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We are UK citizens driving from Patagonia to Alaska, then shipping home from New York. We hope to be in the US for 3 months, a couple of months in Canada then into Alaska for a couple of months and then back into Canada and the US. But cannot find information about whether we can get a new visa waiver in Canada for driving to Alaska and then back into the US?

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Are you on the ESTA visa waiver program? –  Mark Mayo Dec 7 '12 at 3:28
    
how did you arrange vehicle insurance? (travel.stackexchange.com/q/11039/248) –  Jacco Dec 7 '12 at 12:10

1 Answer 1

This is how I understand this works:

After you arrived in the US, you have 90 days to stay before you have to leave. If within the 90 days you go into Mexico or Canada and want to come back to the US (which by going to Alaska is something you plan to do) you don't reset your 90 days. In other words you have to finish the whole trip from the Mexico border up to Alaska and over to New York in the first 90 days (which you don't want to do).

If you hand in your I94 when leaving the US for Canada, there is no guarantee that they'll give you a new one when you arrive in Alaska, because you just used up your 90 days a few weeks before.

This is basically to prevent 'visa-runs' into Mexico or Canada.

You need a third 'new entry' when coming back from Canada into the US.

While it is perfectly possible that the border officials issue a new I94 in both cases, this is by no means certain.

I would further investigate this and maybe just get a multiple-entry visa to be on the safe side.

Check out some official information about the visa waiver program.

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Good point indeed. Maybe showing the plane ticket to go back home and looking like tourists and explaining clearly the purpose of the trip (I'm not sure people get to Alaska with their own car if they want to bypass immigration laws, it sounds like much effort) would solve the problem. –  Vince Dec 7 '12 at 11:50
    
I agree, telling the story about driving from Argentina may help, but it's totally up to the border official. I would be to uncertain for me. –  Peter Hahndorf Dec 7 '12 at 11:58
    
I don't think it's a problem with exiting the US and acquiring another I94 when you re-enter, even if its only a few days later. Other questions on this site would seem to back this up. –  DJClayworth Dec 7 '12 at 15:02
    
@DJClayworth I think the difference we have with the question you link is that in this case the traveller does not live in Canada. That's why the customs agent may suspect the travellers are trying to bypass immigration laws. But I am also confident that there will not be any big issue if the travellers are patient and explain their case, and especially show they have a plane ticket to return home. –  Vince Dec 7 '12 at 15:33
    
+1 Peter, I just found a resource from US customs help, it backs up what you said. The Visa Waiver Program is intended for short stays and should not be used to actually stay several months so the best in this case would be to visit mainland and Alaska within 3 months and then possibly reentering the US on a new 90 days period. Peter, you can use this link to update your answer: help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/194/~/… –  Vince Dec 7 '12 at 23:16

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