I already have an ESTA from last year which is legal till July 2020. I was there 80 days in 2018 and wish to go Mexico for a month then return to the USA by car before heading to Asia after another month or two. Will this work with VWP or do I need a B2 or another type of visa for this?

(I have proof of income from Europe for the duration of my stay and have been in the US on a esta vwp last 3 years) Also wondering if I as a Norwegian citizen need to get my visa at the US embassy in Norway or can I get such a visa in any European embassy? (asking because to get Russian visa i had to go to the embassy in Norway)

thanks for any help guys :)

  • 1
    How long do you plan to be in the US? Don't count the 80 days you were already there; the 90-day limit is per visit.
    – phoog
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 18:08
  • plan to stay 80-90 days in the usa before a longer trip to Mexico then return Usa for a few weeks before i fly to Asia.
    – eidanchris
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 18:17

2 Answers 2


It sounds like you're proposing a trip of 80 to 90 days in the US, after which you will go to Mexico for three months or longer, and then go to the US for a few weeks. This falls within a strict reading of the VWP rules, but there could be a problem because the loose expression of these rules has become "travel to Mexico (among other places) does not reset the VWP clock."

If I were you I would ask CBP about this beforehand and do what they say. If they say it's okay to do this with the VWP, then bring a copy of their response with you. If they say it's okay to do it with a visa, you can apply for a visa at any US consulate, but your chances of success are best if you apply at the consulate that serves your place of residence:

You should schedule an appointment for your visa interview at the U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the country where you live. You may schedule your interview at another U.S. Embassy or Consulate, but be aware that it may be more difficult to qualify for a visa outside of the country where you live.

There's also a risk that your visa application will seem odd to the consular staff if they think your travel plans should be allowable under the VWP. It would therefore be a good idea to tell them that CBP advised you to apply for a visa if that is indeed the case.

  • many thanks for the answer Alternatively if i stay 80 days in Usa go Mexico for a surfing vacation for 30 days will the remaining 10 days of my Esta vwp allow me to enter Usa for my flight to Asia? would the stay in mexico "pause" the esta vwp or would the clock still run so to speak?
    – eidanchris
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 19:22
  • @eidanchris there are no "remaining 10 days of your ESTA" unless you re-enter on the same day or the next day. If you are admitted, e.g., on 1 July until 28 September, and you go to Mexico and return on or before 28 September, then the officer "may" (that is, probably will) readmit you until 28 September. If you enter after 28 September then the officer should admit you for 90 days or not at all. But that's based on a strict reading of the regulations, and some things I've read here suggest that the rules are applied differently in practice. That's why I suggest you should ask CBP directly.
    – phoog
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 19:40
  • @eidanchris under both the letter and the spirit (in my opinion) of the law, you should be admitted under the VWP from Mexico for the purpose of catching a flight out of the US regardless of your recent travel history (provided the officer finds your stated purpose credible, of course). But I suspect fairly strongly that in practice it depends on the officer you encounter at the border.
    – phoog
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 19:50
  • much appreciated for your help :) question has been sent to CBP as you suggested i will update this when i get an answer back from them. what you say is also what i suspect after reading many posts about the subject here and other places online and i would assume that having two other stays without issues a ticket out of states soon after re-entery from Mexico and evidence of lots of travels around the world and proof finances for the entire trip helps.
    – eidanchris
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 20:00
  • @eidanchris you're welcome. When you hear from CBP, you may want to consider posting an answer to this question. I had another thought about the visa application and added a paragraph. If you are advised to apply for the visa, it would probably help to mention in your application that CBP advised you to do so, especially if you apply away from your place of residence.
    – phoog
    Commented May 16, 2019 at 20:09

this is the respons i got from CBP unclear answer ill try to get it clarified further by the local embassy but for now this is what i got.

Response Via Email (Contractor - PIO) 05/21/2019 10:55 AM Thank you for contacting the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Traveler Communications Center.

VWP travelers should be able to demonstrate that they are a legitimate visitor to the United States and will comply with the terms of their admission. While there is no explicit limit on how long VWP travelers should remain outside the U.S. before returning, please realize that travelers who are spending significant periods of their time in the United States may have difficulty demonstrating that they are legitimate visitors. This office cannot discuss or provide further advice on specific admission/inspection issues because in the same way that a valid visa does not guarantee admission to the United States, an approved ESTA is not a guarantee of admission to the United States. The admission of all visitors to the United States is determined by the Customs and Border Protection Officers at the port of entry/border. If you have additional concerns and would like further clarity on your admissibility to the United States, you should consider applying for a visa at the nearest US Embassy or Consulate.

Regards, CBP Traveler Communications Center

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