I'm a Spanish citizen and I was denied entry to the US 7 years ago because they found out I had been working after being admitted under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). They banned me for 5 years. Now I want to go back as a tourist for a few days with my partner and I'd like to know what should I do and whether or not I have any chance of getting a visa.


2 Answers 2


Even if we knew the complete details of your ban, and the complete details of your current situation, and the complete details of a future US visa application — which we don't — the answer to "any chance?" would still be an opinion.

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The only way to know the answer is to apply, and to answer truthfully all the questions put to you.

  • 2
    I believe a previous refusal means an ESTA is out of the question anyway. So visa it must be, which currently means waits of over a year to get an answer. Better be motivated.
    – jcaron
    Oct 19, 2022 at 23:19
  • @jcaron Right you are, thanks. I amended the answer to omit mention of ESTA. Oct 20, 2022 at 1:02
  • 2
    @jcaron a previous refusal does not by itself automatically disqualify one from ESTA. There is, however, a previous violation of a VWP admission, and that does disqualify OP from using the VWP.
    – phoog
    Oct 20, 2022 at 5:59

As the ban has now lapsed, you can apply for a visa. But of course, officers examining your application will know about your previous violation and ban, so you start with a negative impression.

You'll have to fight hard to convince them that they should grant you a visa. Your application should be bullet-proof, with very strong ties to your home country (i.e. at the very least a stable, well-paid job, so you don't need to start looking for one in the US), an itinerary consistent with your stated reason for the visit, etc.

Still, they could decide outright that given your history they don't trust you whatever you say, however nobody but them can tell you that.

Since visa waiting times are currently over a year, it could make sense to delay the application until they come back to normal. Planning a holiday a year in advance is probably unusual (especially for "a few days"), and you'll have more difficulty in providing a consistent picture.

  • 1
    Visa waiting time depends on your location (and luck). Some places are not so bad as others. But yeah appointments are not easy to get.
    – xngtng
    Oct 20, 2022 at 11:37
  • @xngtng I checked Madrid since OP is a Spanish citizen, which has a one-year wait. Barcelona is closed. Didn't check further though, maybe there are other locations nearby (or wherever OP lives, if it's not in Spain) with shorter waiting times.
    – jcaron
    Oct 20, 2022 at 11:57
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    I've seen inconsistent waiting times at a couple of consulates recently. My guess is that they may add capacity from time to time, causing the wait times to drop, whereafter they quickly return to around one year as the newly released appointments are taken. It may be fruitful to check the wait times periodically.
    – phoog
    Oct 20, 2022 at 13:28

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