“Communicable disease” – What is it?

disease esta usa

Many ESTA applicants are unsure of the meaning of “Communicable diseases”, what are they, how should this question be answered, does the flue count as a communicable disease etc.


This article will help you better understand the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regulations as well as what you need to do in different situations.

What is a Communicable Disease?

easily spread from one person to another in any of the following ways:

  • Blood contact or through bodily fluids
  • Airborne viruses
  • Diseases transmitted through insect bites

The spread of the disease is one of two factors. The second one is the impact it might have on public health. A commonly committed error tends to be answering “Yes” to this ESTA application question, when the applicant is currently suffering from a cold or the flue. However, such mild infections are not considered dangerous nor a threat to the population of the U.S. anymore, since they are easily controlled and curable.

As of January 4th, 2010 the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) concluded that HIV-positive applicants are no longer banned from entering the States, on the grounds of their immune deficiency. CDC supported their decision with the following statement: “Any risk posed by HIV-infected people is not a result of their nationality, but is based on specific behaviors such as unprotected sex or needle-sharing with someone infected with HIV”.

Diseases that prevent you from applying for ESTA

Following is the official list of diseases, published by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. If you currently suffer from any of the illnesses below, you must answer “Yes” to the “Do you have a communicable disease?” question, part of your ESTA application.

  • Lymphogranuloma venereum -a spasexually transmitted disease, infecting the lymphatics and lymph nodes.  
  • Gonorrhea –  a sexually transmitted infection.
  • Granuloma inguinale – a bacterial disease. Takes the form of painless noodles, found on genitalia.
  • Chancroid – a sexually transmitted infection, found mostly in the developing countries.
  • Infectious Leprosy – a long-term infection, spread through respiratory droplets. The disease occurs most commonly amongst those living in poverty and poor conditions.  
  • Active Tuberculosis – an infectious illness, affecting mostly the lungs, leading to a chronic and blood-containing cough, when in advanced stage.
  • Syphilis (infectious stage) – an infection, spread through sexual activity. Your ESTA application only refers to syphilis in advanced infectious stage. If this is not your case and you are currently being treated, please provide medical proof of the disease progress and the plan for your treatment.

Note that lying to this question will not help to get your ESTA approved more easily. All candidates are carefully examined, before allowed in the States, after landing.

If you have been cured of any of those communicable diseases or are currently undergoing treatment due to which are no longer contagious, you may answer “No” to the question. However, you must bring an official medical document, proving you do not represent a danger to the general population.

If this is not relevant to your personal case and you are not suffering from any of those communicable diseases, your ESTA application should be approved. Our immigration specialists are here to make sure your application gets approved, by carefully reviewing all the required personal details.

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