Why is my ESTA pending?

Why is my ESTA pending?

You are planning to go to the USA and, therefore, have completed the ESTA online form. After checking the status of your authorization request, it turns out that your ESTA is pending. But then, what does that mean? Does a pending case ultimately lead to a refusal? Answer in this article.

ESTA pending: possible causes

For starters, rest assured, a pending ESTA does not necessarily mean that your application has been declined by the US authorities. This status simply indicates that no final decision has been made regarding your file. Be aware that in all cases, the final status of an ESTA is given within a maximum of 72 hours.

The “pending” status can be attributed to an online request in three cases:

  • the official website of the US government faces a significant number of requests, so it naturally takes longer for the electronic systems to be able to analyze all the requests;
  • the foreign national’s file is chosen at random to be subjected to a more precise verification;
  • the answers contained in the ESTA form require a thorough check, so as to ensure that the traveler does not pose any risk to the internal security of the United States.

A pending ESTA simply requires waiting a few days, while waiting for a final opinion. To check the progress of your ESTA application, simply log on to the US government website by entering your application number, your electronic or biometric passport number and your date of birth. Once connected, you can immediately check whether your file has finally been approved or refused. If you do not have your application number, you will only need to fill in a few additional elements in relation to your biometric or electronic passport (nationality, date of issue and date of expiry).

What possible consequences after a pending ESTA?

In the case of a pending ESTA, two scenarios are possible: the request is approved or the request is rejected.

ESTA granted

The accepted ESTA status means that the American administration authorizes you to go to the USA by air or sea, without having a USA visa. Note, moreover, that the period of validity of this electronic travel authorization is two years. Consequently, you are authorized to stay several times in the United States during these 24 months for tourist, business or transit trips, as long as the duration of the stay does not exceed the limit imposed by the American administration. (90 days maximum).

It is still important to specify that holding an ESTA authorization does not necessarily mean that your admission to American territory will be approved. Indeed, when you arrive in the USA, you will be subject to an individual check carried out by a border post officer. Although this is infrequent, the latter is quite capable of refusing you access to American soil if it deems that you represent any threat to the internal security of the country.

ESTA refused

A refused ESTA USA simply means that you cannot go to the USA under the visa waiver program. However, this status is not final.

US Customs and Border Protection does not provide any details as to the reason for the refusal. We advise you first to check on your ESTA form that you have not made a mistake when entering it. If this is the case, it is possible to make a new request, while waiting 10 days from the first request. The procedure will be exactly the same: you must complete the application form and pay the ESTA fees again.

Alternatively, you may not meet the ESTA eligibility requirements. This is particularly the case if you traveled after 2011 to one of the Muslim Ban countries (Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen) or if you wish to do an internship or study in the USA. In this case, the only possible recourse for traveling to the USA is to apply for a visa via the American Embassy or Consulate General. Be careful, before you start this process, make sure you have a valid passport , as is the case for the temporary residence permit.