Having your ESTA application denied is a very disappointing experience and could be a major inconvenience to individuals who want to travel to the United States. Fortunately, if this happens applicants who are from a country that is a member of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) still have an alternative: to apply for a B2 Tourist Visa, a B1 Business Visa, or a B1/B2 Visitor Visa, which is a mix of the two. If you made a minor error on your ESTA application, you might be able to change the information you provided. Major mistakes, such as entering the wrong passport number, can not be corrected later. You will have to submit a new ESTA application.
So what are the possible reasons that can cause your application to be rejected? There are many reasons why the CBP (Customs and Border Protection) might reject an ESTA application. Below we explain a couple of the most common reasons:
 You previously overstayed in the U.S.
On a previous journey to the U.S. you overstayed the maximum amount of time allowed by the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Alternatively, you overstayed the maximum period allowed by a previous U.S. visa.
 You have applied for the wrong type of visa
When you previously visited the U.S. you were not in possession of the right type of visa for your visit. You could, for example, have worked while you were on a tourist visa. This would likely result in a denial of subsequent U.S. visa applications.
 Your previous ESTA or visa application was also denied
On a previous occasion you applied for an ESTA visa waiver or a visa, and that application was denied so you could not enter the United States. The circumstances around your previous denial have not changed and thus your recent ESTA application has also been denied.
 You supplied incorrect information on the ESTA application
One or more of the answers you entered on your ESTA application form was wrong, and the US government identified this when they cross-checked your application information with other databases.
 Wrong passport details were provided on the form
On the ESTA application form, you entered details of a passport that you earlier claimed to be stolen or lost but that you actually still had in your possession. Or, you entered incorrect passport information that matched the passport details and identity of another traveler who was also denied an ESTA.
 You have a criminal history
Regardless of what you answered to eligibility question 2 on the application form, if you have a criminal record, then CBP will most likely find out about this and your ESTA application will be rejected.
 Identity theft
Someone might have illegally used your name to commit a crime, or your name might have the same name as somebody else who committed a crime. Your name is thus flagged by CBP as a security risk when they perform their data checks on ESTA applicants.
 You visited a blacklisted country
If you traveled to any of the following countries on or after March 1, 2011, you will likely not qualify for an ESTA: Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen.
 You are a national or dual citizenship of a blacklisted country
If you have dual citizenship Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen, you will not be granted an ESTA unless the nature of your visit would not be deemed as suspicious or threatening to U.S. security.
Being eligible for an ESTA alone does not give you permission to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. It also does not automatically give you the right to enter the U.S.
You might not be allowed to travel to the U.S. under the VWP because of your past immigration or criminal history. If your ESTA application is rejected for one of these reasons, it will not be possible to get approval no matter how many times you apply. CBP carries out various cross-checks, comparing the answers you supply on your ESTA application form with other databases to make sure the wrong applicant is not granted entry into the U.S.
You should also be aware that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security does not give reasons why an ESTA application is rejected, and neither does it have to.