Why is my ESTA application pending?

Most commonly, you will receive an almost immediate response to your ESTA application, based on your eligibility under the Visa Waiver Program.

There are 3 types of possible responses:

  • Authorization Approved,
  • Authorization Pending,
  • Travel not Authorized.

If your ESTA application has been approved, you are authorised to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.

My ESTA application is on Pending Status

In the case that your ESTA application is on the pending status, it simply means that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is reviewing the information you provided on your form. The ESTA Authorization pending status usually does not last over 72 hours, you will generally be notified of the final decision of your application within this period.

ESTA pending status refers to the undergoing review of your overall application as well as all the details provided in it. If your current status is “Authorization Pending“, after completing the online ESTA form, please wait a couple of hours, refresh the page and check your status again.
In rare cases, the status “No application found” may appear after an ESTA pending status. If this is the case, your application has not been made successfully. You can start a new application process.

“Travel not Authorized” is another possible response for unsuccessful applications. In this case you might have to apply for a nonimmigrant tourist or business visa.

Reasons for the ESTA authorization pending

If you have applied for the ESTA visa and the status of the application is on pending, this simply means that your ESTA is under review.

The main reason for an ESTA pending authorization is that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection is revising your details. Some people’s applications are approved within minutes and others take longer.

When completing the ESTA application form it’s very important to:

  • Complete each section with accurate information
  • Revise that you have provided the correct number of your passport
  • Respond security questions with honesty
  • Provide a valid email address and payment method

Make sure that your passport has at least 6 months validity when you submit the application for the ESTA.

ESTA Under Review

When and ESTA is under review, it simply means that the information you provided on your application is being verified. The purpose of the ESTA is to screen travelers in order to contribute to the security of the US external borders.

There are single cases, which might cause the Government of the United States to review your application longer. Bear in mind that all ESTA applications are screened against a series of databases in order to verify the identity of the traveler and check that the passport hasn’t been reported stolen or lost.

If you have completed your application following the instructions and with the accurate information, your ESTA pending status should not alarm you. It will take up to 72 hours, and in some rare cases more, to approve your application.

What if my pending ESTA application is denied?

In the rare case that an ESTA application is denied and your circumstances have not changed, a new application will be denied. A traveler who is not eligible to travel with the ESTA should apply for a different type of visa. The visitor visa for the USA can be obtained by applying at an embassy or consulate, a valid passport will be needed.

In the occasions when an applicant has received an ESTA application rejection, he/she still has the option of entering the United States. They will not be able to do so under the Visa Waiver Program, however, all unsuccessful ESTA applications may apply for a B1 Work Visa or a B2 Tourist Visa.

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