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I am an Australian citizen, currently studying in Canada.

I entered the United States In July 22nd for 3 days, where I stayed in Seattle before leaving to return to Vancouver. I then again entered the states on 11th of October and returned on the 18th of October.

On October 19th my original and first Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA), expired. I was under the impression that if I was to travel into the United States again I would have to apply for another ESTA and start the 90 days again, which I was planning on around December the 10th. In addition to this I am flying into Los Angeles on the 17th of December 2014 (where I plan to travel around the USA until flying out of Los Angeles again on 18th of January back to Australia).

However, after speaking to friends and looking at the website I have become confused on what my next course of action should be.

I am told that I cannot apply for another ESTA and be granted another 90 days visit into the USA, whilst I am in Canada and thus not be able to take any of my flights.

What would be the most appropriate action so that I can take my flights leaving North America and also travel the United States?

  • If you are studying in Canada (where Canada is your "home base"), then I don't think the rule about VWP and Canada applies. However, you will probably need to talk to the US consulate in Canada, and show that you are at least temporarily resident in Canada due to your studies. They might say that you're not valid for an ESTA but you may be eligible for a B1/B2 visa instead (where you have the opportunity to submit supporting documentation). – Greg Hewgill Oct 22 '14 at 19:40
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Your ESTA did not expire 90 days after your first trip to the US. This is not how it works, and probably is why you are confused.

The ESTA is good for two years and multiple entries.

Approved ESTA applications are valid for a period of two years, or until the passport expires, whichever comes first, and multiple trips to the United States without the traveler having to re-apply for another ESTA. When traveling to the U.S. with the approved ESTA, you may only stay for up to 90 days at a time - and there should be a reasonable amount of time between visits so that the CBP Officer does not think you are trying to live here. There is no set requirement for how long you must wait between visits.

So, presuming you got it last July, you should be fine to transit the US in December and January.

Now, if you really did get your ESTA two years ago, then it is expired, and you only need to reapply before your next trip.

If you aren't sure, you can check the status of your ESTA at the DHS ESTA website.

(Also note that while Canadian citizens are exempt from ESTA, non-citizen Canadian residents are not. So it's irrelevant that you are studying in Canada; your Australian citizenship applies.)

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