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My brother and I are planning a trip next year to visit our uncle in Canada, and will spend part of the time in the US.

On the official online ESTA application form, under the section name "Travel Information", it asks "Is your travel to the US occurring in transit to another country?"

I'm not sure whether to say yes or no to this question because of our planned itinerary, which is as follows:

Saturday

  • Fly from London to Seattle
  • Pick up hire car in downtown Seattle and drive north
  • Find a motel and stay the night (this might be in the US, might be in Canada)

Sunday

  • Drive the rest of the way to our AirBnB in Canada

Wednesday

  • Depart Canada and return to Seattle
  • Return hire car and spend a few days in another AirBnB in Seattle

Saturday

  • Fly home from Seattle to London

So, a few of issues here:

Yes we are travelling to the US en route to another country, but we might stay overnight in the US on the first night, and if we do, does that mean we're actually not?

When we arrive in the US, I assume they will want to know where we're headed, and I'm worried they won't be satisfied with our answer, which will basically be "don't know yet, might be staying in the US, might be heading straight to Canada"

Even if we say that we're planning to stay in a motel (whichever side of the border it may be), will they insist on knowing which motel?

  • I don't think it much matters. I'd be inclined to say "yes" just to avoid having to give a US address. Transit visas allow transits of up to 29 days' duration, so it's certainly reasonable to say that you're in transit. – phoog Aug 9 at 18:22
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    Instead of saying "don't know yet, might be staying in the US, might be heading straight to Canada," which sounds suspiciously vague and might prompt follow-up questions, you could just say "we're driving to Canada first and coming back to visit Seattle on Wednesday," which is entirely true and sounds like a coherent plan for your trip. – Zach Lipton Aug 9 at 19:29

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