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I live in Canada with a German passport and a student visa. From a recent climbing trip to the US I still have this green I94-W form in my passport. I didn't surrender it on leaving the US back to Canada, because I expected to come back for another climbing trip relatively soon.

That trip got postponed a few times, and now the situation is that the I94-W would expire while I'm on the trip. That is, it would still be valid on entry, but not on exit.

Can I apply for a new I94-W at the border crossing, or can these Visa waivers not be extended back-to-back?

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marked as duplicate by Michael Hampton, CGCampbell, JoErNanO, Karlson, Gayot Fow Jun 15 at 14:52

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2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I've never been in the exact situation you describe, but Visa Waivers are a very low-maintenence way to get in. My advice would be to explain to the immigration officer when you go into the US. I'm pretty sure the answer will be that they will give you a new I94W on the spot (with of course a new fee, if they still do that).

You backup plan would be that if they so "no you can't do that", enter the US on your current I94, then exit at a convenient place before it expires, hand over your I94 to confirm that you have exited the country, and then re-enter it immediately (maybe a day later to allow for it to process through the system) and apply for a new I94.

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+1 I would recommend the same. There is an official document stating you are not allowed to extend your I94 anyway: www.uscis.gov/USCIS/Resources/C1en.pdf –  Vince Nov 2 '12 at 21:41
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I forgot to add, you can also send your form by mail to the customs authority and would get a new one next time you enter the US: help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/752/~/i-still-have-my-i-94 –  Vince Nov 2 '12 at 21:49
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I was not in the US so "exit the US at a convenient place before it expires" was not an option. However, as it turns out, the situation was a non-issue. It was clear to the CBP officer that I wasn't trying to "game the system". I just got a new I94W. –  Lagerbaer Nov 5 '12 at 21:00

You may well have a problem at the border, but should be able to resolve that with an explanation of what happened. Do be sure to bring proof of your residence in Canada, studying etc. Also bring evidence that you really spent the last couple of weeks or months in Canada.

The big concern here is that at first glance it looks as if you were trying to game the system and stay more than the three months. You studying in Canada addresses that concern.

Generally, the rule of thumb is that you are only supposed to use the visa waiver once per year, but this is not written in stone.

You are probably better off waiting with your return to the USA until after the old I-94W has expired.

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Where do you get the "use the visa waiver once per year" from? There is no such rule of thumb, as far as I am aware. –  Michael Hampton Jun 15 at 13:21
    
The nature of rules of thumb is that they aren't cast in stone. Ultimately, it comes down to, what makes you look suspicious in the eyes of the admitting officer. Suspicious here means "(s)he may not look like a bona fide tourist". Most people only get a few weeks of vacation per year, so somebody who uses the visa waiver frequently will automatically stand out. The once-per-year "rule" really is a recommendation to avoid standing out. That said, I do know many people who have used it more than once without a problem. –  Kevin Keane Jun 15 at 15:25

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