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ESTA “Travel not authorized” after satisfactory departure granted - Chances of being eligible again or getting a B2 visa?

As a French citizen, I visited my American boyfriend in the US with a Valid ESTA this summer after quarantining in Croatia for 14 days (because of the travel ban) and I caught Covid while I was there traveling. It was near my departure date so I applied for the Satisfactory Departure through USCIS because the airlines stated that anyone with covid symptoms would be denied boarding. I was very sick with a high fever that lasted several weeks, and was told by a doctor I was a Covid long hauler. USCIS wasn’t very clear in their instructions (they submitted my request without asking me to provide a Covid test as proof) and due to miscommunication they first denied my request. But I contacted CBP ESTA because I was unable to leave, and once I provided a positive covid test (by their request) they did however grant my request for Satisfactory Departure. They stated I was to leave the country on or before 12/21/2021 and I left on 12/12/2021.

I tried to reapply for the ESTA after noticing it now said “Travel not authorized” and it was denied. I’m thinking this is some sort of error, as I was not granted Satisfactory Departure before my original 90 day departure date. It was granted after and by CBP ESTA (Not USCIS). I have proofs of all of this, such as correspondence with CBP ESTA, Covid tests, and the ticket showing when I departed the USA (within the timeframe I was allowed). I was told I needed to apply for a visa or file a complaint with DHS. I was granted several ESTAs in the past without any issue, and since I was granted the satisfactory departure until 12/21 and left on 12/12 I didn’t overstay on my ESTA, so I don’t understand why I’m not authorized to travel anymore. Has anyone been in this situation before? Is there any way that I can be authorized to travel again under the visa waiver program given the circumstances? Otherwise, how easy would it be for me to get the B2 visa? I know you’re supposed to have a steady job in your home country, owning a house helps, and proof that you can have around $260 per day once in the US. I’m not looking to travel more than 3 months at a time, definitely not looking for a job there either or to immigrate, just like I would on a regular ESTA. Is it easier to get the B2 visa if your plan is to use it like an ESTA after you ESTA is denied? My boyfriend and I are planning to apply for the K-1 Visa soon but I wanted to be able to visit him in the meantime because it can take 6-9 months and is pretty costly.

Any help or insight would be very appreciated! Thank you

submitted by /u/racoon1221
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