I was traveling from Europe to LAX and my ESTA was denied. I was sent back home. I was going only for a 12-days holiday. The problem for them was that:

  1. Somebody bought the ticket for me. Not a family member, but a friend, whom I was about to meet at the airport. We met on social media, and he invited me for holidays.

  2. I was staying not at a hotel but at my friend's house, and he doesn't know much about airport immigration, so I sent him a text before the trip that was possible that they would call him, not to worry, etc. And they didn't like that.

  3. They saw my on my Instagram profile that I was on the picture on a club event. (They thought maybe I was paid for that) and maybe I would this time. But I'm not. I said they could call the club and ask, but they didn't. It's just a free party and free tables for people. But it's hard to explain it to them. And of course I was refused to ented the US with on a visa waiver.

So that's my case.

They said to me I could go home and apply for a visitor's visa and that it's pretty easy when you have a job and strong ties in Europe or your home country.

So I will start a job in London, in May 2018. I want to try to apply for a visitor's visa form in September and go to the embassy. Do you think I will have problems? And can I get a visa if I have a job, my own money, my own tickets, my own hotel reservation, etc? Just because once I was refused to enter country under visa waiver?

And if I get a visitor's visa, hat can happen again at the airport with imigration officers? Even though I have all what is asked, can they still deny me just because of a previous experience? Can you give me some advice? Thank you very much.

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    What is your citizenship ? – DumbCoder Mar 27 '18 at 8:33
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    While it often goes quicker, the official recommendation is to apply for the ESTA 72 hours before traveling such that you have time to verify whether it was denied before leaving home. Finding out only on arrival that it didn't actually go through is, as you've found out, not an optimal experience, since you will then in principle be arriving illegally. – hmakholm left over Monica Mar 27 '18 at 10:01
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    @HenningMakholm I think the OP meant that he/she was denied entry under the Visa Waiver Program. The first sentence states that the ESTA was denied, but later in the post, a denial of entry to the US is mentioned. Surely at the airport before departure, nobody will look at an instagram profile. – DCTLib Mar 27 '18 at 11:11
  • @HenningMakholm The asker wouldn't have been allowed onto the plane if they didn't have an ESTA. They were denied entry to the US under the Visa Waiver Program. – David Richerby Mar 31 '18 at 17:24
  • @DavidRicherby: I'm almost sure that at least some of the recent times I've traveled to the US, I've been asked by the check-in agent whether I had an ESTA, and they've been happy with my uncorroborated claim of "yes". I don't think that would have happened if airlines have a reliable way of determining passengers' ESTA status independently. – hmakholm left over Monica Mar 31 '18 at 17:31

Do you think I will have problems?

We can't predict the immigration officers actions. Opinions here are likely to vary. Certainly your previous history will affect future applications. At a minimum I would expect more time to be spent scrutinising your application.

can I get a visa if I have a job, my own money, my own tickets, my own hotel reservation, etc?

None of those should prevent you from obtaining a visa.

Neither are they a cast-iron guarantee that you will obtain a visa.

They are factors in your favour.

Just because once I was refused to enter country under visa waiver?

One refusal does not constitute a lifetime ban. Particularly as they suggested you apply for a visa.

What can happen again at the airport with imigration officers?

You can't rule out anything. You just have to do your best to provide accurate, truthful, complete information.

can they still deny me just because of a previous experience?

They can deny anyone entry. But not solely because you were denied entry before, that would be an insufficient reason by itself. From what you wrote in your question, your circumstances will have changed.

In short, I suggest you stop worrying, accept the possibility of denial, plan for both outcomes, but do your best to make your application as completely accurate and honest as possible. You seem to be on the right track in addressing those aspects that you believe contributed to the previous refusal.

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You were previously eligible for the visa waiver program. However, some aspects of your previous plans caused them to deny entry.

Unfortunately, you are now almost certainly ineligible for the visa waiver program per: https://uk.usembassy.gov/visas/visa-waiver-program/non-immigrant-visa-waiver-program-vwp/

Who is eligible

Citizens of ...

holding valid, full validity e-passports with an electronic chip who are traveling

  • for business, pleasure or transit for less than 90 days. Visa-free travel does not include those who plan to study, work or remain in the United States for more than 90 days;
  • are not ineligible to receive a visa under U.S. visa law. Travelers who have been arrested, even if the arrest did not result in a criminal conviction, those with criminal records, (the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act does not apply to U.S. visa law), certain serious communicable illnesses, those who have been refused admission into, or have been deported from, the United States, or have previously overstayed on the VWP are not eligible to travel visa free under the Visa Waiver Program;
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    There's no indication that Kaekae2018 is a British citizen, but the same is true for anyone whose nationality is eligible for the VWP. – phoog Mar 27 '18 at 17:59
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    I think that embassy page is inaccurate or out of date. (Being government work doesn't ensure accuracy, and the embassy belongs to a different branch of the US administration than the one that oversees immigration regulations). I'm almost sure such a requirement did in fact use to be a part of the conditions of the VWP, but it does not appear to be present in the current statute or regulations. – hmakholm left over Monica Mar 27 '18 at 18:40
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    What is true is that travelers who "have previously overstayed on the VWP" are not eligible. Neither are travelers who are categorically ineligible to receive a visa, or who are "inadmissible" to the US. But the other conditions of that bullet item do not seem to have any basis in the current rules. (In particular they do not in themselves make someone inadmissible or ineligible for a visa). – hmakholm left over Monica Mar 27 '18 at 18:42
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    Edited, to remove explicit mention of UK citizenship. As phoog points out, the OP doesn't say they are british. – Nick Mar 28 '18 at 17:16

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