I have been working in the USA on an E-3 visa and intend to return home to Australia, but I want to travel around the US before I do so. I am under the impression that after leaving my current company, I will have 10 days to leave the country.

Will I be able to go into Mexico or Canada and re-enter with an ESTA waiver as a tourist?

  • 5
    "I am under the impression that after leaving my current company, I will have 10 days to leave the country." That's not correct. Since January 2017, you remain in status for 60 days after leaving your job, unless your I-94 expires earlier. (In other words, your status ends 60 days after you leave your job, or when your I-94 expires, whichever is earlier.) See 8 CFR 214.1(l)(2).
    – user102008
    Commented Jun 6, 2018 at 4:04

1 Answer 1


This possibly belongs on expats.SE, but given you're technically asking about the period after your work finishes we might as well do it here...

As was pointed out in the comments, new regulations were passed in 2016 that change the rules around staying in the US before/after many visas, including E3.

The first change was the formalization of the 10 day period you're referring to, which before these new regulations were passed was never actually in the laws for E-3 visas, although it was still generally accepted as being valid.

The second is a 60 day period after you cease employment where you can stay in the country, as long as your status (I-94) is still valid.

(For the exact details of these, go here and then scroll to the very bottom - section (l)(1) and (l)(2).)

If this isn't and option for you then you basically have two options :

  • Leave the US, and return under VWP. If you are entering by air this will require an ESTA. As with all entries to the US there is always a risk of being rejected, but the odds of this will be very low.

  • Petition USCIS for a change of status, from E-3 to B-2 (tourist). This will almost certainly be approved - but that fact is almost irrelevant. Such requests are currently very badly backlogged, so it will likely take (at least!) several months for your request for a change of status to be approved. During that time, you may legally stay within the US given that you are pending the change of status being approved/rejected. By the time they come to process your change of status, odds are that you'll have already left the country, so it will be ignored.

  • Thanks! I like option 2 but I saw this on the USCIS website: Until you receive approval from USCIS, do not assume the status has been approved, and do not change your activity in the United States. For example, if you are currently a nonimmigrant tourist, do not begin attending school as a student until you have received authorization from USCIS to change your status. If you fail to maintain your nonimmigrant status, you may be barred from returning to and/or removed (deported) from the United States. Your authorized status and the date your status expires can be found on your Form I-94
    – Worknomore
    Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 6:47
  • Do you think it's risky? Also, would I get in trouble if I went into Mexico or Canada while the processing was going on? Thank you again!
    – Worknomore
    Commented Jun 12, 2018 at 6:49

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