Skip Navigation

1. Posted by deadmanmoz (Full Member 92 posts) 8y

Howdy peeps,

I just wondered if anyone had information or suggestions/experiences of visa's in America when travelling from England?
I've been looking at and planning my trip around the idea of the "Visa Waiver Programme" which seems to suggest you can travel around America for up to 90 days without needing to apply for a visa. If you leave America to visit Canada or Mexico the 90days freezes until your return into the country.
This seems an excellent idea to me as it saves what i percieve as the hassle and paperwork or trying and possible failing to get a full visa.
And surely 90 days (100 if you include 10 days in Canada) seems plenty of time to see America.

Thanks

2. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 8y

I believe that the 90 days doesn't "freeze," but rather continues to count down, however because you've already gotten the visa waiver on entry, don't need to get a new one. So, to clarify - my understanding is that you enter and have 90 days. If you stay in the US for 40 days, leave for Canada for 10 days, when you return to the USA and will have 40 days left (original 90 days - 40 in USA - 10 in Canada = 40 days left).

Also, it is my understanding that you need to leave both the USA and the "adjecent areas" (Canada, Mexico or the some of the Caribean islands) by the 90 days to qualify. Leaving for Canada, and re-entering does not "reset" the VWP time period.

However, you can leave for a non-adjecent country (i.e. fly to the UK or Costa Rica) and return and get a new visa waiver (assuming the officer lets you in, which they may be suspcious about if you do it too much).

Greg

3. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4809 posts) 8y

Quoting GregW

However, you can leave for a non-adjecent country (i.e. fly to the UK or Costa Rica) and return and get a new visa waiver (assuming the officer lets you in, which they may be suspcious about if you do it too much).

As I experienced it, "too much" is entering a second time in the same year that you've already been in the country for 90 days. American immigration is extremely tough, and they give every appearance of rather not having you in the country. I've heard similar stories from people who made enough (short) business trips in a year to hit 90 days spent total; they were told that they wouldn't be allowed back in a next time in that year. (There are no hard rules for this; it's up to the individual immigration official, and there is no appeal.)

Also, deadmanmoz, the 90 days (from first entry - so those 10 days in Canada are counted as part of the 90) is a rather hard limit. Don't try making it 91 days! (I remember reading stories of people literally having to spend the night in jail for missing their flight on the 90th day, although I can't google up any facts about that, so that might just be an overblown rumor. Still, given the hostility I've seen displayed by US immigration officials, I believe it.)

[ Edit: Edited on Oct 30, 2007, at 12:23 PM by Sander ]

4. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5595 posts) 8y

For those who can read Dutch, there was a dutch couple who were kept in jail for many days after they got stuck in the USA and their visa expired.

Dutch couple

5. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 8y

Quoting Sander

(There are no hard rules for this; it's up to the individual immigration official, and there is no appeal.)

This is the worst part. I have been going down to the US to work, with appropriate NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) work permits for the last 10 years or so. Every year my work permit expires, and every year I go in and get a new one. And you never know when one guy will just say, "that's enough, you aren't allowed in the country."