I am intend to visit the United States from the United Kingdom for about 80 days under the Visa Waiver Program (I already have an ESTA approved). After this, I intend to fly to Canada to stay for 3-4 months and then return to the UK. I figured that proof of my intent to leave the United States before the 90 days granted by the VWP, and a further ticket from Canada to the UK would be sufficient proof of intent (as well as supporting documents like mortgage statements, bank statements, etc).

However, when going through the steps to book a flight through Kiwi.com, I found the following statement:

A return/onward ticket (or electronic ticket record) must be to a final destination country other than Canada, Mexico or contiguous (adjacent) countries or territories situated in or bordering the Caribbean Sea . If passenger holds proof of residence in, or is transiting the USA to such a country or territory, an onward/return ticket to that country or territory is accepted. Passenger can make side trips to Canada, Mexico or Caribbean countries/islands, provided first entering the USA on a carrier participating in the VWP. No additional time is given (extension) based on the departure to contiguous (adjacent) territory .

Does this mean I would be required to provide proof of intent to leave the US for the United Kingdom within the 90 days granted by the VWP? Would my ticket from Canada to the UK several months after those 90 days have passed be sufficient evidence to prove my intent to not overstay in the United States? I've read a fair amount on the DoS website, etc. but this is the first time I have read a statement like this.

While entry under the Visa Waiver Program requires that you have an onward ticket, you may, or may not, be asked to show it. And, as you note, it cannot be from Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean.

Customs officials don't always ask about tickets but, if they do and you don't have one, or it shows a departure from Canada/Mexico/Caribbean, you can be refused entry under the VWP.

With your plans, a solution would be to obtain a B-2 tourist visa. As a UK citizen, most likely you would be issued a multiple-entry visa, valid for 10 years. On each entry, you would normally be allowed to stay for up to 180 days. Better, there is no requirement to have in your possession an onward ticket.

  • The CBP usually won't ask for a return ticket, but check-in staff will most likely deny boarding if you don't have a return booking in their records – Coke Mar 24 '17 at 16:06

You must have an onward ticket and be able to show evidence of this. Most frequently, this is a round trip/return ticket provided by the airline automatically.

If arrive on a one-way ticket, it is up the CBP Officer to request evidence of your onward travel. Keep in mind, they can deny you entry simply for not having one. Of course, they can deem you low risk and let you in.

You best bet is to have proof, printed itineraries are usually sufficient (they can verify if the want to), to show all onward travel back to the UK and be able to demonstrate that you can stay in Canada for 3-4 months until your return to the UK.

Yes, they are determining you're intent to over stay. But, you don't have to return directly to you home country.

Reminder, none of this is guaranteed. Good fortune!

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