Why has my ESTA not been delivered?

Published: Sep 09, 2019, Updated: Nov 01, 2022 | Tags: ESTA Delivery, ESTA Status, ESTA Processing


Recent changes to the processing of ESTA applications have resulted in increased processing timelines at Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Virtually, all ESTA applications are decided upon within 72 hours. Although instant decisions are still common, many decisions now are delivered via email, sometime in between a few hours or a few days after an application has been submitted. Applicants will be notified via email on the current status of their applications. Travelers who find themselves awaiting a decision on their ESTA applications, should familiarize themselves with the different ESTA application status’. In addition to receiving updates via email, applicants can also check the status of their ESTA applications online if you have not yet received delivery of your ESTA or it has been a few days since receiving an update on your ESTA application.

Why has my ESTA not been delivered?
Why has my ESTA not been delivered?

What are the reasons why my ESTA has not been delivered?

  • You application is still pending and is processing under normal circumstances
  • You entered incorrect information on your application and it is under "Pending" status – In this situation, you will need to wait for a decision on your application. An application goes under "Pending" status for a variety of reasons. After receiving a decision on your ESTA, review the previous answers you submitted on your application and ensure there are no mistakes. If so, you can learn about how to fix mistakes on your ESTA application.
  • Your email provider has blocked applications from CBP – In this situation, check your spam folder first and contact your email provider if you have not received an email from CBP in over 72 hours.

Can I still travel to the United States if my ESTA is pending or was denied?

No, visa-waver eligible passengers cannot board aircraft or sea vessel bound for the United States, nor drive through the U.S. border without an approved ESTA and the associated passport used to make the application.

Can I still travel to the United States if my ESTA was first approved and then it was denied?

If your ESTA was initially approved, and then at any point before your departure date to the United States, you were notified your ESTA was denied, then you will not be able to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.


ESTA eligible travelers will need confirmation of approval before being able to travel to the United States. DHS and CBP are taking longer to process ESTA applications, thus travelers will need to be diligent in checking the status of their ESTA applications if they have not received confirmation via email within 72 hours of submitting an application form.

If you hold a passport from a visa waiver eligible country and wish to obtain an ESTA for tourist, business, medical or transit purposes, get started on your application, otherwise, visit the FAQ to learn more about the ESTA.

Apply for ESTA



Apply for ESTA

ESTA is a mandatory travel authorization for eligible travelers entering the United States by land, air, or sea for visits less than 90 days.

Apply for ESTA