I have the following question about US Visa and ESTA.

I am about to travel to the US to study. I have a valid F1 Visa, but in a confusion I applied for an ESTA afterwards as well. Both these things are to the same passport. I definitely need to enter to the US using my study Visa.

Will it cause any trouble with the US Customs and Border protection? If yes, is there some way how to correct the mistake?

  • 1
    Having both is probably a quite common scenario. The ESTA is valid for two years, so many people applying for a U.S. visa likely have an ESTA from previous travel that is still valid.
    – user35890
    Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 6:31
  • @dan1111 not to mention that one might need ESTA and the visa for different purposes. The explicit example on the government websites is that of diplomatic visas; these can only be used for personal travel by heads of state. So a lower-ranking diplomat who holds a US diplomatic visa and wants to visit the US for tourism must additionally apply for a B-2 visa or, if eligible, ESTA. I imagine some F-1 students could find situations where they'd want to travel to the US when not allowed under the F-1 visa, such as more than 30 days before the program starts, or the like.
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 12, 2016 at 17:37

1 Answer 1


It's no problem to have an ESTA and a visa. All you must do is to inform the immigration officer of the correct purpose of your travel (study) when you arrive. Present your passport with visa and your I-20 and you'll be fine.

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