I was in the US for 90 days last year to visit my boyfriend. I have been back to Europe now for 3 months, and planning to go back to the US for another 90 days under the same ESTA. Is this possible?

  • 1
    Just a correction, ESTA is not a Visa.
    – Dr. Snoopy
    Jan 26 at 13:33

2 Answers 2


Contrary to other places like the Schengen Area which have a very explicit 90/180 rule, the US is a lot more vague.

You should not use repeated or successive visits to try to live in the US, and the rule of thumb is that you should spend at least as much time outside the US as you stayed in.

So you're just on the edge of that rule, but again, it's an informal rule, and the CBP agent you may talk to when you arrive will decide whether you are allowed or not (and possibly for how long).

The questions they will want answers about (and they may ask directly or indirectly) are:

  • How can you afford to spend so much time in the US?
  • Don't you have a job to go back to?
  • What's your source of income?
  • Will you not be working in the US?
  • Will you effectively leave at the end of your trip and no overstay?

Depending on your exact circumstances, you could get stamped in without any further discussion, or they may ask more and more questions, and if they don't like the answers, they could either let you in but only for a shorter amount of time, or outright refuse entry and send you back home, which is an altogether unpleasant and costly experience, and can have consequences on your future visits to the US and even other countries.

We don't know your circumstances so it's difficult to judge which way it may go, but you may want to make sure you are not so close to the (informal) limit.

Or, if appropriate, you may be better off exploring options for longer-term visas (which may depend on the status of your boyfriend in the US).

  • Thank you so much! This is very helpful. :)
    – Louisa
    Jan 28 at 12:31

ESTA is valid for 2 years, so as long as it is valid you can use it to seek admission. That said, you may be questioned as to your intentions and ways to finance your stay. The CBP officer needs to be convinced that you'll return back home, and that you're not going to be working or studying in the US in violation of your terms of admission, and the pattern of travel may not be supportive of that.

  • Hi There, continue to my case above. I did send in a B1 VISA application. Though I got the decision back says " Your visa application has been refused under Section 221(g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act." It ask me to attend an interview. Although the next available time is way to far, I don't actually need to go to US anymore if it's then. Now I am wondering if I can still enter with my ESTA.
    – Louisa
    Mar 9 at 11:42
  • Although in the last part of the letter, it saids "Pls be advised that for U.S. Visa purpose, including ESTA, this decision constitutes a denial of a visa. ..." But does it mean that including my valid ESTA it has been all denied? Or untill the time of interview, this all doesn't count?
    – Louisa
    Mar 9 at 11:42
  • @Louisa you can no longer use your esta. You need to attend that interview.
    – littleadv
    Mar 9 at 19:29
  • Wait until the time of the interview, I would be no longer need to go to the US anymore. But I don't know what to do now, just for the future travelling I don't want to have a bad record. I guess I should still go to the interview. But can I ask them to withdraw the case by the time of the interview?
    – Louisa
    Mar 9 at 21:08
  • I don't think so, the current decision is tentative, but is a decision
    – littleadv
    Mar 9 at 21:43

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