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My sister was recently denied a visa extension and taken off the Visa Waver Program, she was trying to get her visitor visa extended so that she could attend my graduation. She was denied and taken off the program - apparently because she didn't have enough ties to New Zealand - even though we as a family own land in New Zealand (it's part of a family trust fund)

We are dual nationality New Zealand-British, but have spent most of our lives in NZ and that's where our family Farm and Vineyard is.

She is 26 years old, she attended three years at the same college I am at here in the states and then went to live and work in London - she came back to visit me on an ESTA visa and for a short holiday whilst on her way back to NZ for a wedding and decided to try to get an extension while she was there - she was told they were removing her from the Visa Waver program and that she would no longer be able to apply for a ESTA visa. I'm not sure if she has an official letter but can ask.

Can she get back on the Visa Waver program? and if so how and how long does she have to wait before she can apply?

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@Karlson: I thought New Zealand was the country she wants to enter; now I see the tag, but these things should really be spelled out clearly to increase teh chance of getting an answer. –  Michael Borgwardt Apr 17 '13 at 13:24
    
@MichaelBorgwardt I thought it was fairly clear: they own land in New Zealand and want to use US VWP but it you may be right about clarification necessity and definitely about nationality. –  Karlson Apr 17 '13 at 13:31
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One more question: What do you mean by being removed from VWP? You have a letter from USCIS? –  Karlson Apr 17 '13 at 17:57
    
Sorry, we are dual nationality NZ-UK She is 26 years old, she attended three years at the same college I am at here in the states and then went to live and work in London - she came back to visit me on an ESTA visa and for a short holiday whilst on her way back to NZ for a wedding and decided to try to get an extension while she was there - she was told they were removing her from the Visa Waver program and that she would no longer be able to apply for a ESTA visa. I'm not sure if she has an official document but can ask. –  Florence Wilson Apr 18 '13 at 1:20
    
@FlorenceWilson Please ask and let us know. –  Karlson May 11 at 21:19

2 Answers 2

You can take a look at the Immigration Forum discussion on the same subject. Generally unless it's an emergency(medical, or similar) extension of VWP will not be granted.

You would need to contact the immigration lawyer to see if it is even possible and under what circumstances this could get removed. But my guess this ban is for life.

Now as far as general rules are concerned: USCIS considers anyone over the age of 18 but definitely over the age 21 to be legally an adult, and hence his/her own family. Because of this the fact that your family, meaning your parents or grandparents own something as part of the family trust means exactly nothing for her case. So if your sister was married, or had children, or had property (in her name), or had a steady employment, or was running a business day to day outside the country USCIS more then likely wouldn't raise a concern.

The whole point that USCIS and every other immigration authority is trying to determine is: the person granted a VISA(VWP or not) will leave the country. She couldn't prove that case to their satisfaction.

The simplest solution would have been to go to an island in the country like Costa Rica and reapply from there for another VWP.

P.S. Just one more discussion on the same subject

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Thank you so much, very helpful! –  Florence Wilson Apr 18 '13 at 1:27
    
This sounds odd. The OP specifically said she was removed from the VWP (which can happen if they think you are too high risk for it). So applying for a Visa Waiver would be pointless. (Besides, you don't apply for a Visa Waiver from abroad, you apply for it once you get to the US). Do you mean 'apply for a visa'? –  DJClayworth May 11 at 20:46
    
@Djclayworth No. Instead of asking for extension travel to Costa Rica and obtain another ESTA if necessary. –  Karlson May 11 at 21:22
    
Yes, that would have been a good idea, but i don't think it helps her now. –  DJClayworth May 11 at 21:27
    
@DJClayworth 2 years from the date I don't think anything would have helped. –  Karlson May 11 at 21:30

It's hardly necessary to go to Costa Rica (as Karlson suggested) to re-apply. This is not a visa. I think folks are getting the terms VWP and ESTA confused. I assume that the ESTA has been cancelled. One applies for an ESTA online.

Mine was cancelled a few months ago. I received an email from CBP:

There has been an update to your ESTA Travel Authorization Status submitted on May 6, 2014. Please visit https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta to check your application.

ESTA Program Office

The website said:

Application Status

Travel Not Authorized

You are not authorized to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. You may be able to obtain a visa from the Department of State for your travel. Please visit the United States Department of State website at www.travel.state.gov for additional information about applying for a visa.

I now have a visa - but in any case, the reason for the cancellation of the ESTA has changed, and I've re-applied successfully.

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This answer is confusing: the OP never said anything about Costa Rica. If you want to correct another answer, please leave a comment there. –  DCTLib May 8 at 14:40
    
Yeah, thanks. As is obvious, I don't have the reputation to leave a comment there. –  Craig Welch May 9 at 3:44
    
Ok, in that case it makes sense to edit your answer to state that you are referring to Karlson's answer. Otherwise, some context is missing. –  DCTLib May 11 at 8:10
    
Good advice, thank you. –  Craig Welch May 11 at 20:08
    
@CraigWelch You can certainly get a visa. I wasn't suggesting to go to Costa Rica after the fact and Visa would be the only way to go but that wasn't the question OP posted. –  Karlson May 11 at 21:32

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