VWP for transit purposes... any possibility of extension?
Replies: 28 - Last Post: Mar 6, 2013 11:16 PM Last Post By: jbinternational
Mar 2, 2013 7:28 AM
15max, your "30 day limit" is a guess, and even you admit that.
The Canberra link indicates people with visas for Canada and Mexico who spend may need US visas:
It's ridiculous to say a "30+ day" stay is meaningful, while the embassy states a 5 or 12 month stay is not.
I'm not saying it's impossible to be let back in, just that it's not wise to suggest relying on official discretion. Follow the rules set forth.
The easiest thing, and most reliable, is to do is to take a quick trip south.
Mar 2, 2013 7:41 AM
16The purpose of including stays in Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean that are sandwiched between entries to the US was to stop people gaming the VWP by staying almost 90 days, leaving the US for a few days and then coming back for another 90 days; the rules do not take into account situations where it is plainly obvious that people are not trying to game the VWP, such as the OP where a 2 hour transit in SF followed by 6 months in Mexico means that according to the VWP rules he does not qualify to reenter the US, even for another short transit. Better drafted rules would have considered the proportion of time in the US versus the proportion of time in Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, but you have to deal with the rules as they are. I would think that there is a good chance that the OP would be allowed to reenter the US for a short transit on the way home but it is not a certainty. The big problem for the OP is that the penalty if you are unlucky and get denied entry is that you can no longer use the VWP, ever; so a trip to Guatemala etc that would satisfy the VWP rules might be a wise investment and probably cheaper than applying for a US visa.
Mar 2, 2013 11:27 AM
You could also argue the opposite. The purpose of such a trip south would be to "reset" the 90 days, i.e. to "game" the system. This is exactly the type of situation that is prohibited by the VWP rules. So, in order for this to be the most reliable solution, you'd not only have to go south, you'd have to (if asked) lie about your motives for doing so.
Marka55 is correct. If you take a look at the Canberra site you linked to Bzookaj, it starts with the following:
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows a maximum stay of 90 days stay. If you go to Canada, Mexico or the Caribbean, and while you are there your initial 90-day period of entry expires, you may encounter a problem when you need to come back in to the U.S. to fly home. The terms of the VWP are very clear - it is only to be used for occasional, short visits to the U.S. If the CBP Officer thinks you are trying to "reset" the clock by making a short trip out of the U.S. and re-entering for another 90-day period, you can be denied entry. (If that happens, you will have to obtain a visa for any future travel to the U.S.) In order to be re-admitted to the U.S. shortly after a previous admission expired, you will have to convince a CBP Officer that you are not trying to "game" the system.
Note the usage of the word "may" and the focus on not gaming the system. How can anyone possibly argue that OP is gaming the system and trying to make his stays in the US anything but "occasional, short visits"? No, it won't happen.
Like Marka55 says, and like I've been saying here for years, the rules are written the way they are to prevent loopholes and abuse of the system. The reason the Canberra embassy recommends exchange students going to Canada to apply for a US visa (note again the wording "may be required", not "is required") is presumably that such students often travel back and forth across the US border doing excursions to Seattle, Niagara Falls, Boston, etc, making the situation fuzzy. Having a US visa here simplifies.
Mar 2, 2013 3:24 PM
From a moderator on another thread:
You are using anecdotes to "prove" your "presumptions."
I quote the embassies.
And some civility in your responses would be appreciated (e.g. not insulting us or including horribly tacky "proof" lines).
Mar 3, 2013 2:00 AM
Mar 3, 2013 6:08 AM
There is a clause about 30 days for the B2, but nothing for the VWP.
Even max admits this:
Anyway, it's time to stop beating the dead horse. The OP hasn't even come back.
Mar 3, 2013 8:56 AM
21bzookaj, max, ian et al
Thank you for your insights. No dead horse here; I've been constantly hovering over the thread being alternately reassured and then kicking myself over the error I made in not applying for the visa in the first place.
I haven't replied because my situation seems to be understood, and I've already started reading between the lines and behind the vague terminology trying to convince myself. No good I know.
But as an update, here is a cut and paste of the reply from http://www.ustraveldocs.com/nz/ to whom I wrote because the US embassy in NZ does not seem to have a contact email:
Thank you for writing to the U.S. Visa Service Desk.
We understand that you would like to know whether your ESTA can be reissued upon re entry during your transit through the U.S after six months in Mexico.
With regards to your concern, please note that If you transit the United States under the VWP, to Canada, Mexico, or a nearby island you will be generally readmitted to the United States under the VWP for the remainder of the original 90 days granted upon your initial arrival in the United States. Therefore, the length of your complete trip must be 90 days or less. Hence you would have to depart from Mexico 90 days or before in order to maintain your status on ESTA. If you over stay for more than 90 days then you will not be able to re enter the U.S or transit through the U.S on a Visa Waiver Program as the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection Immigration Officer at the port of entry may restrict your entry to the U.S.
Please note that you will not be able to re apply for an ESTA to re enter the U.S. after six months of your stay in the U.S. In this scenario, you will have to apply for a U.S. visa in order to enter or transit through the U.S again.
Please visit the web link given below for more information:
Please feel free to contact us again if you have any further queries. You can also visit our website http://www.ustraveldocs.com/au/ for more information.
U.S. Visa Service Desk
Mar 3, 2013 1:39 PM
22We understand that you would like to know whether your ESTA can be reissued upon re entry during your transit through the U.S after six months in Mexico.
Not sure about the quality of the advice. The ESTA isn't "re-issued" as part of a particular entry or re-entry event - it is issued for two years online to allow (multiple) entry under the VWP, and is independent of the VWP and the issue of visas. But outside of that, the rest of the document seems pretty clear.
Mad Max however holds the view that there is a lot of wriggle room - and not just at the whim of a particular immigration officer, but with discretion being part of official policy - meaningful travel to Mexico, Canada, etc, will be considered in order to allow re-entry into the US, and not treated in a draconian manner as a breach of the 90 days.
Who can say?
Mar 3, 2013 3:00 PM
23#21. Ah, that is a problem. "Ustraveldocs" is not a source backed by the government. Their website ends in .com, not .gov. It's a private outsourcing company. And as such, information they give tend to err on the cautious side ("better safe than sorry" - I say this having dealt with these visa outsourcing companies in the past!!). As Ian points out, the quality of that reply is beyond rubbish unfortunately; the author is unable to differentiate between ESTA and VWP. Also, look at this part: With regards to your concern, please note that If you transit... Why is the letter i upper case in the word if ? I'll tell you why. Because that part was copied and pasted from some pre-defined generic answer they have. Your question was probably not even read through properly! Who knows, you could be dealing with an intern fresh out of school?
Furthermore, if that answer was accurate, you would currently (or at least very soon) be classified as an overstayer and would not be able to travel to the US on the VWP ever again. I call B.S. on that one. "Dayb", if you wouldn't mind, could you please follow up with them and check? I'm very curious to hear what they'd say.
No idea what the word woofy means, that must be something in Australian. Not even the dictionary brings any clarity. I am going to assume that it is synonymous to certain ?
Mar 3, 2013 4:13 PM
Mar 3, 2013 7:08 PM
25While I agree with max regarding the website, that you should be looking to official sources rather than third-party, the response essentially repeats what I have been quoting from the State Department. Max simply disagrees with that position.
Buy a cheap ticket to Central America and enjoy a weekend. There are some really nice places down there.
Rumor has it that you could also apply for a visa in Mexico, though their website indicates you can't.
Btw, the reason I keep suggesting you head south is because of this from that Canberra embassy website:
Mar 6, 2013 5:50 PM
26Ok, very funny. The official advice on this board for these matters is to check the latest information with US embassies and consulates. I just spent three days researching the question OP describes in great detail, by talking to several US consulates AND CBP officers (who in fact are more reliable than the embassies/consulates since CBP are the ones setting the rules and letting you in, not the embassy -- besides you will find that the embassy/consulate often refers you to the CBP anyway).
My research showed that the OP with very high probability can perform his trip as planned without having to apply for a US visa. This was confirmed by every single consulate/CBP officer (with the exception of the private visa outsourcing company who told both me and the OP that he needed a visa, and when I pushed them, said that I needed to talk to CBP). My information was further backed up by an official, public document, published by the CBP.
So, why was this carefully researched and helpful post removed?
Mar 6, 2013 8:50 PM
Mar 6, 2013 11:16 PM
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