I live in Europe (can’t say where) about 7 or 8 years ago I applied for a American visa and I got given one but didn’t travel due to family issues. I did my fingerprints at the embassy in Europe. Two years later I went to Africa and went to the US embassy for a visa again with another name. (It was a stupid mistake, made by a child at the time, family pressure.) All my information came up from the earlier application. The application was refused.

Years later I am still living in Europe and have a European passport. I am planning on going for Holiday with my son to see my family in the US. My only concern is, if I do fingerprints at the airport will that same situation come up again and if so what are they going to do about it? I am travelling with a young child and I am very stressed out about this.

  • 1
    Welcome to Travel.SE. Can you clarify what exactly happened the 2nd time you applied in Africa? Was your application rejected, and if yes, what was the reason given? May 20, 2019 at 23:21
  • Yes it was rejected because they said I was using another name.( identity). But I am not sure what they did with my information. Is that going to effect my entry?
    – Mary
    May 20, 2019 at 23:26
  • "Made by a child at the time": were you under 18?
    – phoog
    May 20, 2019 at 23:50
  • Why do you have two names? How different are they? May 20, 2019 at 23:53
  • @DJClayworth I think the "other name" was actually an attempt to claim another identity (hence "stupid mistake" and "application was refused").
    – phoog
    May 21, 2019 at 3:24

2 Answers 2


In order to travel to the US you will need to apply for an ESTA. One of the questions during the ESTA application is wither you have been refused a US visa in the past, which you will need to answer "Yes" to. Once you do this, it is most likely that your ESTA will be refused and you will need to apply for a US Visa.

Whether a visa is issued will depend on the exact situation and will be at the discretion of the consulate staff, but in most cases if you have been accused of fraud on a prior application then it will be an up-hill battle to get a visa approved, and will likely (at a minimum) require getting a waiver of ineligibility that will take 6 months or more to be approved.

If you answer "No" on the ESTA application, then your ESTA may be issued, but you WILL be fingerprinted at the US border, at which point it's likely your deception will be detected and you will be refused entry to the US, deported, and probably banned entry to the US for life.

  • Otherwise +1, but I disagree with the last paragraph. VWP holders only have two fingers printed on arrival and the purpose is to validate that the holder's fingerprints match the biometric passport prints, not to try to match them against hundreds of millions of other records. May 21, 2019 at 0:39
  • @jpatokal Very, very few passport have fingerprints, so I doubt that's true...
    – Doc
    May 21, 2019 at 0:58
  • Regardless, another question on the ESTA application will ask about other names you've used in the past, which also links you to your previous application under another name. May 21, 2019 at 0:58
  • The OP said in a comment that the US rejected an application "because they said I was using another name". They don't need fingerprints to associate the two names - they already know they are the same person. May 21, 2019 at 4:10

People are not usually fingerprinted arriving at American airports. [EDIT: at a minimum, not VWP arrivals are fingerprinted, to compare with those obtained with visa.] I'm guessing you now have a passport that qualifies for the Visa Waiver Program and you are worried that you will be pulled aside for special treatment at arrival. If (we can't tell from your story) you were denied a US visa in Africa, you can not use the VWP without more lying (a bad idea), and depending on the circumstances you may indeed by blacklisted because of a falsified application. The problem is not that you used another name, as people change names, e.g. after marriage. The problem would be failing to disclose your former name, or applying under a fake name. We will need more details.

Suggestions: If you are eligible for VWP, can you get an ESTA without lying? If so, your chances are good. If you are not, you need a visa in advance like you got before. Fill out the application honestly.

[Additional suggestion: Bring your African passport, to explain (if you are pulled aside) why you have two name records. Don't volunteer it, though. And don't take travel advice from family when you can rely on Stack Exchange.]

  • I was never applying under a fake name. What happen was I had a European passport already when I went to Africa. And I also had a African passport with a different name. My family thought it was a good idea to use that Africa passport to apply for a visa to the US even though I told them I could use my European passport to travel to the US they didn’t want to believe me. I have done the ESTA form with my right information now and it got approved but am still concerned of what might happen at the airport.
    – Mary
    May 20, 2019 at 23:38
  • 5
    Foreigners are absolutely fingerprinted on arrival at US airports.
    – Doc
    May 20, 2019 at 23:39
  • 1
    VWP used to be exempt. Has this changed? May 20, 2019 at 23:44
  • 4
    @AndrewLazarus People entering under VWP have been fingerprinted since 2004 as a part of the US-VISIT program.
    – Doc
    May 20, 2019 at 23:51

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