I am South Korean citizen. I have the U.S. Law School admission entering August 2019. I have to get F-1 visa. Before August 2019, I would like to enter the U.S. with ESTA visa. I know ESTA is maximum 90 days. I plan to 1) get ESTA visa, 2) return back to South Korea, and 3) get F-1 visa before August 2019. Is it possible?

Moreover, I have rejection of B-2 visa last January 2018. The reason was

You have not been able to demonstrate sufficiently strong ties to a country outside the U.S. that will compel you to return abroad after a temporary visit. Such ties...(abridged)

Does it make me impossible to get the ESTA?

  • 7
    You won’t get ESTA if you were rejected for a visa. Commented Dec 25, 2018 at 1:26
  • 2
    Why did you apply for a B2 visa? You could have used an esta.
    – mdd
    Commented Dec 25, 2018 at 14:08
  • @mdd good question. The most likely reason would be an intention to stay for longer than ninety days.
    – phoog
    Commented Dec 25, 2018 at 19:11

1 Answer 1


After applying for a visa and being refused, you would not be eligible to use the clearance procedure visa waiver program, ESTA/VWP.

The US Customs and Border Protection Info Center has a Q&A that covers the topic:

Previously denied a visa or immigration benefit

How would my eligibility for a travel authorization via ESTA be affected if I was previously denied a visa, previously denied an immigration benefit, or previously committed an immigration-related violation?

If you were previously denied a visa, or previously refused entry to the United States, or previously removed from the U.S., your ESTA application will most likely be denied.

You may want to re-think your plans, rather than have repeated attempts to enter the US affect your F-1 visa application process and future education goals.

  • This used (AFAIR) to be a hard statutory rule; now it is merely a "most likely" prediction. Commented Dec 25, 2018 at 17:31
  • @HenningMakholm yes, but after a B2 refusal with the implication that OP basically has been living in the US, trying to return even before an F1 (another one?).. not promising.
    – Giorgio
    Commented Dec 25, 2018 at 17:47
  • 1
    @HenningMakholm as far as I can see, the only hard and fast statutory requirement aside from the general grounds of inadmissibility has been "no prior violation" of prior VWP admissions. So the obvious conclusion here is to apply for ESTA and if it is granted to use it.
    – phoog
    Commented Dec 25, 2018 at 19:09

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