Does the ESTA make sure you can enter the US?

No. The ESTA or a valid visa give the possibility to travel to the United States. Once you arrive at the airport and or at the port indicated, all travelers will have to get their documents checked by the Customs and Border Protection, the Bureau of American Customs and Border Protection. Only they will decide if you can enter the USA.

This also applies to those who are in a state of transit; those who pass on the American territory but their final destination is not the United States should be controlled by the authority responsible.

Therefore, the ESTA as whichever other valid visa doesn’t give any guarantee on the entry in the American territory.

male-headshotExample 1: Steven

Steven is an Irish citizen and a big America enthusiast. In fact, he visited the USA several times over the years, also trying to settle in Chicago in 2009.

Last month he went to Philadelphia with an Esta for a leisure trip with friends. On his arrival at the airport after landing, he headed to the immigration controls with his passport and his travel authorization.

Steven there had a nasty surprise. Because in 2007 he entered the United States with a travel authorization, at that time he stayed for more than 3 months (90 days) allowed. The immigration agent stated this in the file that the USA Immigration authority has on each of the visitors which cross the frontier.

This is considered a serious breach of the American immigration rules and Steven was denied access into the country.

His Esta was revoked and Steven was sent back in his homeland with the next available flight for Dublin.

As you can see from this example, the United States are particularly strict in applying the immigration rules so we advise you to follow the rules and the travel and stay indications step by step concerning your travel.

female-headshotmale-headshotExample 2: The Rossi’s

Last week the Rossi Family traveled to Los Angeles to visit the daughter Laura, who is there for study reasons.

With the idea of making a pleasant surprise to Laura, our protagonists have brought with them some typical products of their region, including some salami and Parmesan.

Unaware of the prohibition to enter the USA such products upon arrival at the airport in Los Angeles and after having passed the immigration controls they are sent to the customs, where their luggage was chosen for a routine check.

You can imagine the Rossi’s surprise in seeing the reaction of the customs agent at the sight of those Italian products which were not reported in the customs declaration.

The Rossi’s were taken to a different room for further investigations and inquiries.
In these cases, it’s all up to the agent which had totally comprehended the good faith of the Rossi’s and after seizing the products he allowed entry into the country for the family.

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