What are the reasons for authorization to be pending after applying for ESTA?
The three patterns of ESTA application results
It is required to apply for ESTA and receive “authorization approved” status to travel to the U.S. without a visa, even for just a few days. After completing your ESTA application, if there are no problems you may receive “authorization approved” status quickly after you apply. However, in rare cases your status may be “authorization pending” or “travel not authorized.” The numbers of such cases have increased over the years, and this likely is due to increase cases of terrorism around the world.
In 2016, the number of screening questions on the ESTA application form increased, and screening for entry to the U.S. has become stricter. This page explains what to do in case you notice that your status is “authorization pending” or “travel not authorized.”
Status after completing ESTA application
1.“Authorization approved”:Authorized to travel to the U.S.
2.“Authorization pending”:Screening in process, or application pending for some other reasons
3.“Travel not authorized”:Not authorized to travel to the U.S. for some reasons (may apply for a B visa)
1.If the result of your ESTA application is “authorization approved”
Applicants who have received the result of “authorization approved” have been authorized to travel to the U.S. under the visa waiver program. You are required to comply with the periods and purposes of travel specified for the visa waiver program. If you intend to stay longer than allowed under the visa waiver program or to visit the U.S. for a purpose not included among those eligible for the visa waiver program, then apply for the required visa (such as student or work visas) instead of ESTA.
2.If the result of your ESTA application is “authorization pending”
The status “authorization pending” means that screening of your application is still under examination. Although results of ESTA application are displayed within three days, or 72 hours, in general if your current status is “authorization pending” then screening of your application still is underway. In that case, we recommend waiting a few hours and then refresh the page to check your status again. On rare occasions, server downtime or large-scale system maintenance at U.S. Customs and Border Protection may delay responses concerning the results of screening. Therefore, please be patient and wait for your results. Also, in rare cases the message “application not found” may appear after an ESTA application is in “authorization pending” status. If that happens, your ESTA application has not been completed properly. The status “travel not authorized” may be displayed in the case of a failed application. Remain calm and try not to panic even if your status is “authorization pending.”
3.If the result of your ESTA application is “travel not authorized”
“Travel not authorized” means that you have been refused authorization to travel to the U.S. for some reason. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which oversees ESTA, will not inform travelers as to why their travel was not authorized. If your travel is not authorized even though you have no serious criminal record and you cannot think of any other reasons for the refusal of authorization, the most likely reason is a mistake in the information you entered.
When applying for ESTA, the application form asks about past criminal history, medical history, and rejected visa applications. For those who mistakenly answered “Yes” to any of these questions, those who have correctly answered “Yes,” or those who submitted a false application concealing a criminal history or medical history for which you should have answered “Yes” to one of these questions, almost without exception your ESTA application will be rejected and your status will be “travel not authorized.” Pay attention and make sure to enter information accurately when applying for ESTA.
You may apply for ESTA again after 24 hours
Even if your status became “travel not authorized,” you may apply for ESTA again as many times as you wish. However, it is decided that for an applicant to be able to apply for ESTA again must to be after at least 24hours have been passed since you were notified of the rejection.
If you entered information incorrectly on your application you may apply again after correcting the information, though screening is stricter for travelers who have been rejected authorization even once, and for this reason it may take a longer time until you are notified of the results.
If your status is “authorization pending,” that means the screening is still underway. Wait for a while and then refresh the page to check your status again. The application fee will not be refunded even if your authorization was rejected due to having entered information incorrectly. You will not be permitted to travel to the U.S. until you have applied for ESTA again, using correct information, and receive authorization. If your application is rejected due to an error in entering information, do not panic; wait at least 24 hours and then apply for ESTA again.