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I am going to the US to visit my friend in February. While filling in an ESTA application, I found that there is a question about past visa denials.

Almost 5 years ago, I visited the US for business purposes, attending meetings, and negotiation with clients in the US. I went to the US on an ESTA, but it turned out that our stay (with my boss) might extend to 1 year, so we applied for a B1 visa and we got a refusal because the purpose was not enough and my position as Associate did not convince the office to stay in US for business purposes.

Now I'm very worried about my ESTA application. I answered the question Have you ever been denied a visa? as yes.

Has anyone been through the same situation? I'd like to know how it went.

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    You can add your update as an answer rather than as an edit to the question. You should post your new question as a new question.
    – phoog
    Jan 26 at 7:39

2 Answers 2

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You haven't asked explicitly, but just to be clear, you obviously have to answer yes to the question about past visa denial.

It's probably likely that your ESTA will be refused because of this, but it isn't necessarily automatic. The only way to find out for sure will be to submit the application.

If your ESTA application is unsuccessful, you can apply for a B-2 visa. This could be granted, if the officer finds that your first application was honest, but you simply weren't qualified to visit as a business visitor (this would not be surprising if you were anticipating staying for more than a year), and that your new application is honest and you are currently planning to visit your friend and then go back home. The fact that the refusal happened five years ago will probably work in your favor.

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    Thanks a lot for answering the question...I'm still waiting for the result from ESTA. The thing is my friend booked my go and return flight..Also my B2 visa applying might be late...I will prepare B2 visa application immediately... For the past denial question in ESTA form, I checked yes.
    – Marta chan
    Jan 22 at 14:24
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    @Martachan Note that the time it takes to get an interview can vary a lot from one US embassy/consulate to another, even in the same country, so look up times and if you can, select wisely.
    – jcaron
    Jan 23 at 1:34
  • @jcaron Thanks for an advice. I talked with my friend in the US today and may not go to the US as planned at the worst case; when ESTA has been denied because my B2 visa applying will be late to off to the US in February.. Fortunately, the flight cancel fee seems to be no charge and the hotel fee as well.. So if ESTA has been denied, I will prepare for B2 Visa with no rush..
    – Marta chan
    Jan 23 at 11:14
  • I think they look at the reason why the visa was denied. You said “I’d like to stay for a year”, they said “no you can’t”, you said “ok I’ll fly home then”. Nothing bad has happened here. You didn’t do anything wrong. No reason to deny the ESTA. If your visa was denied because you lied on the application, that would be bad.
    – gnasher729
    Jan 26 at 16:23
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Have you ever been denied a U.S. visa you applied for with your current or previous passport, or have you ever been refused admission to the United States or withdrawn your application for admission at a U.S. port of entry?

is a question in ESTA

Since you must say Yes to that question, it's very likely (but not certain, do apply before trying to apply for a visa) your ESTA will be denied.

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  • Thanks a lot for answering the question...I'm still waiting for the result from ESTA. The thing is my friend booked my go and return flight..Also my B2 visa applying might be late...I will prepare B2 visa application immediately... For the past denial question in ESTA form, I checked yes.
    – Marta chan
    Jan 22 at 14:12

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