Declaring Coeliac Disease as a 'Disorder' on USA Visa Waiver Application

There is a question about physical and mental health on the ESTA form for visitors to the USA. Its about having a 'disorder' with associated 'behaviour' that could pose a threat to your 'safety or welfare'. I guess coeliac disease could change your 'behaviour' if you accidentally ate gluten, but I think it is okay to answer 'No' to the question on the grounds that 'behaviour is unlikely to occur'

(d) You had a physical or mental disorder with associated behavior that posed a threat to your property, safety or welfare or that of others, but that behavior is unlikely to recur.

Am I right?

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14 Replies

  • Hi Phil, I would agree with you because we as coeliac have choices in what we eat, so I do not believe that this question is aimed at coeliac.

    That's my 2p's worth,


  • Hi Jerry, and thanks. I don't really understand what kind of people the Americans are trying to prevent from entering their country when it comes to having some sort of 'condition'. If a person has a disease, and has medical insurance with that pre-existing medical condition declared, what difference does it make. I can understand the interest in other diseases that could easily be spread. Like most forms, this one doesn't explain the reasoning behind the questions it asks.

  • I would put yes to this question because a lot of Gluten Free foods now contain hydroxypropylethylcellulose instead of derivatives and this produces formaldehyde. I have an acquired formaldehyde allergy so this ingredient ay produce an allergic reaction resulting in anaphylaxis with breathing difficulties, BP of 212/110 hot & cold flushes and the need to sleep, with five hours to recover. Also causing behavioural issues

  • That is not sensible advice.

  • Don't declare it. They want to know about things like bipolar, not coeliac disease. If you tick yes you're going to end up with serious hassle and may not ever be allowed in the USA.

  • Put no, I think they are looking at mental illness. I agree with Dartmoor Gorilla, you are looking at causing yourself serious hassle and delay if you say yes... It's already so strict and you may risk getting in at all..

  • Wow! This seems like an invasion of privacy to me! I would not answer that question for that reason alone. Personally I unfortunately know a lot of alcoholics who *should* answer 'yes' to that question but never will and would be affronted beyond belief if they were expected to, so I don't know why anyone diagnosed as coeliac thinks they should have to answer 'yes'?? Perhaps I'm missing something obvious, but I simply cannot see how it relates to gaining an visitor's visa as the question only regards something you had in the past: the question asks "had a disorder" so it is implying that you no longer have it. Very weird. Again, I think anyone who answered 'yes' to that question would have to be aware that they are creating a lot of beaurocratic hassle for themselves. It reminds me of the entry visa questions which ask "Are you/have you been convicted of being a terrorist" or similar such questions... who in their right mind would answer 'yes' to that, even if it were true?

  • Mainly good advice already been given. My view is to look at the consequences of not declaring you're a coeliac.

    Say you get glutened whilst there and have your usual reaction. Assuming you don't need to alert the authorities then no one will know. You recover and all is well.

    If you do declare then you've got all the hassle and maybe delays and/or restrictions imposed on you.

    If I was planning on visiting the US this year I wouldn't declare.

  • This link may help

    It's seems to be they have always made ESTA questions vague, with little guidance, probably so they can refuse you on a minor point if they want to. Not sure if it's still true but they used to ask if you were a terrorist (or something like that) and if you had ever been a member of a left-wing organisation - often wondered if the Labour Party counted.

    If you put 'yes' on any of the questions, you're inviting a whole load of unnecessary hassle and possible refusal. Let's be honest, they have their blacklists already, and if you're on them, you aren't getting in, whatever you answer.

  • I contacted the Foreign Office, who advised me to ask my GP if being in the USA posed a greater threat to my health than being here in the UK. If it didn't, I should answer 'no'.

    Since I understand the problems of avoiding gluten far better than my non-coeliac GP I hardly think this would be worthwhile. Most GPs would probably recommend that all their patients avoid everything just to err on the cautious side and cover themselves, anyway.

    Strangely, the reason for travelling abroad to board a cruise is that cruise ships claim to be able cater for all diets better than any other type of holiday. So the threat to health is fairly low before leaving home, uncertain for a few hours whilst passing through the USA, and fairly low whilst on the cruise.

    Whilst passing through our own airports the threat is non existent as none of them can produce anything gluten free and I only eat my home prepared food.

  • Hi Phil, this sounds good to me, now I think that you have asked about phone app's before? so if you haven't come across the gf registry it may be of interest to you:

    It will be interesting to know how the cruise goes as it could be a good holiday choice for others, so have a good holiday and let us know how well they cater for coeliac.

  • Hi Jerry. Thanks for the link. I tried it on my PC. All it could display was two Starbucks and a Pizza Hut, all three being miles away. It needs more GF establishments to register on it to make it useful. It could happen.

  • I visit the US regularly and I don't declare coeliac or diabetes and I think the latter impacts behaviour more than the former

  • I travel to the USA on a quarterly and sometimes monthly basis. I would never put YES to this question. At worst they wouldn't allow you in, at best you would get serious delays at immigration. Whats the chances you get to speak to someone who even knows what Ceoliacs disease is let alone what gluten is. They can refuse you entry on a lot more minor issues than being a Ceoliac!

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