Communicable disease status and ESTA: What’s the correlation?

Can we all remember the global pandemic that happened in 2020? Can we remember how the virus affected our lives? How it caused a change in the lifestyle of people. We were all forced to wear nose masks that made us look like ninjas. Just one virus shut the whole world down. It also caused millions of deaths of people.

Can you remember the nature of the virus? Yes, it was a communicable viral disease. Just one sneeze and COVID was already jumping from one carrier to another. That’s how quickly communicable diseases spread.

Nobody likes to have them around. And that’s why most countries’ borders try to prevent carriers of such diseases from entering their countries in the first place.

America asks you during your ESTA application if you have any form of communicable disease before granting you a visa. If you have a communicable disease, it is going to affect your ESTA application. You may even have your application rejected.

The reason for asking this question is to ensure the safety of Americans and other visitors and to avoid an outbreak in the country.

The first question is whether you have a physical or mental health disorder. This includes stating whether you are a drug addict or abuser or whether you have a communicable disease. While the flu or a common cold will not disqualify you from receiving an ESTA, more serious communicable diseases may prevent you from entering the U.S.

So, what is a communicable disease?

Communicable diseases and ESTA: What is it?

A communicable disease is that which spreads from person to person through a variety of means. Common means of spread include:

Blood and bodily fluid contact


Carrier insect bite

How do these contagious diseases spread?

The following are ways by which one can get a communicable disease;

  • Touching an infected person (staphylococcus), sexual contact (gonorrhea, HIV), fecal/oral transmission (hepatitis A), or droplets (influenza, T.B.)
  • contact with an infected surface or object (Norwalk virus), food (salmonella, E. coli), blood (HIV/hepatitis B), or water (cholera);
  • Bites from disease-carrying insects or animals (mosquito: malaria and yellow fever; flea: plague; bats: Ebola)
  • Airborne diseases like Tuberculosis and measles are examples of diseases that spread through the air.

Most countries like America take communicable diseases seriously. As such, they try so hard to prevent outbreaks.

Some diseases that can easily be transmitted but which are not considered too serious may not affect your ESTA application.

For example, a common cold can be transmitted from person to person. It doesn’t carry many risks to the general population. This means that it is not considered a serious communicable disease when applying for an ESTA USA.

So, if you are down with a common cold when you are applying for your ESTA and get to this question, do well to click “NO.”

Many communicable diseases are considered a barrier to entry into the United States under the Visa Waiver Program.

When you have a disease of this sort, it’s certain you won’t be allowed into the U.S.

The following are the types of communicable diseases that you pick “YES” when applying for ESTA.

  • Tuberculosis (active)
  • Syphilis (infectious stage)
  • Lymphogranuloma venereum
  • Granuloma inguinale
  • Leprosy, infectious
  • Chancroid
  • Gonorrhea


Tuberculosis (T.B.) is a contagious infection that affects the lungs, although we’ve seen it spread to other parts of the body, such as the brain and spine. It is caused by a bacterium known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It can be cured, but you have to be on medication for at least 6-9 months. It comes in two types latent T.B. and active T.B.

If you have this disease, you might want to wait till it has been properly treated before you apply for ESTA.

Lymphogranuloma venereum:

LGV is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis serotypes L1, L2, and L3. Because they can invade and reproduce in regional lymph nodes, these serotypes differ from the chlamydial serotypes that cause trachoma, conjunctivitis, chlamydial urethritis, and cervicitis.

It is also believed to have increased in North America, and Europe, among men who have sex with other men.


Leprosy is another communicable disease caused by mycobacterium leprae, a bacillus. It is a chronic infectious disease.

It affects the skin, peripheral nerves, upper respiratory tract mucosa, and the eyes. In most cases, physicians combat this disease with a combination of drugs.


Caused by a bacterium called Neisseria Gonorrhoeae, Gonorrhea is usually transmitted via sexual intercourse.

If not properly treated, this infection can lead to infertility in both genders. Although there’s really no age limitation with gonorrhea, it is common amongst people aged 15-24. The common treatment for gonorrhea is the use of antibiotics.

Suppose you’ve had this disease before and treated it. Then you can pick “NO” during your ESTA application process. But you will have to produce a medical report to show that you have been cured of the said illness.

Note that HIV is no longer regarded as a communicable disease. So, if you are positive, you can still apply for the ESTA,

However, suppose you are planning on applying for an American green card. In that case, your HIV status may be considered. Because, then, your status will impact whether or not you require government assistance. And this can be grounds for refusal of a green card application.

Also, your HIV status can still be considered if you are seeking asylum on the grounds that you are at risk in your country.

Other ways by which you might not be eligible during your ESTA may include the following

  • If you have been charged for drinking and traveling in your country
  • If you have any affiliation with any terrorist group, like al Qaeda, ISIS, etc.
  • If you have been convicted of committing murder and served a jail term.
  • If you have been deported from America before, you will be detained
  • If you have breached the terms of the ESTA requirement. Like overstaying in the U.S.
  • If you have been or lived in the following countries like Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, etc., you may not be granted the ESTA.
  • If you also have dual citizenship with countries like Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Sudan, or Syria. Your application will not be accepted.

I’m sure you must be wondering what the ESTA is all about. Yes, I know this is not what the topic is about. I just feel I should shed more light on it.

Well, the ESTA is part of the U.S. visa waiver program created to make entry easier and hassle-free for citizens of certain countries.

What does the ESTA USA mean?

Well, the ESTA online visa stands for “Electronic System for Travel Authorization.” It is a digital authorization given by the U.S. government to businessmen and tourists coming into the U.S. The visa allows tourists to come into America and stay for 90 days in the country. In a way, the ESTA is similar to the eTa in Canada and the eVisitor in Australia, which are electronic travel authorization programs used to control movement within their country.

The ESTA also aids in-transit stops through the U.S. In-transit stop is when you pass through the U.S. en route to another country. During your in-transit stops, you can use the ESTA to stay briefly in the U.S. Some people use the opportunity to rest a bit in a hotel before continuing their journey. Others use it for sightseeing and other tourism purposes before continuing their journey.

The ESTA application is made online, and you can get it 72 hours after applying for it. It is different from other visas issued by the U.S. If you have other purposes for coming to the U.S. like you want to study for college, work as a journalist, or want to become a permanent U.S. resident, you must apply for the appropriate visa.

There are about 40 countries where its nationals can apply for the ESTA. Ensure that you check fall under the listed country before applying.

The ESTA cost just $14. This is relatively cheap, especially when you consider other visa types that can cost as much as $160.

Let me let you in on another top secret. The ESTA has a two-year authorization validity before renewal. This means you can apply for your 90-stay anytime you want within a two-year timeframe.

Additionally, you don’t have to go for an interview with the U.S. consular, as you would have been asked all necessary questions while filling out your ESTA online form.

The requirement that you need before you can apply for the ESTA:

  • You must be a passport holder of the 40 countries under the visa waiver program.
  • Your passport must have a machine-readable section.
  • You must have a valid passport before you can apply for the ESTA. If your passport is about to expire or you don’t have one, do well to visit your country’s passport issuing department.
  • You must have an electronic passport that has a chip. This chip carries your biodata and other necessary details.

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