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We applied for an ESTA and traveled to the US in January this year. Suddenly today (month of May) I got an email saying all members in our group have been denied the ESTA.

I got so confused and rang ESTA. They said your bank did a charge back. I couldn't understand what was going on. I called my credit card company, they said they disputed this transaction accidentally, instead of disputing a different transaction.

My credit card company charged me an international transaction twice and it was separate transaction and I was disputing that. They accidentally disputed this ESTA charge, which was back in December 2023.

The ESTA validity was until December 2025. I understand I lost the validity plus future waiver.

I called back ESTA and asked if I can pay the fees again. But they refused and said it is not how it works etc, and that I can never apply for an ESTA again, as we have been denied once!

I have been reading and researching about this but didn't get any answer on my situation where the credit card company made a mistake. Is there any process or a way to rectify it?

I feel like being blacklisted for something I didn't allow my credit card company to do. I read that ESTA denial is not a visa denial and I could still go to the embassy and get a visa, but that will be such an inconvenience to go with kids, plus it costs 10 times more than an ESTA.

It's not a one-time expense that I can ask the credit card company to compensate as I don't know how many times in future I will be visiting etc.

Can someone please advise how to go about this? I am a genuine person and dit not committ intentional fraud.

Is there an option to email with a letter from the credit card company stating they did that accidentally and ready to pay again etc? Has anybody ever experienced my situation or know what the next steps are? Since we had 2 years, we were thinking to visit in September next year but this denial will be a big loss with visa charges.

Also in the group was my spouse and 2 young kids under 8. The email I received said all members in the group were denied the ESTA.

There were 3 more emails for each of the members except one child (I am assuming I didn't get the email for the said child as their passport expired a few days ago).

Will the kids' ESTA also get denied if they apply individually as an adult in the future?

I know that the website says it will get denied even if passport changes, because the kids' name and DOB etc is still the same and it will know it's the same person. What other implications will this have for future visa applications?

Is there any possibility that my visa application through consulate may also get denied, stating we committed a fraud by charge back with ESTA? Thank you for reading so far.

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  • I’m not sure revocation of an ESTA (especially for that reason) actually makes you ineligible to apply for a new one.
    – jcaron
    Commented May 21 at 20:11
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    @jcaron Unfortunately it does: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/54038/… Commented May 21 at 20:36
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    @jcaron. The ESTA lady said that you cannot apply in future via ESTA
    – Baby21
    Commented May 21 at 21:40
  • @lambshaanxy see my comment on the other question (though the case is slightly different here as the ESTA was revoked and not denied).
    – jcaron
    Commented May 21 at 21:55
  • @Baby21 have you tried checking the status of your application on the ESTA website? Does it offer an option to pay again for the previous application?
    – jcaron
    Commented May 21 at 21:56

1 Answer 1

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Get a proper, dated and signed or stamped letter from your credit card company CLEARLY saying that they accidentally did a chargeback of the ESTA fee when they meant to do so for a different transaction. If the bank doesn't understand the problem, say that their mistake literally got you blacklisted in US immigration records, and that they won't believe your explanation unless you provide proof.

Once you have the letter, attach it in a single email to [email protected] AND [email protected] AND [email protected]

Repeat the same in your own words, in bold, that you NEVER requested a chargeback of the ESTA fee - but your bank confused it with a different transaction that you DID request a chargeback for

Ask them to please accept your profuse apologies on behalf of your credit card company for their egregious mess-up and ask if they could please overturn your VWP ban so that you can apply for a new ESTA by paying the fee.

In the title of the email put "Complex request for assistance with ESTA [insert all ESTA reference numbers]", and in the email mention the names and passport numbers of all affected people.

Remember to be extremely polite and apologetic to CBP, even though this is NOT your fault - because it's a BIG favour you're asking of them. Revoking a VWP ban is nearly unheard of (my cousin once succeeded, but the reason for the ban was different)

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    Why these specific 3 people? Is this some ESTA refusal appeal committee? Commented May 22 at 21:52
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    @PaŭloEbermann No, it's the CBP management. Management of most government bodies tends to have more discretion to make goodwill exceptions in extraordinary circumstances like these, whereas lower-level workers will robotically stick to "script"
    – Crazydre
    Commented May 22 at 21:54
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    Maybe you could link to some web page mentioning the positions, to explain this (and make the answer also valid for future cases when it might have changed who has which position)? Commented May 22 at 21:56
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    cbp.gov/about/contact/cbp-hq
    – Midavalo
    Commented May 23 at 3:09

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