I have a question about visiting USA. I am Lithuanian who lives in UK since 2007.

I visited USA with ESTA waiver visa 3 times in 2010-2012, never over stayed or broke any rules, after my ESTA permission expired I then decided to apply for tourist visa, obviously I was denied twice within a month and got refused ESTA too. ( I had an interview in USA embassy in Lithuania and then I was told that they were unable to check my Criminal records so that's why I need to go to USA embassy in London Coz I live here) . The reason I got refused was -not enough of evidence to prove my ties to country of residence ). Now 2.5 years later I need to visit USA and not sure if I would get approved for ESTA waiver visa?

  • 1
    could you give us an update on what you did and how it went? Did you apply for the ESTA again?
    – user99778
    Commented Jul 4, 2019 at 18:41

2 Answers 2


The US Government has a page that answers your question: "How would my eligibility for a travel authorization via ESTA be affected if I was previously denied a visa, previously denied an immigration benefit, or previously committed an immigration-related violation?"

If you were previously denied a visa, or previously refused entry to the United States, or previously removed from the U.S., your ESTA application will most likely be denied.

If you were allowed to board your carrier, you may be subject to additional processing upon arrival at U.S. ports of entry, and may be denied admission to the U.S. Applicants who are uncertain of whether they qualify for travel under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) are encouraged to apply for ESTA authorization early, to allow time to apply for a visa, if needed.

Be sure to note the information on that page about answering the "have you been denied a visa" question honestly. If they determine that you gave any false answers, your visa problems will become exponentially worse.

You can certainly try to apply through the ESTA website, but it's likely you'd be denied (and be out the $4 processing fee). To travel to the US if you can't get approved for ESTA, you'll need to apply for a visa.

  • The ESTA site says (somewhere) that the processing fee ($4) won't be refunded, but the "Approved by Barack Obama" tourism marketing fee ($10) will.
    – CMaster
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 19:17
  • Well I suppose it would be insulting to make people who are refused entry pay to promote visiting the country they aren't allowed to visit. Of course the irony and inefficiency of taxing tourists to promote tourism is mind-boggling anyway. Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 19:19
  • 1
    @CMaster According to this page, at least, the $4 charge is for processing and the $10 charge is for "authorization": help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/1072/kw/esta%20cost/…
    – phoog
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 19:51
  • The link for "a page" seems to be broken.
    – phoog
    Commented Mar 8, 2016 at 19:56

I'm not sure how it would be obvious that you were twice denied a tourist visa within a month, except that you have told us this.

In general, if you've been found "ineligible" for a US visa, you may not use the visa waiver program, which in turn means that you should not apply for ESTA.

Previous Compliance and No Prior Visa Ineligibilities.

If you have had a U.S. visa before or previously traveled to the United States under the VWP or another status, you must have complied with the conditions of previous admissions to the United States, and you must not have previously been found ineligible for a U.S. visa.

(emphasis added; source: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/visit/visa-waiver-program.html)

I do not know whether your tourist visa refusals count as having been found ineligible for a US visa, but it does seem likely. Perhaps if you edit your question to include the reasons for the refusals, you will be able to get a more definite answer.

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