Have 4 week stay in Florida then 2 weeks in Cayman and back to us for 8 weeks. Does the 2 week stay in Cayman use up time out of my 90 day esta? I know I can't start a new 90 day clock when I return to the US. Its not a business or educational trip , just tourism.

  • Possible duplicate of Two trips to the USA 3 weeks apart under ESTA scheme – blackbird Nov 11 '15 at 3:19
  • @blackbird57 Not quite. That question addresses exiting the area and starting a new 90 day clock; this question is the opposite. – Michael Hampton Nov 11 '15 at 4:38
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    Worth noting: You do not have a "90 day esta". Your ESTA is valid for 2 years (assuming it doesn't get cancelled for any reason). You are intending to enter the USA under the Visa Waiver Program (travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/visit/…) which allows you to remain in the US for up to 90 days at a time. – CMaster Nov 11 '15 at 9:51
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    @DJClayworth with regard to your edit, the VWP clock is never paused, only reset (or not). So if you travel to Ireland after 45 days in the US and return 5 days later, you get 90 days, but if you were in Canada instead of Ireland, you get 40 days, not 90. – phoog Aug 25 '17 at 19:12

Your proposed itinerary is not legally permitted under the Visa Waiver Program.

When you first enter the US, you will be stamped in WT status for 90 days from the date of entry. This represents the so-called "90 day clock" that begins counting. If you travel to Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean during this time, and return to the US, you can only be readmitted for whatever time remains of the 90 days, which continued counting down while you were in the Cayman Islands.

Unfortunately, your itinerary would have you remain in the US until day 98 past your arrival, eight days longer than would be permitted.

You have a few options at this point:

  1. You can rearrange your itinerary so that your visit to Cayman Islands is either at the beginning or at the end of your trip, so that your time in the US is continuous.

    At the beginning is fine, because the 90 day clock does not start until you enter the US (provided, of course, that you do not transit the US to reach Cayman). At the end is also fine, because you are considered to have departed the US when you leave the US for the Cayman Islands and then go directly home. (And even if you have to transit the US to return home, the 90 days will have expired, so you should have no problem there. Remember that the purpose of the 90 day rule is to prevent visa runs, not to prevent people from going home.)

  2. You can cut your trip short.

  3. You can obtain a US visa. With a visa, you can stay in the US for up to 6 months on each visit, and the 90-day clock does not apply. Note that you will need two entries, but most countries' nationals get multiple entry visas anyway.

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    Is the statement "even if you have to transit..." correct? So, to give another example, if one was to enter the USA on day 0, leave for Mexico on day 45, then return to the USA on day 91 and eventually return on day 110 they would be fine, but to return to the USA on day 89 would mean an illegal overstay? That seems odd. – CMaster Nov 11 '15 at 10:03
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    @CMaster Welcome to the United States. Odd doesn't even begin to describe some of the laws here... Though if you came back on day 89, you would need to leave by the following day (day 90). This is nothing like Schengen's more straightforward 90-in-180 rule. – Michael Hampton Nov 11 '15 at 10:48
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    @michealhampton I'm aware that legal and beauracractic issues often run counter to any kind of sense. It just suprises me that the system would work this way, as it would seem to enable visa runs to Mexico/Canada, provided you left on day 89 and returned on day 91, which I thought the rule was specifically set up to prevent... – CMaster Nov 11 '15 at 10:54
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    @CMaster You are forgetting about the immigration officer, who is looking for people doing this sort of thing. – Michael Hampton Nov 11 '15 at 11:09
  • @MichaelHampton Can't the choose to admit you on a new 90-day period, if they're convinced you're not doing a visa run on purpose? – Crazydre Aug 25 '17 at 20:05

Yes, the two weeks in Cayman uses up some of your 90 day time. The 90 day clock starts from the day you enter the US, and continues counting even during time you spend in the Caribbean islands.

  • This is all very much as I thought. Thank you so much for taking the time. At some ridiculous cost I have rearranged my homeward flight so we now leave Feb 12 (day 85) and not Mar 2. Two weeks accommodation will be left empty and we will not be spending our money in the US for 19 days. I get why they do it - its just a pity and I feel there ought to be a better way somehow. – Carol Nov 12 '15 at 7:02
  • Wouldn't getting a visa, as suggested by Michael, have been a better option? – badjohn Aug 26 '17 at 8:48

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