Aussie family of 4 on holiday in Mexico, having completed Syd > LAX > Mexico.

We're due to do the reverse next Tuesday, and frighteningly received a notice stating my ESTA status has reverted to 'pending'.

I've desperately tried to speak to the CBP on multiple occasions, they have escalated but have no way of providing a timeline.

I've tried to call US embassies/consulates and even Australian consulates. They all point me back to the CBP hotline.

It appears my only option is to now wait.

I'm curious to know if anyone has had this happen to them, what was the eventual outcome and timing?

Right now it seems like my only option is to allow my two young kids/wife to travel back through, spend 2 days in Disneyland whilst I somehow fly back to Australia avoiding transiting in the U.S. (a very difficult task).

  • Just to confirm, the ESTA status of your wife and kids has not changed?
    – Peter M
    Jan 25 at 23:05
  • BTW the only flights I could see heading back to Sydney while avoiding the US were via Lima, Peru
    – Peter M
    Jan 25 at 23:15
  • 1
    What part of Mexico are you in? Were you originally planning on flying back into the US, or by land?
    – Midavalo
    Jan 25 at 23:21
  • 2
    How did you receive this notice? What do you see at i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/recent-search and at esta.cbp.dhs.gov/individualStatusLookup?
    – phoog
    Jan 26 at 1:28

1 Answer 1


For anyone who may stumble across this in the future, the escalation via the CBP phone line seemed to have resolved this in just over 24 hours.

You can call the hotline and request an escalation. They manage your time expectations by stating 5 business days, clearly this happened much earlier.

Worth noting I believe I was lucky, upon googling this appears to happen from time to time with some other cases of people having an ESTA go directly from Approved to Declined.

  • 1
    Have you been informed about any reason why the ESTA status change happened in the first place? Jan 30 at 8:54

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