You are going to the United States and have confirmed your decision by purchasing your plane tickets? Congratulations, this country will not fail to surprise you!
Once you know your destination and travel dates, you can start the ESTA application process.
Most authorizations are issued the same day, however, some applications may be “pending”. Don’t panic, if you have nothing to reproach yourself for, you should know that this status is common and that it is not synonymous with refusal. Thus the validity of the ESTA is not yet effective but pending.
ESTA application “pending”: explanations
First of all, it is very rare that an ESTA is refused (around 0.1%). We will therefore review the various reasons why a travel authorization request may be pending.
- When you validate your application form, certain checks are then carried out automatically (e.g. your nationality or whether a previous application has been refused). If you submit your application during a busy period on the site (e.g. in December), it will most likely be put on hold.
- The American authorities carry out random checks. Your file may be pending for this reason.
- Some additional checks may also be performed as a result of the information you have provided. These are conducted so that the government can ensure that you do not pose a threat to the country in any way.
Status “pending”, for how long?
While most applications are processed within one day of submission, the official maximum processing time is 72 hours. Therefore, we advise you to take this time frame into consideration when applying so that you do not find yourself ready to board your plane without your ESTA, as your stay could be ruined. Without prior travel authorization, you will not be able to travel to the United States (unless you have a green card or visa, in which case you are exempt).
ESTA refused, what to do?
After the 72-hour period, the status of your file indicates that your ESTA application has been denied. You can reapply in 10 days. In the meantime, check that you have not made any mistakes and that you meet all the eligibility criteria.
Alternatively, you can apply for a visa at theembassy or consulate. The process is a little longer and more expensive, but if successful, you are assured of a safe trip to the United States.