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I'm in Brazil and I'm going to Australia. The best price is going with connections in the USA. I did the ESTA but I've answered that I had been in Iran in 2015 and automatically answered me that I was not allowed to have the ESTA. I know that I can try it again. My doubt is the following one:

-I entered Iran with my old brazilian passport. To do the ESTA I'm using my italian passport that have no stamps at all. I'm going to use my brazilian passport just to leave brazil, after that I'm only using my italian passport. Will I have a problem if I apply the ESTA again answering that I haven't been in Iran? Do they have some kind of link between my passports? If I do this should I answer that I have only this italian passport in the ESTA application?

Thanks!

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  • We discussed matching the two passports of a dual citizen in travel.stackexchange.com/q/89995/4188
    – chx
    May 12 at 16:38
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    @chx but that's not particularly important in this case, because both ESTA applications are being made with the same passport -- Brazil is not in the VWP.
    – phoog
    May 12 at 21:32

3 Answers 3

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There is a simple rule (which we always advise you should follow):
Never lie to border officials.
And that include automated systems.

If they catch you on not disclosing you have been in Iran (and you did already mention it yourself when you first applied for your ESTA) you can be banned for a long time, not just in the USA but also in countries that work together with them like Australia and the UK.

Better find a flight not including a stop in the USA or apply for a visa. As you have been in Iran a few years ago, you might get a visa without problems. But once you have been caught on a lie you will never be trusted anymore. After a ban you may still have trouble getting visa.

Using a different passport may be enough to fool them but that is not a given, it may well be that they combine your name, date of birth, place of birth and other details. And even if there are differences in the details, there might be enough for them to combine the information and work out you are the same person with a different passport.

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    And even if they didn't find out immediately, having lied on the application means that at any time in the future they might suddenly ban you, including just before or even during a flight.
    – JakeDot
    May 12 at 18:27
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    What's worse, in US immigration law, inadmissibility for misrepresentation does not expire. It can be overcome only by obtaining a waiver, which is not straightforward to obtain. The only reasonable course of action here is to follow the advice in this answer and apply for a visa or seek a different route.
    – phoog
    May 12 at 21:09
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    However, using a different passport won't fool anybody because Brazil isn't in the VWP, so both ESTA applications with their different answers will already be linked to the same passport.
    – phoog
    May 12 at 21:34
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Your problem is not that they might link your Italian passport to your Brazilian one and might somehow know that you used the Brazilian passport to travel to Iran; the problem is that they will link your first ESTA application to your second one, because you are using the same passport for both applications, and they will see the change in your answer.

I would not be at all surprised if your second application is denied solely because of your answer on the first application. However, even if your second application is not denied, you run a significant risk of being asked by the immigration officer at the US border to explain why you submitted two applications with different answers. If it comes out that you have in fact been to Iran, you will be found inadmissible to the US and sent back to Brazil with a lifetime ban for misrepresentation.

US immigration officers have much more experience conducting interrogations than you likely do being interrogated, so the likelihood of your being able to keep this fact concealed if they decide to interrogate you is very small indeed.

By contrast, if your second application is denied, you're still in a very bad spot. What would you do in this case -- apply for a visa? If you do, the visa officer is likely to ask about your differing ESTA answers, and that is likely to lead to lifetime inadmissibility for misrepresentation.

A much better plan is to apply for a visa now, without making any misrepresentations, so there will be no reason to refuse the visa.

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Don't lie on immigration applications. Many people have successfully obtained long term U.S. visas after visiting countries that make them ineligible under VWP.

Will I have a problem if I apply the ESTA again answering that I haven't been in Iran?

A willful misrepresentation will result in a permanent bar to the United States. There is no time limit; a permanent bar can be applied even if discovered after 20 years. It is trivial to connect two documents with the same or similar names and dates of birth.

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  • "It is trivial to connect two documents with the same or similar names and dates of birth": but here it is not necessary, because the inconsistent ESTA applications will be associated with the same passport.
    – phoog
    May 12 at 21:35

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