Our family are planning to go to the US after Christmas and stay for at least 3 months. You can go for 3 months from Europe ( we are Swedish) without getting a visa. Now, we don´t know if we may want to stay longer and are wondering about how you can do it. Apply for a longer visa of course, but as we understand it´s quite a challenge to go through. Go to another country after 3 months, South America for exemple and than back again...?
Does anyone know about the rules for this?
The 'solution' you seem to suggest doesn't work, I'm sure about that; you only get a visa waiver as a EU citizen if you enter US from a EU country.
In general, the good old exit-reentry trick has a low success rate in 'civilised' countries with a good system of immigrants' registration; immigration officials are likely to find you out, and when that happens, it is doubtful whether you will be given a chance to re-enter ever again, instead of being labelled persona non grata. Best to go through the paper mill, I'm afraid...
I would check with the US Consulate in Sweden. Many have done what you described by crossing into Canada and U-turn to the U.S. However, after 9/11 immigration has become much more difficult. Just within the last few years did U.S. Custom officers scan my passport (I'm American) upon return. Before that, they just looked at it... like the Germans who also never stamped my passport (in the 90's).
What bentivogli says about you only get a visa waiver if entering from an EU country is not accurate. I started travel in the US on my latest trip about 2 months back, I have a UK passport and being on a RTW trip, I entered through Mexico City and after about 10 minutes of questioning (after 2 hours in line) I got a 90 day visa waiver entering Miami. After 1 week in the US, my Round the world ticket had me departing to Jamaica. On checking in for my flight to Montego Bay, they took my visa waiver out of the passport. After one week in Jamaica, I re-entered the US through JFK airport in New York and got a new visa waiver with another 90 days.
I have heard though that it is entirely up to the immigrations official as to if you get another visa waiver or not. I have also heard that you are way less likely to get another visa waiver if you go to Canada or Mexico. Some people on another travel forum have also said when people have asked the same type of question that if you say spent 2 1/2 months in the US, then went to Mexico and came back after one week, you'd only get one week as that would have been three months. That has been what has been mentioned numerous times on the other travel forum I go on a lot. SO I am thinking that I may have just been lucky with regards to getting a second visa waiver with a new 90 days on it, not that a whole 7 days made a great deal of difference to me. The immigration guy knew about the stamp, because I pointed it out to him so that I could avoid all the dumb questioning I get every time I come in to the US even if it is just walking across the border at Niagara Falls.
The solution that has been mentioned on other travel forums which is far less risky, is instead of getting a visa waiver get a 6 month tourist visa.