How soon can I return to the US from the UK on an ESTA after abandoning the K1 visa


My finacee and I were going to marry in the US as she was doing a PHD there (she is American). However whilst I was over there on my K1 visa, she decided to transfer her PHD to the UK. So we didn't go ahead with a wedding there. I returned to the UK after spending the maximum 90 days there. Now I would like to return on an ESTA for a month or so. Ideally, I want to go back right away, I know much of the decision will be made at the border, but I can explain the situation well enough and i'm not concerned with the border officer not believing me as I have the expired K1 with me. I'm just wondering if I may have missed anything obvious? And if I get denied at the border, what impact it will have on future ESTA travel.

  • 2
    "And if I get denied at the border, what impact it will have on future ESTA travel." You won't be able to enter without a visa ever again
    – Crazydre
    Apr 14, 2017 at 14:06
  • 1
    One datum I think relevant that you don't mention is how much time has elapsed between the 90-day stay and your return attempt.
    – MadHatter
    Apr 14, 2017 at 16:11
  • @Crazydre unless he becomes a permanent resident.
    – phoog
    Apr 17, 2017 at 15:47
  • @phoog Exactly...
    – Crazydre
    Apr 17, 2017 at 19:24

1 Answer 1


You can come immediately after you are either approved for an ESTA or visa. You are not required to apply for a visa although it might be prudent. There is no waiting period for you.

You are aware like any other form of the visitor’s visa, ESTA requires a showing of “non-immigrant intent” - the intent to come only temporarily and for the purpose of the visa - to visit - and then return to a residence abroad.

You previously had immigrant intent, the K1 is evidence of that. A suspicious I/O could question whether your relationship with your fiancee went south and you left for home etc. There is no evidence of what you're saying about your fiancee changing her PhD to UK and that being the trigger for your departure.

Bottom line if you attempt coming via ESTA and you're denied, you won't be able to use that route again. An I/O could say you appear a bit unstable with your life plans. UK to US and back to UK and then immediately wants to return. Do you even have a job in the UK and ties there? Unstable people typically have problems with immigration.

  • Yea I have a job, accountant, and residence in the UK Apr 17, 2017 at 16:16
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    @Kevinhowbrook If you do have the solid ties you can demonstrate and explain, coming via ESTA is fine. Be prepared with documents and a cogent explanation why you're returning so soon etc. Apr 17, 2017 at 16:29

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