I am an Australian citizen currently in the US on the VWP. My girlfriend (also an Australian citizen) and I are living in Canada on working holiday visas. We have been in the US for nearly 10 weeks, our VWP expires on the 1st of September. We have purchased a car and wish to drive to Mexico for four weeks and then back through the US to Canada. We have read that leaving the US to Mexico does not stop or reset out Visa Waiver Program time limit.

Does this mean that on our return to the US we will not be able to cross the border?

  • 2
    possible duplicate of 90 Day rule on the US Visa Waiver Program not expiring if you go to Canada Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 18:30
  • 1
    How long is your Canadian visa valid for? IIRC the rules on leaving the US for a nearby country and returning vs the 90 days differ for people who do and don't live in a nearby country (FSVO live in....)
    – Gagravarr
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 18:48
  • 2
    @DJClayworth not an exact duplicate. In that original, the OP was a NZ Passport holder, living in Canada under a working tourist visa, so exiting the US to Canada was, in effect, returning to the OP's place of residence, and also, in effect, a permanent exit of the US. In this case, the OP is also living and working in Canada under a working tourist visa, but is intending to visit Mexico. This is not a permanent exit, but a temporary one, so the 90 days keeps counting. According to the OP, the 90 days expires while they would be in Mexico, so: no return to the US, as he would not have a visa.
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Aug 20, 2014 at 21:16

1 Answer 1


According to the US Department of State, Bureau of Counsular Affairs,

Trips to Canada, Mexico, or nearby Islands

If you are admitted to the United States under the VWP, you may take a short trip to Canada, Mexico, or a nearby island and generally be readmitted to the United States under the VWP for the remainder of the original 90 days granted upon your initial arrival in the United States. Therefore, the length of time of your total stay, including the short trip, must be 90 days or less. See the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website.

The last sentence is a link to the Customs and Border Patrol website, but it discusses what they call Closed-Loop Voyages. C-L V's are, for instance, where tourists from Europe may fly into Miami and board a cruise ship going to some Carribean Islands and returning to Miami. The rules allow for this. What you are discussing is a personal trip, at your own convenience and itinerary, and using a vehicle operated by you. In that case, you are taking yourself out of the US to another country, not as part of an organized group or tour. If your trip to Mexico takes you beyond the allowed 90-days, yes, you will not be allowed back into the US, without applying for and being granted a new visa. I do not believe you would be elligible for a second waived visa/second 90-day period.

  • 2
    Typically no, but the border guard has discretion and may allow it anyway. I wouldn't be comfortable taking the chance in this situation though. Commented Aug 21, 2014 at 11:58

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .