I went to the US last fall and due to sheer sloppiness I managed to stay 1 day too long (September 2 through December 1). Here is my confusion. It still says that my ESTA application is valid. Does that mean I am eligible to re-enter? If not, if I re-apply for an ESTA and it is approved, does that mean I'm eligible to re-enter? Or is it possible that my ESTA is approved and I'm still denied entry at the border?

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    Did the stamp in your passport say November 30 or December 1? What does your record at i94.cbp.dhs.gov say?
    – phoog
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 13:23
  • Are you sure you overstayed? I thought the US counted the day you enter as day zero, unlike the Schengen area where it is day 1, so effectively "90 days" in the US is one day longer than in Europe. I'd be interested to know if that is incorrect. I know for sure that a 6 month entry to the US on January 1 lasts until the end of the day on July 1.
    – user38879
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 2:56
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    From what I've read in other forums they count both the day of arrival and day of departure as days, starting at day 1 on arrival. Can someone confirm that this is the case? I have no stamp in the passport while the records say arrival sep 2 and departure dec 1.
    – hafpip
    Commented Apr 19, 2018 at 11:27
  • It's really very confusing, reading other forums, some say that both arrival and departure days count, other's that departure day does not count. With that kind of grey zone, if no one can find formal info from the ESTA gov web that clarifies that both arrival and departure counts, it would be surprising that the immigration denies entry of someone that has not deliberately overstayed... any thoughts on this?
    – hafpip
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 7:35
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    @hafpip: what does your I-94 say? you can look up your electronic I-94 here
    – user102008
    Commented Apr 20, 2018 at 16:30

1 Answer 1


It it indeed possible to have a current ESTA approval and still be rejected at the border. The border is always where the actual entry determination is made; ESTA itself just authorizes the airline to fly you to a port of entry so you can apply for admission there.

In fact, given that you have overstayed a VWP visit once, the rules as written say that you must be rejected if you try to enter under the Visa Waiver Program ever again. I suppose it is possible in practice for a border guard to bend the rules for you, but I wouldn't count on that happening at all.

You will need to apply for a visa if you want to visit the US again.

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    Note for people planning to use the full VWP length of stay, always book your return a few days before to stop any mistakes or delays. Delays and emergencies are sometimes tolerable but not worth the risk of having to apply for a visa in the future.
    – BritishSam
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 10:05
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    @BritishSam I guess this is as my driving instructor said: "speed limits are a maximum, not a target". Similarly, limits in length of stay are maxima, not targets!
    – Muzer
    Commented Apr 18, 2018 at 12:22
  • If his initial admission stamp or electronic I-94 record was for December 1st then he did not overstay. It's not clear from the question whether that was the case.
    – phoog
    Commented Aug 19, 2018 at 2:22

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