An 18 year old German citizen is visiting us in the USA with an ESTA. We would like to take her to visit both sides of Niagara Falls. If she crosses into Canada by land can she re-enter the US without any problems? Will she need extra paperwork?

  • 3
    Again, it's not a visa. Jul 7, 2016 at 2:57
  • She will need her passport with her, of course.
    – Aganju
    Jul 7, 2016 at 17:43

1 Answer 1


ESTA is not a visa, but an electronic passport registration needed to enter the US by air or sea without a visa.

And no, she will need no extra paperwork. At the US airport, she will simply get an entry stamp, which is valid for 90 days. Meaning, when she comes back from Canada byland, she won't even get a new entry stamp, they'll just look at the passport and existing stamp and wave her through.

(pro tip: as a German travelling visa-free she can use the automated passport kiosks at most US airports, called APC, which allow for quicker processing)

  • 2
    She can only use APC if she has visited the US at least once before, since 2008: Visa Waiver Program visitors must have Electronic System for Travel Authorizations (ESTA) approval prior to travel and have visited the United States on at least one occasion after 2008. (Source: cbp.gov/travel/us-citizens/automated-passport-control-apc)
    – phoog
    Jul 7, 2016 at 4:05
  • @phoog Despite what the CBP website says, it's up to each airport (MIA, for example, allows all ESTA travellers to use the kiosks, while PHL only allows it for US citizens and perm. residents).
    – Crazydre
    Jul 7, 2016 at 4:09
  • Are you basing that statement on the instructions of airport staff as to which queue you should join? If so then I offer the advice of a CBP officer from JFK: Don't listen to them. They don't know what they're talking about.
    – phoog
    Jul 7, 2016 at 5:48
  • @phoog I never speak to them, I simply read the signs. This is a sign at Miami s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/xTqZiqnvqDrPuo_Jzsk7VQ--/… I actually called the CBP in Miami a while ago and explicitly asked if it's for all ESTA holders indeed. They said it was. I know it is in Toronto as well.
    – Crazydre
    Jul 7, 2016 at 5:52
  • @phoog Also, even though this is getting off-Topic, in practice you can often use the Kiosk regardless if you just manage to ignore the airport staff. Only thing is, you're likely to get an X-marked receipt (because no Fingerprints), but the X lines. although obviously longer than the non-X lines, are usually significantly quicker than the regular visitor lines.
    – Crazydre
    Jul 7, 2016 at 5:55

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