I am an Italian citizen in possession of a valid ESTA for the United States. I have already traveled 3 times in 2023 and stayed there for 146 days. I would like to know if there is a 180 day rule as I read somewhere on the web. I've never had any issues with the immigration officers, other than a few questions about why I'm travelling. I've already been asked these questions since my first trips in 2022. I'm actually a real estate agent who works in Italy and Spain and knowing some agents in Miami I'd like my investors to buy properties there. I always travel with the return ticket, I always carry my business cards with me and among the many information they asked me in the Esta form, there are also my company's web pages, Linkedin profile, etc, etc. copies of my business documents with me? Furthermore, my ESTA expires on November 24th and I should leave by October 15th ... would it be better to renew it now? Thanks for your replies and advice on this.
Contrary to other places like the Schengen Area which have a very clear and strict limit (the 90/180 rule in Schengen for instance), the rule in the US is a lot more fuzzy: you should not use successive or repeated visits to try to live in the US.
The interpretation is left to the officer, but the rule of thumb is that you should spend at least how much time outside the US than inside.
Having spent 146 days in 2023 (that’s 146 out of 222 at best, or at least 65%) clearly goes beyond the intent of a visitor visa and will raise red flags. Not only is this not a normal visitor pattern, but it will raise additional questions: how can you afford to spend that much time without working? Do you actually have any reason to go back to your home country? Are you not working while in the US?
Nobody here can tell you whether you will be allowed in or not (probably depends on answers to the above questions, as well as how long ago you left the US, how long you plan to stay this time…), but if you are refused entry this is very annoying to only at the time you are sent back home, but also later as you will need to apply for visas and will no longer be able to use an ESTA.
Finally, remember that if you stay over half of a year in the US you may become tax resident in the US, which opens a huge can of big nasty worms.