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I am going in less then a month to the United States for a 3 month period. I already have an ESTA that's valid until the end of the year.

I already have my flight tickets, but I read somewhere that I am allowed to stay 90 days, but unfortunately I counted the days I am staying are 91.

Do you think I will have problems? My ticket its not refundable, so I really didn't want to pay for the excessive fees they charge for changing the dates.

  • 6
    Note that ESTA is, essentially, authorization to get on a plane headed towards the USA, so the duration of its validity doesn't really affect anything. It needs to be valid on the day you get on the plan but not for the whole of your trip. – David Richerby Feb 8 '17 at 15:44
  • @DavidRicherby This doesn't belong to the issue. but very important Point nonetheless! – Crazydre Feb 8 '17 at 16:34
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    Post the dates and times of your flights so we can check that your counting is correct according to the US legal interpretation. – pericynthion Feb 8 '17 at 19:10
  • 1
    Actual dates are irrelevant for this particular question, although can be useful for the OP. For the sake of this question you should assume that the number of days is indeed 91. – downhand Feb 9 '17 at 12:31
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    Well, with the Orange Caligula doing whatever BannonLooseCannon tells him to do, in all honesty nobody can predict whether you'll be allowed in or for how long. Be careful. – Carl Witthoft Feb 9 '17 at 15:45
55

You have 3 options:

  1. Rebook your return ticket / Buy an additional one-way return ticket (might be less expensive than re-booking a non-refundable ticket)

  2. Get a visa (costs USD 160)

  3. Overstay, be banned from entering without a visa ever again, and get a black mark in the US systems.

Personally I would go with option 1, but it's up to you.

  • 28
    Was just about to post this exact answer - that 1 day will end your Visa Waiver Program eligibility for ever, if the US notices it (and in this day and age, chances are they will notice it). – Moo Feb 8 '17 at 12:04
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    @Moo "Chances are"? Since she's exiting by air, they WILL, because all entries and exits by air and ship are electronically recorded – Crazydre Feb 8 '17 at 12:05
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    I never ever like to work in absolutes ;) – Moo Feb 8 '17 at 12:05
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    @sabine The current waiting time is 3 calendar days, and 1 calendar day after the interview, so you should have the visa within 4-5 calendar days. Keep in mind, they'll likely ask why you're not entering visa-free. Tell them as it is: you messed up your booking by one day and it would've been more expensive to modify the return ticket, and you should be fine – Crazydre Feb 8 '17 at 14:12
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    @sabine And lastly, the visa will be multiple-entry and valid for 10 years, so you can use it freely in the next 10 years - you'll usually be granted a 6-month stay on each entry – Crazydre Feb 8 '17 at 14:16
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Other options:

  • Leave the country and re-enter at some point. You may have to go further than Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean to satisfy the VWP requirements, but if you can get cheap flight to South America it might be worth spending some time there.
  • Depending on the flight times, baggage and airport opening hours, you might be able to go through security on the evening of day 90, and wait air side until your flight.
  • 2
    While airside, you're still in the USA so checking in early doesn't avoid the overstay. – David Richerby Feb 8 '17 at 15:40
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    The US doesn't do border control on exit, so you haven't left until the plane's departed – Crazydre Feb 8 '17 at 15:42
  • @pnuts Departed. As I recall, there is some leeway about unavoidable VWP overstays (e.g., if you were on life-support in hospital) but I'm not sure if "I planned to leave at the very last minute, but my plane was delayed" counts as unavoidable, since flights are delayed or cancelled all the time. – David Richerby Feb 8 '17 at 15:48
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    @DavidRicherby If it was cancelled and you couldn't be re-booked on a flight the same day, it'll usually be a valid excuse. For example if your flight was supposed to leave at 09:00AM on day 90, but you were re-booked on a flight at noon on day 91 – Crazydre Feb 8 '17 at 15:50
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    @pnuts The airline staff sends a preliminary departure notice to the CBP upon check-in, and a final notice upon the actual departure, when it's clear that the passenger is onboard – Crazydre Feb 8 '17 at 15:54

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