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I'm from Germany and I want to travel to the U.S.

My travel plans / vacation include a week stay in NYC. I'd like to travel to Jamaica from NYC and return home from Jamaica. So basically I'd have three one-way tickets: 1) Germany -> NYC, 2) NYC -> Jamaica, 3) Jamaica -> Germany.

I'm kinda confused because the VWP requirements are kinda sketchy:

AND if entering the United States by air or sea must: Hold a return or onward ticket. If travelling on an electronic ticket, a copy of the itinerary must be carried for presentation to the immigration inspector. Travelers with onward tickets terminating in Mexico, Canada, Bermuda or the Caribbean Islands must be legal residents of these areas.

http://www.ustraveldocs.com/de/de-niv-visawaiverinfo.asp

My onward tickets (from NYC to Jamaica and Jamaica to Germany) are not terminating as stated above. Am I correct that I can apply for the VWP? Thanks.

  • 3
    Yeah. They just mean that you have to travel outside of North America eventually unless you are legally resident wherever you are staying. Since you're going back to Germany, you are. – la femme cosmique Jul 17 '18 at 7:40
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The requirement for the ticket as expressed in federal regulations (at 8 CFR 217.2(c)) is

... a round trip ticket that will transport the traveler out of the United States to any other foreign port or place as long as the trip does not terminate in contiguous territory or an adjacent island; except that the round trip ticket may transport the traveler to contiguous territory or an adjacent island, if the traveler is a resident of the country of destination.

You are not a resident of Jamaica, so the exception does not apply to you. That means that your ticket must not terminate in Jamaica. But it doesn't; it terminates in Germany.

(You may be able to book this itinerary on a single ticket. At your favorite booking site, instead of "one way" or "round trip," choose "multi city" or similar.)

Earlier, at 8 CFR 217.2(a), the term round-trip ticket is defined thus (with some portions removed that are irrelevant to your case):

Round trip ticket means any return trip transportation ticket in the name of an arriving Visa Waiver Pilot Program applicant on a participating carrier valid for at least 1 year.... A period of validity of 1 year need not be reflected on the ticket itself, provided that the carrier agrees that it will honor the return portion of the ticket at any time, as provided in Form I-775, Visa Waiver Pilot Program Agreement.

So if your flight to Jamaica and/or to Germany is on a carrier that does not participate in the VWP, you might have trouble, though that seems unlikely in practice. The list of "signatory carriers" may be found at https://www.cbp.gov/document/report/signatory-visa-waiver-program-vwp-carriers. The list is extensive, but it seems that it must be taken with a grain of salt; for example, I cannot find Iberia on the list, but I am certain that they participate in the program.

  • BA bought Iberia; perhaps that is why it doesn't appear separately on the list? – Michael Hampton Jul 17 '18 at 18:22
  • @MichaelHampton I suppose so, though I'd have thought that their parent company would be there. At any rate, the point is that anyone who isn't familiar with the latest mergers and acquisitions in the airline industry, or more generally with its corporate structure, should not draw any firm conclusions from the list alone. – phoog Jul 17 '18 at 19:20
  • Thank you very much. My carrier is Eurowings (pretty much budget LH) so I'm safe. – lurkerbelow Jul 18 '18 at 14:06
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You will be fine.

The point of the requirement is to establish your intent to leave the Mexico/Canada/Caribbean area. Your tickets NYC->Jamaica and Jamaica->Germany terminate in Germany, and so do establish this.

The exception might be if you are intending to stay in Jamaica a very long time, such as more than six months.

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