I am currently holidaying in USA and have entered the states on a ESTA visa waiver, I booked my return ticket two weeks after the 90 day ESTA expires (my fault) naively thinking it wasn't a big deal, I went on a short visit (3 days music festival) to Quebec from Maine, upon re-entering the states the border protection official made it quite clear that I would have to return to Australia when the 90 days are up.

Now I am only on holidays and have no medical emergency, but I am having a great time sailing here, is there anything I can do to extend my stay (14 days) to the date of my pre purchased plane departure ?

  • Nobody says that you have to return to Australia, so long as you leave USA for somewhere that will let you in, before the 90 days you were admitted for are up. Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 15:42
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    The possible dupe is about noticing before the travel that one needs more than 90 days, here it is during travels. I am therefore voting to leave open. Also note that the suggested dupe features a dead link, no answer for this case and the info in the comment by phoog above is much better advice than anything in that answer. @MichaelHampton
    – mts
    Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 17:09
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    What about going to Canada before the 90 days are up, then attempting to reenter the US the day before your flight?
    – Berwyn
    Commented Jul 21, 2016 at 7:00
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    @Berwyn Going to Canada specifically does not restart the VWP clock. Commented Jan 18, 2017 at 22:05

2 Answers 2


ESTAs and VWP are not the same thing, I invite to read up more on that.

Since ESTAs are generally valid for 2 years and they only need to be valid when you enter the US and not for the whole stay, I'm guessing that you probably want to extend your stay under VWP. If that's the case, then the answer is no you cannot extend your stay.

You may not apply to extend your stay if you were admitted to the United States in the following categories:

Visa Waiver Program

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    Even more, the ESTA just needs to be valid on the day one enters. It doesn't matter if its validity runs out during the stay. Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 15:43

As blackbird correctly says, you cannot extend a VWP stay. Your options are therefore:

  1. Change your flights to fly home within 90 days.
  2. Fly to another country before the 90 days are up and then back to the US. However note that nearby countries specifically do not reset the visa clock, and won't work for this purpose.'Nearby' is a specific list of countries, including Canada, Mexico and Caribbean countries. The nearest countries that will work for this are in Central America. Also be aware that flying there and then straight back runs the risk of being refused re-entry. Anything that looks like you are trying to game the system can get you refused.
  3. It is possible, but not guaranteed, that the US might let you back into the country for transit. In other words, go to Canada (or Mexico) before the 90 days are up, spend time there (Canada is well worth a couple of weeks) and then book a connecting flight from Canada (or Mexico) to the airport your original home flight departs from, so it arrives as soon as possible before your home flight takes off. There is a certain amount of discretion the CBP officials have, and if it is clear that you intend to re-enter the US only for transit purposes they might allow it. Be aware that this is a high risk option. CBP would have every right to disallow you re-entry to the US, and then you would have lost the flight tickets. You should have the best possible documentation proving that you have a flight out of the US, and intend to use it. It would probably help your cause not to leave the US right on the 90th day. Anything that makes it looks like you are trying to stay longer in the US will weaken your case.
  • Not only do neighboring countries not reset the clock, they don't even pause it. If you stay in the US for 80 days, drive to Canada for 7 days, and then drive back to the US, you now only have 3 days left in your stay. If you drive to Canada for 14 days and then drive back to the US, you're denied entry.
    – cpast
    Commented Jan 19, 2017 at 18:58

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