Travelling to Canada from Guate (UK Citizen), flight to Canada has layover in the US. After Canada I plan to enter the US, will my US Visawaiver (90 days) start from that point, or from when I had the layover?

  • I'm curious what kind of US visa you have as you don't need one as a visitor with a UK passport. I'm guessing it's not a B1/B2 so it won't apply anyway in case of a transit – blackbird Jun 20 '15 at 19:10
  • Given your use of the esta tag, are you perhaps talking about the 90 day limit under the Visa Waiver Program? This is technically not a visa. – Nate Eldredge Jun 20 '15 at 19:18
  • Yes Nate, that is correct, any help / guidance welcome... – Paul Jun 20 '15 at 20:22
  • You may want to edit your question to clarify this (see the "edit" button under your question). – Nate Eldredge Jun 20 '15 at 21:03
  • Do you want to use a full 90 days in the US? What is your planned itinerary? – Michael Hampton Jun 21 '15 at 1:20

The standard statement for a visa waiver is that the 90 day clock starts when you enter the US, and remains running until you leave, with visits to Canada. Mexica and the Caribbean not resetting the clock. Applied rigorously this would mean that you would have to finally exit the US 90 days or less from the date you entered the US in transit to Canada. If you are going to do this then you will obviously be OK.

However this is not an absolute rule. It's intended to prevent people making a 'visa run' to get another 90 day period by briefly exiting the US. The actual standard is that "it is only to be used for occasional, short visits to the U.S.". In the case where you transit the US, and then, less than 90 days later, visit the US for another short period (not more than 90 days) it is going to be up to you to convince the immigration officer that your visit will be "short and occasional".

I would expect slightly more scrutiny than you would have without the transit, but as long as you have tickets out, a clear link to your homeland, and no red flags you should be fine. You aren't the first people to have done this.

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  • Officially: "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." If you are actually transiting or visiting, this should be no problem. – Michael Hampton Jun 21 '15 at 13:22

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