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I currently am on the Visa Waiver Program (valid until September 2016) and am allowed to stay 90 days in the USA. I will be leaving before the end of the 90 days, going to Guatemala or Costa Rica, stay for a week or so, and then come back for another two months.

My questions are :

  • Will my 90 days be reset ?
  • Do I have to apply for a new Visa Waiver or can I use the same for my second 90 day stay ?
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    OK, there is legal and then there is technical (advice). Legally, going to Costa Rica for a week will 'reset' your 90days. At that point, again legally speaking, you would be authorized to re-enter for a second 90day period. All of that, however is completely up to a USCIS officer. If they feel you are attempting to circumvent the spirit of the rules and 'live' here (in the US), they might very well deny you entry. Doing so is completely up to the USCIS officer who checks your passport here. What the chances are for that to happen is not something any of us can foretell with any accuracy. – CGCampbell Oct 25 '14 at 17:42
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    I will also point out the following: Travelers should be aware that by requesting admission under the Visa Waiver Program, they are generally waiving their right to review or appeal a CBP officer’s decision as to their application for admission at the port of entry. See the CBP website for additional details. – CGCampbell Oct 25 '14 at 17:51
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Your VWP comes under the ESTA program and is valid for a two year period. You don't need to reapply for anything during this time, and indeed you can use it multiple times, and they email you when it's expiring.

However, there is, as you've acknowledged, the 90 day rule. Even more frustratingly, as many have found out, you cannot reset it by simply going to Canada or Mexico.

Yes, it will be reset if you go to Costa Rica or Guatemala. However, as with any entrance into the USA, it's up to the border agent as to whether or not you are permitted to enter.

Such a trip will raise a potential flag as 'possible border run', which some might do if they're working under the table in the US but want to maintain a visa. So to placate them, and assuage their concerns, you'll want to provide evidence that you're only staying for two more months. Itinerary, bookings, train/bus tickets if you have them, and definitely your flight out of the US at the end of the two months.

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