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I have an ESTA and entered the US on the 14th of March. Under ESTA I have to leave the country in 90 days from that date. During my travels I flew to Vancouver as well and stayed in Canada for 3 weeks. Recently I have flown back into the US. At the border control in Vancouver the officer apparently didn’t check my previous stamp in my passport and gave me a complete new one for 90 days, meaning I can now stay longer. Is my thinking correct? I also checked the I-94 website and it told me the same thing.

  • Since the wording of the text says they can be admitted up to the balance, a reasonable reading of the text would be that is the upper limit, and not 90 days. That said, because the new erroneous date is indicated on their own I94 website, I do not think a reasonable I/O will penalize you subsequently for following what you had been given. – user 56513 May 30 at 19:21
  • So is the I94 leading? Is that correct? – Drenches May 30 at 22:02
  • I had the same situation this week. On my first entry to the US from Australia the officer did not write an "admit until" date on the entry stamp (there was a very long queue and the officer wanted to get everybody through). On my second entry to the US after a week of travelling in Canada I was given an additional 90 days (according to the electronic I-94) and my passport was not stamped at all. – k2moo4 May 30 at 22:37
  • @Drenches I believe the text speaks for itself. The only reasonable interpretation of the up to the balance is clear. Don’t forget an error by an official does not absolve you. That said I don’t expect problems. – user 56513 May 31 at 5:22
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You can stay until your new "until" date. The visa waiver program regulations specify at 8 CFR 217.3(b) that an officer "may" readmit you for the balance of your previous period of admission. It is not required by regulation or statute. The text of the regulation:

(b) Readmission after departure to contiguous territory or adjacent island. An alien admitted to the United States under this part may be readmitted to the United States after a departure to foreign contiguous territory or adjacent island for the balance of his or her original Visa Waiver Pilot Program admission period if he or she is otherwise admissible and meets all the conditions of this part with the exception of arrival on a signatory carrier.

  • I disagree. Since the wording of the text says they can be admitted up to the balance, a reasonable reading of the text would be that is the upper limit, and not 90 days. – user 56513 May 30 at 19:19

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