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I am from England. I’ve traveled to the US as a visitor in December. Now I need to make a trip to Canada after 65 days staying in US. I want to stay there for 2-3 weeks. I have plans to go back to the US after that, stay in the US for another 3 weeks and then fly back to England from there.

How the ESTA 90-day stay in the US would work in my case? I am concerned that my 90-day ESTA will continue after I’ll go to Canada and won’t be able to go back to the USA or the possibility to violate the ESTA rules. Do I have to leave North America after 90 days or can I visit Canada with a new full eTA and travel back to the US? So in summary, the trip is England to USA, USA to Canada, Canada to USA, USA to England. How can I make sure that I wouldn’t violate the 90-day stay?

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    ESTA is not your visa (or visa waiver). It's your authorization to fly to the US.
    – dda
    Feb 4 at 2:20
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    @dda *travel, not just fly.
    – Midavalo
    Feb 4 at 8:13

1 Answer 1

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The simple answer is that you (probably) can not do what you've described.

Under the US Visa Waiver Program, if you go from the US to Canada and then return to the US, then the time you spent in Canada is counted against your allowed stay in the US. In your case, your initial 65 days in the US, 14+ days in Canada and then 21 days in the US would put you over the allowed 90 days.

At this point you basically have 3 options...

  1. Plan to leave North America before your 90 days is up. As you're already in the US, you can check the date by which you need to leave, either by checking the stamp on your passport, or going to https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/recent-search
  2. Keep your current plans, but on re-entry to the US from Canada ask the immigration officials to issue you with a new I-94W, giving you an additional 90 days of level status in the US. Whilst the immigration staff do have the ability to do this, there's no guarantee that they will. And if they don't, then they will potentially refuse your re-entry to the US based on the fact that you don't have a flight to a location outside of North America within your allowed stay.
  3. Re-order or re-time your trip, such as that you are outside of the US on the day your status ends.

To explain the last point - if you are outside of the US when your I-94W expires (even if only in Canada), and then you attempt to re-enter the US then the immigration staff will need to issue you with a new I-94W, giving you additional time in the US. Whether they will do this will depend on the situation. For example, if you are just returning to the US to catch a flight home in a day or two, then they will likely allow you into the country. If you are returning to the US with plans to stay an additional 30/60/90 days, then there's a real chance they will refuse your entry and leave you stuck in Canada.

Realistically, simply shortening your trip to be less than 90 days (Option 1 above) total is the best and safest option. Whilst Option 2 will allow you to do what you want, there's a very real chance that the US Immigration staff will not allow it.

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    There’s another possibility, if perhaps impractical: apply for a B-2 visa while in Canada.
    – phoog
    Feb 3 at 20:50
  • @phoog Last I checked, wait time for appointments for B-2 visas for non-residents is 6+ months, although that may have improved. Also, applying for a B-2 visa is risky for anyone from a VWP country without a very good reason.
    – Doc
    Feb 3 at 20:59
  • Wanting to be able to re-enter the US without having to worry about the VWP restriction seems as good a reason as any. But the long wait times are indeed why I said that it’s an impractical possibility. (But appointment wait times aren’t different for residents and nonresidents as far as I know, are they?)
    – phoog
    Feb 3 at 21:10
  • @Doc last time I checked wait times for visas were extremely variable from one consulate to another. Some places were at a week or so while others were still at over a year. Even within the same country there was a lot of variability.
    – jcaron
    Feb 3 at 21:31
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    @njzk2 Paper I-94's are no longer a thing, it's all electronic. Even when they were you were supposed to keep them when temporarily going to Canada.
    – Doc
    Feb 4 at 3:50

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