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Repeated visits to US on the Visa Waiver Program

Repeated visits to US on the Visa Waiver Program

Old Jan 29th 2012, 10:36 pm
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Default Repeated visits to US on the Visa Waiver Program

Hi there,

I'm moving to Boston next week from the UK, forcing me and my gf to try the whole long distance relationship thing. She's Swedish, meaning she can visit for up to 90 days via the Visa Waiver Program, but we were wondering what the rules / conventions are regarding repeated visits.

I'd have thought that there would be a rule in place to stop people overusing the VWP (e.g.going to the US for 3 months, returning home for a week, then going back to the US for another 3 months, etc.), but I can't find anything concrete that forbids this.

The closest I can find is the No Frequent Visits section, on this page on an unofficial website:
http://www.immihelp.com/visa-waiver-...trictions.html

"There is no minimum period requirement to stay abroad before attempting to enter again using the VWP. You can enter as many times as you wish. However, that does not mean you can stay in the US the majority of the time. There should be a reasonable amount of time between visits so that the CBP office at the port of entry does not think you're trying to live here."
Can anyone confirm that this is true, and also give an indication as to what is considered a "reasonable aount of time between visits"?
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Old Jan 30th 2012, 12:22 am
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Default Re: Repeated visits to US on the Visa Waiver Program

Welcome to BE. The general rule of thumb seems to be that you spend as long outside the US as you've spent visiting. ie 3 months in...3 months out. Even then if it's done too often the Immigration Officer may think there is intent to live here.
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Old Jan 30th 2012, 12:29 am
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Default Re: Repeated visits to US on the Visa Waiver Program

Originally Posted by essell View Post
Can anyone confirm that this is true, and also give an indication as to what is considered a "reasonable aount of time between visits"?
Yes, it is true.

Ultimately a "reasonable amount of time between visits" is whatever the CBP officer at the port of entry happens to think is "reasonable" ...
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Old Jan 30th 2012, 12:57 pm
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Default Re: Repeated visits to US on the Visa Waiver Program

Originally Posted by essell View Post
I can't find anything concrete that forbids this.
The reason you can't find anything, is because there is no such rule that forbids it.


Can anyone confirm that this is true, and also give an indication as to what is considered a "reasonable aount of time between visits"?
Reasonable, is what what the CBP officer thinks is reasonable... and that'll change depending on what day of the week it is, what he had for breakfast, or where he was able to park that morning.

FWIW, I wouldn't try: "... going to the US for 3 months, returning home for a week, then going back to the US for another 3 months, etc."

Ian
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Old Jan 30th 2012, 2:02 pm
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Default Re: Repeated visits to US on the Visa Waiver Program

Originally Posted by essell View Post
I'd have thought that there would be a rule in place to stop people overusing the VWP (e.g.going to the US for 3 months, returning home for a week, then going back to the US for another 3 months, etc.), but I can't find anything concrete that forbids this.
Well, it'll work perfectly right up to the point at which it fails horribly.

I think the Schengen region does have an explicit bound on time spent using their VWP-equivalent (no more than 90 days in any 6-month period, or something like that) which doesn't seem unreasonable as a policy. However, the large amount of discretion given to CBP can actually work to your advantage, provided you (or rather your girlfriend) can be sufficiently convincing at the border. This can be a rather nerve-wracking experience, unfortunately.
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Old Jan 31st 2012, 12:29 am
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Default Re: Repeated visits to US on the Visa Waiver Program

Well, here´s some advice from a Swede, for what it´s worth...
Your Swedish GF would be wise not to underestimate the rather sweeping personal powers vested in each individual POE CBP agent.
As someone else here mentioned, if a certain POE CBP officer has had a bad day for whatever reason, he/she at worst can make life very difficult for your visiting GF should he/she so decide.

Basically, repeated visits (particularly longer stays) with littel time in between are likely to be frowned upon and regarded as "suspicious" from a CBP point of view.
There´s a general thumb of rule saying that one should spend as much time out of the US as inside the US. I would say that one should spend considerably more time outside of the US than inside the US in order not to be deemed an immigration risk by the CBP agents at the US POE.
Having to endure a secondary "grilling" at the POE is not much fun and at worst your GF might end up being put on the next flight back home if considered to be visiting too often with a view to a possible immigartion intent.
Also, without wishing to seem too alarming, in such a situation there is a risk that your GF might have to spend the night in custody courtesy of the CBP should there be no available flight to her home country until the next morning.

To sum it all up: Be careful, very careful not to visit too often, for too long and with too little time in between the journeys to the US.

Best of luck!
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Old Feb 1st 2012, 12:12 pm
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Default Re: Repeated visits to US on the Visa Waiver Program

Originally Posted by ian-mstm View Post
FWIW, I wouldn't try: "... going to the US for 3 months, returning home for a week, then going back to the US for another 3 months, etc."

Ian
I wouldn't try this more than once without a lengthy stay out of the US, but it can be done.

I, and a number of my colleagues, have done this. I've not personally heard of anyone being sent back the first time they try this (though I am sure it has occurred), but secondary questioning is common. Don't leave it until the final day you're allowed to stay before leaving.

You should always carry evidence of your roots and links in your home nation (job, home ownership etc)
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