Does my travel history influence my chances of obtaining an ESTA? A question that we hear more often than not. A very justified question it is too as the US has tightened its entry conditions in recent years.
Can I go to the US if I have been in Iran or Iraq?
If you want to travel to the United States, you must be in possession of an ESTA. Have you traveled to Iran or Iraq in the past or do you have an Iraqi or Iranian passport? Have you had this in the past? It is not always possible to apply for an ESTA. The same applies even if you have had a passport from one of the following countries: Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya. For passport holders of these countries an ESTA application is always impossible. If you are not a passport holder of one of the stated countries but you have visited them after 1st March 2011, you are no longer eligible for an ESTA.
Travel to Iran and Iraq after 1st March 2011
If you do not have an Iranian or Iraqi passport, but you were in one of these countries before 2011, then there is no problem and you can simply apply for an ESTA. Requesting an ESTA if you have visited these countries after 1st March 2011 is no longer possible. This also applies to the countries of Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and Libya.
Passports from Iran and Iraq
If you have, or have had, a passport from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia or Libya, it is impossible to apply for an ESTA and to travel to the United States. If you are in possession of a passport from the countries of the Visa Waiver Program, which includes the United Kingdom and are also in possession of a passport from one of the previous countries, you will not be able to apply for an ESTA.
Still traveling to the United States?
Don’t despair it can still be possible to travel to the United States even if you have traveled to Iran, Iraq or the other countries in the past or have a passport from these countries. It only mean you are unable to travel with an ESTA or apply for an ESTA. For this other route you must report to a consulate of the United States. You can apply for a non-immigrant visa. However, you must take into account that you must explain your travel history to relevant countries in detail.