I travelled to the USA in October 2017 on an ESTA authorization and stayed for four weeks. I am Dutch and live in Portugal. If I understand correctly, I could have stayed in the USA for 90 days. After that I should stay away for 90 days. Without thinking things through, I have booked a flight to the USA for February 2018.


  1. Will I be refused entry? I might be considered entering the USA during the second half of the 180 days. Can someone please explain if I run the risk of being denied entry?
  2. Is there an alternative?
  3. I still have an 'indefinite' visa (see photo). Would that still allow me entry into the US?

Visa in my ancient Dutch passport

  • 5
    "After that I should stay away for 90 days." There is no such rule.
    – user102008
    Nov 20, 2017 at 0:17
  • @user102008: It's not a formal rule, but CBP has confirmed that it's a rule of thumb which their officers are likely to follow; see travel.stackexchange.com/a/97935/1362 Jul 14, 2018 at 14:52

1 Answer 1

  1. The visa waiver program allows you to enter the US for up to 90 days per visit. There is no rule about 180 days. Immigration officers may question whether you are abusing the program by using it to spend too much time in the US, but that seems extremely unlikely in your case.

  2. You do not need an alternative, but you can always apply for a visa.

  3. Your visa was invalidated by law when newer machine-readable visas were introduced years ago. You can no longer use it.

  • 8
    Is it worth noting that (like virtually every other country in the world) the USA reserves the right to refuse entry to anyone who isn't a citizen or permanent resident? Not that it's remotely common for people with reasonable paperwork and no record, but it's always a possibility.
    – origimbo
    Nov 19, 2017 at 19:30
  • @origimbo it is indeed worth noting that. (Also, even permanent residents can be refused entry under certain circumstances.)
    – phoog
    Nov 19, 2017 at 20:09

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .