Don’t make this travel mistake

A Scottish tourist was denied entry to the US and had to cancel her travel plans after she ticked the wrong box on her ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) online form.

And it was the last box any rational would-be traveller would tick: Are you involved in terrorist activities or genocide?

I mean, would a terrorist actually even tick that box? Only if they were shell shocked.

Still, 28-year-old Mandie Stevenson made the mistake and only realised she had done so when her application was rejected two days later after submission.

Once she was denied entry to the US, she had to convince the US embassy in London that she wasn’t an actual terrorist nor part of a conspiracy to commit genocide.

“I think when I’ve scrolled through the web page I had clicked yes by mistake – and on that question, which is the worst of all,” said Ms Stevenson.

“It’s been so stressful. I can laugh about it now but it’s a lesson to take more care.”

Ms Stevenson, who planned the trip after learning she had breast cancer two years prior, finally received her visa the day before she was supposed to leave.

“The annoying thing is we changed all our plans and re-booked for October because the Embassy assured me it wouldn’t be processed in time,” she said.

“Then my passport arrived with the visa last Friday – the day before we were meant to go.”

US authorities said Ms Stevenson had made an honest mistake, but the error cost her $1437 in rebooking fees and losses and her special travel insurance, purchased due to her illness, didn’t cover the costs.


Has anything like this ever happened to you? Have you had to cancel or postpone a trip due to visa or entry issues?

Related articles:
Beware of online visa scams
Mem Fox tells of visa error terror
Travelling without a visa

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Publisher of YourLifeChoices – Australia's most-trusted and longest-running retirement website. A trusted voice on Australia's retirement landscape, including retirement income and planning, government entitlements, lifestyle and news and information relevant to Australians over 50. Leon has worked in publishing for more than 25 years and is also a travel writer and editor, graphic designer and photographer.

Leave a Reply

Quickest-ever Dahl for under $5

Healthy Tuna and Corn Fritters