I am a British citizen eligible for the Visa Waiver Program. At Christmas, I will be flying from London Heathrow to Bogota, Colombia with a connection through the US in Dallas. As I understand it, I do not need a visa for my connection flight in Dallas.

On the return flight from Bogota to London Heathrow, I also have a connecting flight in Miami. The time period will be within 90 days of my previous transit.

Can I use the VWP to re-enter the USA for my connection, or will I need to apply for a visa?

  • 1
    Yes, it's fine, and the 90-day period is not relevant to the fact that it is fine. – phoog Nov 28 '16 at 16:39
  • @pnuts does it matter when the ESTA expires? If it expires between the two trips, it will only be necessary to get a new one. The chance of a subsequent ESTA being denied seems vanishingly small. – phoog Nov 28 '16 at 16:50
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    The point is you must have a valid ESTA, regardless of when it was issued or if it's you first, second, or 10th ESTA. – Johns-305 Nov 28 '16 at 16:56

It should be fine. The 90 days is not relevant because even if the second transit were beyond 90 days it would still be fine as you are going beyond Canada, Mexico, or Caribbean islands, so the 90 days "resets", and you can get a new period of stay.

  • The 90 days will not automatically "reset". We have first hand experience here when travelling from USA to Belize and back with a visiting relative. – anttix Nov 28 '16 at 19:27
  • @anttix would you care to share your experience? – phoog Nov 28 '16 at 19:41
  • @phoog We had a grandma visiting us and grand kids in the USA. She stayed on the VWP for a bit less than 90 days. We took a trip to Belize while she was here. When we came back from Belize, the customs official stamped the exact same VWP departure date to her passport. She was not given another 90 days just for visiting a non-bordering country. I don't know what would of happened if we were not within the same 90 day period. Maybe they would of deducted the time in Belize from her stay or maybe just flat-out denied entry. – anttix Nov 28 '16 at 19:44
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    @phoog Immigration officials have the power to set departure dates at their discression. There is no requirement for them to grant the full 90 days even on the first entry. Also generally they expect people to return to their country of origin before granting another full stay. – anttix Nov 28 '16 at 19:49
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    @anttix: according to an old edition of the CBP inspector's field manual (which is not used anymore but still informative), all VWP admissions are for 90 days unless the passport expires sooner – user102008 Nov 28 '16 at 20:44

Short answer: Most likely no, you do not need a visa

Long answer:

This depends on these circumstances:

  1. Will the country you are visiting be considered a "territory bordering the US or adjacent islands"? If yes, the 90 day VWP period will include the visit to that country.
  2. Is ESTA authorization valid during your second entry? This is relevant if the answer to the second question was no.
  3. Is your second departure within 90 days of the first entry?

Now from your circumstances it sounds like you will not breach the stay limit even if the trip to Colombia is counted towards the 90 days.


  • 3
    There is no international zone in US airports – CMaster Nov 28 '16 at 18:58
  • 2
    Also, Colombia is not bordering the US, by far. – chx Nov 28 '16 at 19:07

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