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I know comparable questions have been asked but I would really appreciate it if you guys would give me advice on this matter.

My girlfriend is currently taking an internship in NYC and I've come with her to NY to be with her and follow online courses at the University of Amsterdam (the Netherlands).
I will go back to the Netherlands in March to take exams for the online courses I'm currently following. After three weeks (April) I'd like to go back to NYC to be with my girlfriend, and again follow online courses at the University of Amsterdam.

The Dutch Embassy told me that I have to be outside the US for 90 days to be able to get a new 90 days visa waiver period. I can't find that anywhere in writing and I believe it is not true.

Do you think I will get a new period of 90 days when I come back to New York after I've taken my exams? I will be able to present information about my return flight and the fact that I'm enrolled for the courses I'm following at the University of Amsterdam.

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    Why would you ask the Dutch embassy about U.S. rules? – user102008 Jan 21 '15 at 2:08
  • @user102008: Asking your own embassy about foreign immigration rules is often a useful strategy. Your own embassy will be able to give you information about rules that apply specifically to citizens of your country. These rules may be difficult to find in the general rules for all persons on the web site of the foreign country. Of course, all information that you get should be verified with primary sources. – Greg Hewgill Jan 21 '15 at 2:29
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Assuming you are Dutch, basically I think you are right and the Dutch Embassy spokesperson was wrong:

CBP:

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.

The Embassy spokesperson seems to have got confused with Schengen regulations – perhaps thinking you were visiting The Netherlands to study at The University of Amsterdam?

However, there may be a moral here. The VWP does not apply to those who travel for the purpose of study. There are exceptions such as “a short recreational course of study, not for credit toward a degree” but your study is presumably “for credit” – ie towards a degree, so might be deemed ineligible for VWP. I think the intent is probably to “catch” those studying at an American institution (not online to a Dutch one) but if your Embassy can misunderstand, so might a US Customs and Border Protection Officer.

It seems you run no particular risk of being turned away other than the routine prospect of an officer who feels uncharitable and the fact that you are making two visits in fairly rapid succession. It may however be worth emphasising the “be with my girlfriend” part and de-emphasising the “pursue my degree studies” part.

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    Actually I would be wary of emphasising "be with my girlfriend". An officer might well take that as you trying to live with your girlfriend; however she has a visa and can legitimately live in the US: you don't. – DJClayworth Jan 20 '15 at 22:07
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    I tried to delete my answer but it didn't work. I'm glad we're all on the same page about my main concern, that the 90 day period that has to be spent outside the US nonsense. The duration of her internship is 5 months. So I'm here for the first 80 days, then I'm in The Netherlands to take exams, and then I'm here for another 60 days. – sebastian Jan 20 '15 at 23:16
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    The ESTA is intended for tourists, for stays up to 90 days at a time. If you only leave for a short period and come back immediately, they might view this as you trying to extend your initial stay. The key is to make sure they understand you are only here temporarily, not trying to live there. You might want to look at applying for a tourist visa. But definitely show them a return ticket – EdmundYeung99 Jan 21 '15 at 11:53

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