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What is the I-94W visa form?

Traveling by car from Mexico to the USA, via ESTA VWP. Plan to stay in the USA for up to 90 days. Then we head into Canada for 6-8 weeks, before be head back into the US in order to get transport out of NY towards Norway. We're traveling on Norwegian passports.

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ESTA (Air)

You should apply for ESTA before leaving for the USA by air. It is an online application and normally is instant (unless they require further documents and want you to apply for a visa). It last for 2 years, and is multiple entry by air and up to 90 days per entry.

ESTA for land travel

For land travel it seems you don't need to have ESTA. But I would still get it, as it wouldn't hurt (in case you decide to fly out to Canada).

I-94W (Land)

You fill that out before crossing the land border. You can find an online copy here. Although I would advise you to get one from the border itself. It basically waives you from requiring a visa, and is for land borders.

Eligibility for ESTA or I-94W

The citizens of following countries are eligible:

Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea, San Marino, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom

Source: GPO.GOV

I-94 (Time Limit in USA)

I-94 is what the USA border give you when you enter. It is electronic. You can check your I-94 expiry date (normally 90 days from entry to the USA), after you have entered the USA.

USA to Canada and back to USA

If you leave the USA temporarily to go to Canada and back (up to 30 days) then they will use your old I-94. However since you are going for more than 30 days you may get issued a new one. Also border control on the US land borders are normally more inquisitive than those at the air borders (from own experience, and my US citizen spouse has similar experiences). You should always take proof that you are leaving the USA within your 90 days each time you enter (e.g. flights, etc...).

You may not get readmitted into the USA

The USA may count your Canada trip as part of the USA trip if you plan to return to the USA. The safest bet would be to fly out of Canada back to Norway, then you aren't making a temporary trip from the USA into Canada and back which would mean your short trip to Canada wouldn't count as part of the 90 days.

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.

Source: Visa Waiver Program - travel.state.gov

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An I-94 is not a visa, it's a record of your admission into the US, which also defines how long you may stay in the country. You typically had to fill in a form to get this I-94. Nowadays, the I-94 is often electronic but if you enter by land, you should still get a paper one.

The I-94W is the same thing but for the visa waiver program (i.e. people who enter without visa including Norwegian citizens if they fulfill the conditions of the program). If you enter the US by land, you don't need an ESTA to use the VWP. As a Norwegian, you will get a green I-94W that you must give to the airline before leaving.

Incidentally, given your plan, I think the transit in the US to catch your plane to Norway could be a problem, see Does the 90 days VWP rule ever expire if you travel from the US to Canada? or Travelling to Canada after 90 days in USA

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    I will also add a comment stressing if you do get an I-94/I-94W make sure you get an official to take it. If you don't turn it in, then to the US Customs and Border Patrol, you never left, and accordingly, you'll never get back in (to the US) because you'll have technically overstayed (perhaps by years). – CGCampbell Aug 21 '14 at 15:13

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