It has been more than 3 months since my relative applied for a B1/B2 visa with a Russian passport. They went to the interview, but didn't get an answer yet. In the past, it always took less than 3 months to get the visa, and it has never been refused.

My relative is receiving a European citizenship next week, and could then theoretically travel under ESTA. Should they first try to cancel the B1/B2 application done with the Russian passport before applying for an ESTA with the European passport? Any thoughts/considerations? Any experience with withdrawing a visa application?

EDIT: adding the information that they already went through the interview and received a 221g refusal form requesting for more information, which they have sent more than 3 months ago.

  • 1
    I am not sure how to. But, if you can withdraw that application, it would be good. As, if that visa is denied, you won't be eligible for ESTA, even with new passport. Feb 24 at 16:36
  • 1
    @AnishSheela visa denial is not disqualifying for ESTA nor for the visa waiver program.
    – phoog
    Feb 24 at 17:21
  • Sorry, my bad. Yes, you have to disclose. Feb 24 at 18:18

2 Answers 2


Should they first try to cancel the B1/B2 application done with the Russian passport before applying for an ESTA with the European passport?

There's no need. If the visa is issued before the trip, your relative can choose whether to travel with the visa using the Russian passport or travel with ESTA using the new passport. If the visa is not issued before the trip, your relative can travel using the visa waiver program (but keep in mind that the conditions of the visa waiver program are somewhat more restrictive).

Contrary to the claim in a comment, refusal of a visa application does not disqualify the applicant from using the visa waiver program in the future, though it is necessary to report the refusal on the ESTA application, and this will result in the ESTA application receiving more scrutiny. If the reason for the refusal is benign or no longer relevant then the ESTA is likely to be granted.

  • 4
    However if the ESTA is approved, and then the visa is denied, that ESTA becomes invalid due to the answer to one of the yes/no questions changing. Once the ESTA is approved I would suggest immediately attempting to withdraw the visa application.
    – Doc
    Feb 24 at 18:41
  • @Doc ooh, good point. I'll try to remember to edit the answer accordingly.
    – phoog
    Feb 25 at 16:32

Just wanted to also share the recommendations from a lawyer they contacted. First, he recommended to first contact the embassy. They did, and the embassy said they are still working on the administrative procedure. He recommended to not do ESTA, because there is a very high chance of getting it rejected, and that would make it highly likely to always be rejected in the future. He recommended writing to some senator after 180 days.

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