I am in need of help if anyone has experience in this please let me know who to contact.
I am a German citizen and have traveled the USA on ESTA a lot since my at-the-time fiancée is from there. In 2017 I went there too, but this time I overstayed the 90 days, due to relationship issues. We sorted out the issues, we got married, my son and I then got a green card. We were told that this would also mean we are forgiven the overstay we did on the ESTA. I know that was wrong but like I said above we had our reasons why we wouldn't fly back then.
In 2019 my wife and I decided to move to Germany.
We submitted a form to voluntarily give up the green cards. We were at that point sure that we wouldn't need them since moving back to the USA was out of the question. We were sure that we could always travel there to visit family with an ESTA again. We applied for ESTA last November, and it was apporoved, and then we traveled there in December without problems. The only issue we had was that border control wanted to see our marriage certificate. I think that was because right now only close relatives of US citizens can travel.
So today we wanted to fly again but they denied us boarding. A gentleman from the consulate came and said we can't ever use ESTA again because of the overstay in 2017. But why did they let us travel then in December? He said that was a mistake. We need a tourist visa. It looks to me that is complicated to get since it requires a lot of documents. I really want to be able to fly to the USA as soon as possible. We wanted to travel there to support my brother in law who has cancer. I checked into emergency visas too but it looks those are only for funerals or other stuff which doesn't apply.