I am a UK citizen with an ESTA that is valid until 2020. I am with my girlfriend (US citizen) whilst she gets her UK visa together but it is taking longer than we expected. I told the officer at the border that I was staying for 4 weeks, but can I stay here for longer without informing anyone, as long as I leave within 90 days of when I arrived?

Thanks in advance for any advice!

  • 5
    Looks like you have a legitimate reason to stay a little longer, and it is within the allowed duration. Although staying longer than what you told them initially can sometimes cause questions on your subsequent visits, it still is not a forbidden thing. You're still not violating the terms of your entry permission. Jan 24, 2019 at 8:13
  • Thanks for your response. This was my thinking too. I just would not want to cause any major issues for ourselves down the line.
    – Ollie1700
    Jan 24, 2019 at 8:17
  • 2
    I have no experience with staying longer, but common sense tells me that it's going to be important how long you actually stay - explaining a 5-week-stay instead of 4 weeks seems okay, explaining 12 weeks (84 days) instead of 4 weeks seems pretty hard....
    – Sabine
    Jan 24, 2019 at 10:59

3 Answers 3


You can stay until the date that was stamped in your passport. Of course, you need a reason for that if somebody questions you.

I have been in US for business proposal and I stayed one more week that I have said when I arrived.

I already have been there after this and I do not have any issue.


They do not record your answers in a system especially because the questions are not set in stone (I crossed the US border enough times to know...), the officer listens to them and makes a decision whether to admit you and how long and then puts a stamp in your passport saying so. Now open https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/visa-information-resources/visa-expiration-date.html and read:

If your admission stamp or paper Form I-94 contains a specific date, then that is the date by which you must leave the United State.

This is the official answer: the stamp is the date. Note how it doesn't say anything else about your border interview, your presumed flight back or whatever. It plainly and clearly says: the stamp is the date. (When you have a longer term visa then and only then it will not contain a specific date, but this does not pertain to visitors, your stamp will have a date). Your admitted stay is almost always 90 days for ESTA / six months multi entry visas.


In principle, you can stay until the date stamped in your passport. You don't need to inform anybody if your plans change.

In the last couple of years, I've twice ended up staying a day longer than I said I would, because of flights getting cancelled. This has caused me no problems whatsoever: it's not even been mentioned on subsequent visits to the US.

Minor changes to your itinerary shouldn't make much difference. If you said you were going to stay much less than 90 days and your new plan is still much less than 90 days, I can't see you having any problems. People's plans change and you have a definite reason for extending your visit. The potential problem is if you said you'd stay two weeks and you instead stay for ten. That starts to look more like your initial claim of two weeks was a lie, even if it wasn't.

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