I am barred for life from the US visa waiver programme.

I have always followed the rules, never overstayed etc., etc., - I thought building up a history and following all rules and being honest from the start would count for something but compared to my first visa in 2001 (all done remotely by post) and was valid 5 years thru to my last application in 2011 that took best part of 6 months to complete process and involved personal interview at embassy that ultimately got me a visa that was only valid for 360 days. I used to come for vacation annually to USA but not been since 2012 (when that last visa expired) as the burden I felt was to great to do that on an annual basis - to spend $500 complying with all requirements demanded including day off work to travel to Embassy for interview and related costs etc. was just to must to justify before any normal holiday costs (I accepted it when only had to do it every 5 years).

Is there anything I can do to get back to being granted a longer validity period or even be allowed back on the waiver programme and able to obtain an ESTA and enter under the WVP?

  • 5
    Why are you from esta?
    – mdd
    Jan 20, 2019 at 4:36
  • The maximum length of your visa depends on your nationality. What is it?
    – phoog
    Jan 20, 2019 at 4:58
  • I am British (UK) Jan 20, 2019 at 6:31
  • 3
    @bluelionman Why are you banned for life from the VWP/ESTA?
    – Traveller
    Jan 20, 2019 at 13:34
  • 1
    @Traveller - Alas I have a spent conviction from when I was 19. Jan 21, 2019 at 19:06

1 Answer 1


Based on your description it sounds like you have had a criminal conviction of some type in the past. The fact your previous visa took many months to be approved sounds like the process that occurs when you are found ineligible for a visa, but you apply for a "waiver of ineligibility" which was subsequently approved.

In cases like this, it is not uncommon for them to issue a short-term visa - in your case only 1 year rather than the up to 10 years they can be issued for. The length of the visa is entirely at the discretion of the staff issuing it - there is nothing specific you can do to request a longer visa.

However if you apply for a new visa - and if your situation has not changed since the previous application (ie, you haven't committed any crimes since then, you didn't overstay on your previous US visa, etc) then it is likely that you will be issued with a longer visa. There is no guarantee that this will be the case - it's entirely up to the consulate staff's discretion, and whether they believe issuing you a longer visa is a risk or not.

Presuming you did require a Waiver of Ineligibility for your previous application it is possible you will also need to apply for one on this occasion (it depends on what was previously approved), so keep in mind that the entire process could take several months once again.

  • 1
    Yes - it always takes several months and that is exactly why - what I don't get though is what I did was when I was 19 - I am now 45. I freely admitted all in first ever contact when I was 26 that resulted in me applying for a 10 year visa but only got issued a 5 years one - upon making inquiries I got told that is the longest one can have in my position. 5 years later when it expired I went for another one (in the interim 9/11 had happened so process was a lot harder) but ultimately I got another 5 years - then in 2011 even harder process yet again but now they only gave me 1 year? Jan 21, 2019 at 19:15
  • "Presuming you did require a Waiver of Ineligibility for your previous application it is possible you will also need to apply for one on this occasion" Yes, nonimmigrant waivers (except for Canadians) are tied to the visa, and a new nonimmigrant waiver needs to be applied for a new visa, even if the waiver is granted for longer than the visa.
    – user102008
    Apr 13, 2019 at 4:53

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