for travel to the USA, so it’s a good idea to make sure that it hasn’t expired (two years from the date of issue) and that its information is still correct.


If the reason for an ESTA refusal is a typing error or a mistake on the form, this is relatively inconsequential. As the option to re-examine the application is not available, a new application will have to be made. Of course, a new application means paying the ESTA fee all over again. There is also a 10-day waiting period between the two requests.

Making a new application online involves following the same procedure: filling in the ESTA form available on the official US government website, or on a private website such as our partner’s, to obtain assistance and avoid another refusal.

If the reason for the ESTA refusal is non-compliance with an eligibility condition or a yes answer to one of the closed questions, the only alternative is to contact the US embassy to apply for a visa corresponding to the reason for your stay in the USA.

We strongly advise against taking shortcuts and lying on the online form. At best, the immigration officer forbids you to enter the U.S. and you are forced to return to France; at worst, you are prosecuted. When submitting the form, the traveler agrees to provide true and accurate information. Irregular applications may be subject to administrative and criminal penalties.