I live and work in Sweden. I would like to visit the USA for a vacation with my wife. Can I apply for a visit visa? I applied for ESTA, and I got a denial. So, what do I have to do to get a visa to visit? This is knowing it is my first time to visit the USA.

And if I get there, can I apply for a green card to stay with my wife or not?

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    Do you know or suspect why you were denied an ESTA? Dec 11, 2022 at 23:27
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    The swedish-citizens tag was later added to this question, but the original post only says "live and work in Sweden". Fahd, if you are not actually a Swedish citizen, please edit the question to clarify that.
    – jpa
    Dec 12, 2022 at 9:48
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    @jpa: The title says that the OP has a "Swedish passport" as well. I don't know whether Sweden grants passports to non-citizens but it seems unlikely to me. Dec 12, 2022 at 12:32
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    Where does your wife live? It's not clear whether she lives in Sweden and would be vacationing in the US also, or she currently lives in the US and you have a remote relationship.
    – shoover
    Dec 12, 2022 at 23:38
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    If you are thinking of applying for a green card you are not a vacationer from the perspective of border officials. Dec 14, 2022 at 15:14

2 Answers 2


Can I apply for a visit visa, because I applied for ESTA, and I got a denial.

Yes. If your ESTA application is denied then the next step is to apply for a B visa.

So, what I have to do to get a visa to visit? Knowing it is my first time to visit USA.

The process of applying for a B visa is described on the website of the US Department of State.

And if I get there, can I apply for a green card to stay with my wife or not?

Generally not. If you want to move to the US with your wife, you should apply for an immigrant visa instead of a visitor visa. The State Department also has a page describing that process. If you have more questions about that, you can ask them at Expatriates.


If you have a Swedish passport, it seems unusual to me that you would be denied an ESTA. This probably indicates that there is something about your profile that raises a red flag to the US immigration system, so they want to review your case in-depth with a full visitor visa application. Since they are already suspicious for some unknown reason, I do not think anyone here can give you a reasonable estimate of how likely it is for you to obtain a visitor visa.

That said, there is one definite red flag in your question: "And if I get there, can I apply for a green card to stay with my wife or not?" If the US immigration officials suspect that you might think of applying for a green card after you arrive in the United States, they would most likely deny your visa not because they think you are a dangerous person, but because they might suspect that you are trying to stay longer than the duration of a visitor visa. The correct process is to apply for an immigrant visa before you go to the United States. They would almost always deny visitor visas to people whom they suspect are trying to stay longer than the normal duration for a visitor.

Probably the best way to increase your chances of getting a visitor visa approved is to sincerely plan to visit and then go back in the normal time limit, and then show that you have everything in place for that (e.g., a stable job in Sweden that is expecting you to come back after your vacation). Without such evidence, they might deny your visitor visa.

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    Given the user's display name, "Fahd," which is an Arabic name, it seems likely that he is a dual national of Sweden and a country that disqualifies him from using the VWP, or perhaps he is not, but has nonetheless visited one of the countries that disqualifies people from using the VWP. See for example the section "Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act of 2015" at travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/tourism-visit/…. Of course, it's also possible that he is disqualified for another reason.
    – phoog
    Dec 12, 2022 at 15:25
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    @phoog, I do not want to speculate on what people's names look like. I choose to keep my answer objective, restricted to what the OP actually wrote.
    – Tripartio
    Dec 12, 2022 at 16:10
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    Fair enough. In any event there are many reasons why people can be disqualified from using the VWP, and it's no more unusual for a Swedish citizen to be denied ESTA than it is for a citizen of any other VWP country.
    – phoog
    Dec 12, 2022 at 17:30
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    Good points. I think the stable job and other ties (owning real estate or at least have a rental contract) are essential. For the Visa application it also helps to have a detailed plan, a schedule with tourist activities, hotel, cruise or campground bookings, a letter from your boss, whatever you can produce as circumstantial evidence that the visit is indeed as a tourist. Be prepared to be asked how you'll sustain yourself. Dec 13, 2022 at 15:35

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