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I'm a British citizen flying from London to Seattle in late May. My plan is to stay in Seattle for a few days, then travel south to Portland before flying up to Vancouver, Canada. From there I plan to spend a little over a week travelling east from Vancouver to Calgary, from where I will fly back to England. The whole trip will last less than 3 weeks.

I've searched at great length to find information on the rules regarding how this would work with Visa Waiver Program eligibility, as travelling into a bordering country doesn't count as leaving the US for the purpose of the 90 day stay limit. There's so much conflicting information though that it's stressing me out a bit!

Does anybody have any advice as to what might be my best course of action? Will I have problems entering the US because of this and what might I need to prove my exiting the US if I'm allowed in?

I've got my flights booked already, so I intend to evidence my full itinerary when arriving in the US (printouts of flight/bus bookings, hotels etc.), and I have my ESTA application complete. Is this enough?

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There should be absolutely no problem with doing what you propose. You are correct that "travelling into a bordering country doesn't count as leaving the US for the purpose of the 90 day stay limit", but it does count as "leaving the US". In particular, since you are flying internationally from Portland to Vancouver, the US CBP will get a record that you have left.

If you ever have any doubt, you can look up your I-94 arrival and departure record online.

  • Thanks, I really appreciate the input. So, in theory I should be recorded as departing and not risk impeding my future visits to the US? I was worried as I'd read a few things stating that transit to bordering countries isn't really proof of leaving as there's a perceived risk the person might sneak back over the border. – Jim Apr 22 '16 at 0:48
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    @Jim: The reason for the rule that travel to neighbouring countries doesn't stop the 90 day visit clock, is to prevent people from doing "visa runs" to extend their time available in the US under the ESTA. The risk of somebody sneaking back over the border to the US is an entirely different concern. – Greg Hewgill Apr 22 '16 at 0:51
  • Okay that's a huge weight off my mind. Information was so scarce on it, perhaps I was just over analysing! Thanks, Greg. – Jim Apr 22 '16 at 1:01

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