Go Back  British Expats > Living & Moving Abroad > USA > US Immigration, Citizenship and Visas
Reload this Page >

ESTA "Travel not Authorized" no idea why!

ESTA "Travel not Authorized" no idea why!

Closed Thread

Old Nov 7th 2011, 4:12 pm
  #1  
Just Joined
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 6
Dreameline is an unknown quantity at this point
Question ESTA "Travel not Authorized" no idea why!

I'm looking for advice: My previous ESTA expired, so I applied for a new one only to get "Travel not Authorized". I, truthfully, answered "No" to all the eligibility questions & have quadruple checked all the other details are correct, so have no idea why my application has been declined.

I usually spend a week or two, in L.A., every January & have never had any problems. I didn't go this year (last there in Jan 2010), but have booked to go mid-January 2012. As my circumstances have not changed, I was expecting the ESTA application to be a simple formality!

I've read advice on applying for a B1 or B2 & don't want to rush into that as it doesn't sound like I would get one. I've asked for them to write to me with the reasons for my refusal (as they say they can't do this over the phone or e-mail), but am still awaiting acknowledgement/response.

I feel like I'm being punished for something, but no-one will tell me what!

Can anyone give advice? Is it worth phoning the helpline, or re-applying?
Dreameline is offline  
Old Nov 7th 2011, 4:39 pm
  #2  
Forum Regular
 
Joined: Jul 2010
Location: WA
Posts: 53
Hovik is just really niceHovik is just really niceHovik is just really niceHovik is just really niceHovik is just really niceHovik is just really niceHovik is just really niceHovik is just really niceHovik is just really nice
Default Re: ESTA "Travel not Authorized" no idea why!

First step should be to call the Esta hot line, to get an idea why Esta was refused, 001-202-344-3710 available from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm EST, SA: http://www.usembassy.org.uk/visaservices/?p=503
Hovik is offline  
Old Nov 7th 2011, 6:15 pm
  #3  
Just Joined
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 6
Dreameline is an unknown quantity at this point
Question Re: ESTA "Travel not Authorized" no idea why!

Thanks Hovik. I phoned the help line & they re-iterated that they can't give me a reason but could only say that I will have to apply for a visa & that, when I do apply, the Embassy should be able to give me an indication as to why I am no longer eligable to travel under VWP. I asked if there is any other way to find out & the answer was an emphatic "No".

I was reticent to apply for a visa, without knowing the cause for the ESTA rejection, in case the same cause would make me ineligable for a visa, thus jeopordising future ESTA applications, but that seems to be the only remaining option.

The plans for my trip involve a trip to a music convention as well as for a holiday, so should I apply for a B-1 or B-2? Any other advice, such as what documents I should take, would be greatly appreciated!
Dreameline is offline  
Old Nov 7th 2011, 6:18 pm
  #4  
BE Commentator
 
S Folinsky's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Los Angeles, California
Posts: 7,111
S Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: ESTA "Travel not Authorized" no idea why!

Weird things can happen. For example, a person may have a name identical to yours and the same birthdate.

A friend of yours may be the subject of a drug smuggling investigation and your mobile phone number appears on her call history.

There is no way to know until you apply for a visa.
S Folinsky is offline  
Old Nov 7th 2011, 9:42 pm
  #5  
crg
American Expat
 
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 7,591
crg has a reputation beyond reputecrg has a reputation beyond reputecrg has a reputation beyond reputecrg has a reputation beyond reputecrg has a reputation beyond reputecrg has a reputation beyond reputecrg has a reputation beyond reputecrg has a reputation beyond reputecrg has a reputation beyond reputecrg has a reputation beyond reputecrg has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: ESTA "Travel not Authorized" no idea why!

Have you previously done any business activities in the US, and if so, what kind?

Any contact with the police anywhere in the world? Anyone out to get you in trouble?
crg is offline  
Old Nov 7th 2011, 10:02 pm
  #6  
Lost in BE Cyberspace
 
sir_eccles's Avatar
 
Joined: Mar 2010
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 8,106
sir_eccles has a reputation beyond reputesir_eccles has a reputation beyond reputesir_eccles has a reputation beyond reputesir_eccles has a reputation beyond reputesir_eccles has a reputation beyond reputesir_eccles has a reputation beyond reputesir_eccles has a reputation beyond reputesir_eccles has a reputation beyond reputesir_eccles has a reputation beyond reputesir_eccles has a reputation beyond reputesir_eccles has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: ESTA "Travel not Authorized" no idea why!

If truly nothing in your circumstances has changed and you can't think of any outstanding parking tickets or anything that might be considered an overlooked negative then I would consider DHS TRIP.
sir_eccles is offline  
Old Nov 7th 2011, 10:19 pm
  #7  
 
Joined: Feb 2002
Posts: 6,798
Englishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond reputeEnglishmum has a reputation beyond repute
Post Re: ESTA "Travel not Authorized" no idea why!

Originally Posted by S Folinsky View Post
Weird things can happen. For example, a person may have a name identical to yours and the same birthdate.
One Australian expat friend of mine had a horrible experience with the US Immigration and was questioned for hours when he checked in to fly to Sydney; he actually has a Green Card as he is married to an American woman.

He has a very common Christian name and surname (well, common in the UK and Down Under) but his name had come up on the 'terrorist watch list!' He was allowed to fly but each time he checked in for flights he was terrified he would be prevented from boarding - and still is. Ironically he's flying to Sydney this week and has to fly from the East Coast and change flights at LAX.

He eventually discovered that his name is identical to an American man who was wanted for a gun crime (even though the nationality and birthdates are different).
Englishmum is offline  
Old Nov 8th 2011, 11:52 am
  #8  
Just Joined
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 6
Dreameline is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: ESTA "Travel not Authorized" no idea why!

I had a parking ticket about 5 years ago but paid that; it was a hire car, so the rental company would have been contacted if there were any discrepancies. I've not had any contact with the police over there & the only contact I've had here was to get my shotgun certificate.

Business wise, I go to a music convention each year, but I tell them that each time I arrive & have been going for about 7 years. Other than that, I don't operate any business interests outside of the UK.

My surname is pretty rare, but I suppose there could be a chance of mistaken identity. I've also had a couple of credit cards replaced due to them showing up on a fraud list (the bank contacted me each time).

The person I spoke to, on the ESTA help line, said he could see why the application was declined, but said there was no way to communicate that to me (not even by snail mail) & stressed that I need to apply for a visa & that he expects the embassy will give me the reason.

This is all rather Kafka-esque, as I feel I am being punished for something, but no-one will tell me what I am accused of!

I had already submitted a DHS TRIP but, based on the ESTA help line response, I have no faith in that succeeding, so have booked myself a visa appointment for next Monday. As I'm going for a convention & a holiday I'm applying for a combined B-1/B-2 visa. I'm trying to compile a list of suitable documentation to take to prove that I don't want to stay there, so far I'm considering:
Passport
E-ticket (shows arrival & departure flights already booked & paid for)
Convention pass
Hotel booking
Mortgage statement (to show I have a house)
Bank statements (business & personal)
Vet bills (to show I have a cat)
Company registration certificate
Copies of current & previous work contracts
Evidence of my Security Clearance (shows my "good standing")
Shotgun certificate (also shows my "good standing")
Various invoices for expensive stuff that I've recently purchased
Booking receipts for various gigs & festivals occuring after my planned trip
Boarding pass from last flight home (in case they have no record of me leaving)

Any other suggestions? My plan is to pull out relevant pieces of evidence as required, rather than dump it all on them. It's hard to know what I will need as I don't know what I've been accused of.
Dreameline is offline  
Old Nov 8th 2011, 12:21 pm
  #9  
BE Commentator
 
S Folinsky's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Los Angeles, California
Posts: 7,111
S Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: ESTA "Travel not Authorized" no idea why!

<sigh>

Franz Kafka was a lawyer -- albeit in workers' compensation. As an exercise I just ran the term "Kafka*" through my WestLaw immigration law account -- 21 hits. In only three of them, an attorney or party was named Kafka.

That said, you are not being "punished." The requirement for a visa is the default position of the law. Note that "VW" stands for "visa waiver." And the waiver is a limited one. In this post "9-11" age, I believe that the VW would have been administratively abolished but for the institution of ESTA. [An analogous category is the "TWOV" for Transit Without Visa. Subsequent to "9-11," the Government exercised its authority to expand the list of countries not allowed to use TWOV to everyone].

You have ascertained that there does exist some reason why the ESTA was denied. You have also been informed of the method of ascertaining why -- a visa application.

The problem may evaporate in the course of the visa application. Even if there is a denial, you might be given the opportunity and requirements for overcoming the denial.

However, until you make the visa application, there is no way for anyone on this forum to figure out anything for you.

Good luck.

[As my signature notes, no advice given. However, attitude counts for a lot in dealing with the minions of the Dark Forces.]
S Folinsky is offline  
Old Nov 8th 2011, 2:04 pm
  #10  
Just Joined
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 6
Dreameline is an unknown quantity at this point
Default Re: ESTA "Travel not Authorized" no idea why!

I'm planning on trying to provide documentation to cover as many possible eventualities that I can think of! Should I take copies of documents, copies & originals or just originals?

Generally, I'm finding it all rather stressful, especially as I've already bought my tickets, as has my friend &, as I don't know what the issue is, I don't know what to prepare.

By the way, I was referring to Franz Kafka's "The Trial", in case anyone missed the reference
Dreameline is offline  
Old Nov 8th 2011, 2:16 pm
  #11  
crg
American Expat
 
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 7,591
crg has a reputation beyond reputecrg has a reputation beyond reputecrg has a reputation beyond reputecrg has a reputation beyond reputecrg has a reputation beyond reputecrg has a reputation beyond reputecrg has a reputation beyond reputecrg has a reputation beyond reputecrg has a reputation beyond reputecrg has a reputation beyond reputecrg has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: ESTA "Travel not Authorized" no idea why!

Do you ever perform at the music conventions?

It's possible it could be something as simple as one of the old green paper stubs not being turned in on departure and them now being able to confirm that you departed the US on time from a prior trip.

Be sure to let us know what you find out.
crg is offline  
Old Nov 8th 2011, 2:34 pm
  #12  
BE Enthusiast
 
Joined: Apr 2010
Posts: 869
retzie has a reputation beyond reputeretzie has a reputation beyond reputeretzie has a reputation beyond reputeretzie has a reputation beyond reputeretzie has a reputation beyond reputeretzie has a reputation beyond reputeretzie has a reputation beyond reputeretzie has a reputation beyond reputeretzie has a reputation beyond reputeretzie has a reputation beyond reputeretzie has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: ESTA "Travel not Authorized" no idea why!

Originally Posted by Dreameline View Post
Boarding pass from last flight home (in case they have no record of me leaving)
If you're fortifying against a past departure not having been logged, you may want to arm yourself with other documents that are acceptable to the Kentucky centre (listed here). I had sent in bank statements showing debit card use in my home country.

Good luck!
retzie is offline  
Old Nov 8th 2011, 3:47 pm
  #13  
BE Commentator
 
S Folinsky's Avatar
 
Joined: Feb 2010
Location: Los Angeles, California
Posts: 7,111
S Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond reputeS Folinsky has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: ESTA "Travel not Authorized" no idea why!

Originally Posted by Dreameline View Post
By the way, I was referring to Franz Kafka's "The Trial", in case anyone missed the reference
I was previously in practice for several decades and I know how truly "Kafkaesque" immigration law and procedure can be. What I am trying to say is that your situation has not even started into the realm of Franz Kafka.

FWIW, sometimes Victor Hugo's character of Javert gets invoked when the minions of the Dark Forces become truly Kafkaesque.
S Folinsky is offline  
Old Nov 14th 2011, 8:19 pm
  #14  
Just Joined
Thread Starter
 
Joined: Nov 2011
Posts: 6
Dreameline is an unknown quantity at this point
Unhappy Re: ESTA "Travel not Authorized" no idea why!

So, my visa application has been denied, pending further investigation. I'm still not sure what I'm being accused of, but I now know it's something to do with my "association" with a well known motor cycle club. I DJ'd for them at their annual festival last year & the year before (but not this year). I also sent a text message to one a couple of weeks ago, to see if he could get me passes for a gig. Unless they're monitoring his phone, I don't know how else they would know that.

Either way, I have no criminal record, am not a member of a biker gang, don't have a motorbike & don't have a license for a motorbike. I'm also smart enough to realise that these can be dangerous people & not to get caught up in their "business", but it's also better to be on good terms with them.

I was a bit flustered, when I was given the 221(g) letter (with "Additional information is required to process your application" checked), so didn't find out what I'm supposed to do now. He said that it's not an outright denial, but they need to do some further investigations: At the time, I took that to mean that they will do the investigation & I have to wait, but reading the letter it seems that they want me to come up with more "evidence".

I'm a trustee for a charity, so they're going to get me CRB checked to prove my lack of criminal record (spent or unspent) & will get a bunch of character references. He didn't seem impressed that I have SC clearance & a shot gun certificate: both require a squeeky clean record.

Is there anything else you would recommend? Is it worth getting legal advice?
Dreameline is offline  
Old Nov 14th 2011, 9:25 pm
  #15  
crg
American Expat
 
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 7,591
crg has a reputation beyond reputecrg has a reputation beyond reputecrg has a reputation beyond reputecrg has a reputation beyond reputecrg has a reputation beyond reputecrg has a reputation beyond reputecrg has a reputation beyond reputecrg has a reputation beyond reputecrg has a reputation beyond reputecrg has a reputation beyond reputecrg has a reputation beyond repute
Default Re: ESTA "Travel not Authorized" no idea why!

Originally Posted by Dreameline View Post
So, my visa application has been denied, pending further investigation. I'm still not sure what I'm being accused of, but I now know it's something to do with my "association" with a well known motor cycle club. I DJ'd for them at their annual festival last year & the year before (but not this year). I also sent a text message to one a couple of weeks ago, to see if he could get me passes for a gig. Unless they're monitoring his phone, I don't know how else they would know that.

Either way, I have no criminal record, am not a member of a biker gang, don't have a motorbike & don't have a license for a motorbike. I'm also smart enough to realise that these can be dangerous people & not to get caught up in their "business", but it's also better to be on good terms with them.

I was a bit flustered, when I was given the 221(g) letter (with "Additional information is required to process your application" checked), so didn't find out what I'm supposed to do now. He said that it's not an outright denial, but they need to do some further investigations: At the time, I took that to mean that they will do the investigation & I have to wait, but reading the letter it seems that they want me to come up with more "evidence".

I'm a trustee for a charity, so they're going to get me CRB checked to prove my lack of criminal record (spent or unspent) & will get a bunch of character references. He didn't seem impressed that I have SC clearance & a shot gun certificate: both require a squeeky clean record.

Is there anything else you would recommend? Is it worth getting legal advice?
That's interesting. It probably doesn't matter if he seemed impressed or not as he probably won't be the one who makes the ultimate decision. They may be concerned that you're inadmissible/ineligible because there is reason to believe that you are a controlled substance trafficker, likely to engage in criminal activities if admitted to the US or a few other things related to living off the proceeds of trafficking, money laundering etc. They don't make such decisions lightly. They aren't *supposed* to just take someone's word for it. The process will take its course and if they don't think it's true/can't support it, they will issue the visa. On the bright side, they didn't deny the visa 214(b) so if you can overcome the concerns, then the visa will be approved.
crg is offline  

Contact Us Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement