Travelling on ESTA

Old Apr 2nd 2021, 4:26 pm
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Default Travelling on ESTA

Hey all, new to the forum specifically to ask this advice as now concerned about a potential overstay.

I arrived in USA from Antigua on 29/01 (flew from London to Antigua on 15/01) and have a flight back to London booked for April 12th. I was now planning on moving this flight to July and having a two week holiday in either Bahamas or Dominican Republic before coming back to USA.

I was, until today, assuming that would mean I had another 90 days in the USA if I did that but am now informed it doesn't count and I will still need to leave the US to go back to England in the 90 days since January 29th.

All advice and help much appreciated.
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Old Apr 2nd 2021, 5:08 pm
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Default Re: Travelling on ESTA

That’s correct - a short hop to a neighboring country (Mexico, Canada, Caribbean nations) does not re-set the clock and grant you another 90 days. Your plan will not work.

Are you retired? If so, you might want to consider applying for a B-2 if you have so much time on your hands to travel. That would potentially get you longer periods of stay here as a tourist (up to 180 days a time) and you wouldn’t be caught out with the neighboring countries issue. B-2s are not common for VWP eligible folks (as the US believes 90 days is more than sufficient) but where they are approved they are typically for retired people who can afford to spend so much time on holiday.
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Old Apr 2nd 2021, 5:14 pm
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Default Re: Travelling on ESTA

Originally Posted by steph0scope View Post
That’s correct - a short hop to a neighboring country (Mexico, Canada, Caribbean nations) does not re-set the clock and grant you another 90 days. Your plan will not work.

Are you retired? If so, you might want to consider applying for a B-2 if you have so much time on your hands to travel. That would potentially get you longer periods of stay here as a tourist (up to 180 days a time) and you wouldn’t be caught out with the neighboring countries issue. B-2s are not common for VWP eligible folks (as the US believes 90 days is more than sufficient) but where they are approved they are typically for retired people who can afford to spend so much time on holiday.
Damn, glad I found out before I moved my London flight!

I'm not retired no but am not working at the moment either so spending time away from UK and it's lockdown. I can go to Costa Rica it seems but not sure what that's like there.

Last edited by Gecksy; Apr 2nd 2021 at 6:00 pm.
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Old Apr 2nd 2021, 5:39 pm
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Default Re: Travelling on ESTA

Originally Posted by Gecksy View Post
Damn, glad I found out before I loved my London flight!

I'm not retired no but am not working at the moment either so spending time away from UK and it's lockdown. I can go to Costa Rica it seems but not sure what that's like there.
It's risky wherever you go, the general advice is always to stay out of the US for longer than you were in it before trying to return, to minimise the risk of being refused entry. So arriving in January and not having a flight to your home country until July could be a red flag to the immi officer when you try and return after such a short time.
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Old Apr 2nd 2021, 5:42 pm
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Default Re: Travelling on ESTA

Trying to do back to back trips (or even trips with a couple of months inbetween) to the US can get you refused entry.

Being of working age the US officials might assume you are working illegally in order to fund your frequent trips.

Rule of thumb is 90 days in the US and then at least 6 months out.
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Old Apr 2nd 2021, 5:59 pm
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Default Re: Travelling on ESTA

It’s not the location where you go between trips that’s the issue, it’s the amount of time you are spending here and how quickly you are returning that will cause the problem. Once you get to 180
days here in a year you start to get into the territory of being of concern to the IRS also. It doesn’t matter whether you go to Costa Rica or the UK or Japan. It’s the returning so soon after a 90-day holiday that will be difficult for CBP to accept. Especially for someone who is of working age.
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Old Apr 2nd 2021, 6:21 pm
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Default Re: Travelling on ESTA

Thanks a friend of mine went to Costa Rica for two weeks during his first 90 days and got back in fine with no questions asked, I guess it may depend what side of the bed the CBP officer woke up on!
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Old Apr 2nd 2021, 6:22 pm
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Default Re: Travelling on ESTA

Originally Posted by steph0scope View Post
It’s not the location where you go between trips that’s the issue, it’s the amount of time you are spending here and how quickly you are returning that will cause the problem. Once you get to 180
days here in a year you start to get into the territory of being of concern to the IRS also. It doesn’t matter whether you go to Costa Rica or the UK or Japan. It’s the returning so soon after a 90-day holiday that will be difficult for CBP to accept. Especially for someone who is of working age.
It’s actually worse than that, at least employment to return to counts towards proving home ties. The OP has said they are not working which will not go in their favor if asked. Assuming there is also a special friend here in the US which will also not help the OP’s case if asked.
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Old Apr 2nd 2021, 6:31 pm
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Default Re: Travelling on ESTA

Originally Posted by tht View Post
It’s actually worse than that, at least employment to return to counts towards proving home ties. The OP has said they are not working which will not go in their favor if asked. Assuming there is also a special friend here in the US which will also not help the OP’s case if asked.
I am a company director but with Covid things stopped so I left the UK
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Old Apr 2nd 2021, 6:53 pm
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Default Re: Travelling on ESTA

The question on the mind of the CBP officer will be why you are so determined to spend so much time here. Why here? I get that you are currently not working so you are free to do as you please but why the US? Many states are under restrictions here too and we have hardly been a beacon of hope in terms of dealing with COVID. The reasoning sounds weak if asked “why are you spending so much time here?” and the answer us “to get away from COVID restrictions in the UK”. Isn’t traveling abroad on holiday currently “illegal” in the UK anyway? I thought you had to have a valid reason from a specified approved list to leave the country,

The CBP officer will naturally be suspicious,
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Old Apr 2nd 2021, 7:27 pm
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Default Re: Travelling on ESTA

Originally Posted by steph0scope View Post
The question on the mind of the CBP officer will be why you are so determined to spend so much time here. Why here? I get that you are currently not working so you are free to do as you please but why the US? Many states are under restrictions here too and we have hardly been a beacon of hope in terms of dealing with COVID. The reasoning sounds weak if asked “why are you spending so much time here?” and the answer us “to get away from COVID restrictions in the UK”. Isn’t traveling abroad on holiday currently “illegal” in the UK anyway? I thought you had to have a valid reason from a specified approved list to leave the country,

The CBP officer will naturally be suspicious,
I left the UK in January before it became illegal, as long as you had a negative Covid test you could fly to certain countries.
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Old Apr 2nd 2021, 7:34 pm
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Default Re: Travelling on ESTA

Originally Posted by Gecksy View Post
I am a company director but with Covid things stopped so I left the UK
It costs GBP10-20 to setup a UK Limited company so that is not a big deal in itself.

Again if your saying the company stopped doing business they won’t see that as a home tie.

Or do you mean because of restrictions you were Directing the company from home anyway, so you could essentially work from anywhere?
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Old Apr 2nd 2021, 7:49 pm
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Default Re: Travelling on ESTA

Originally Posted by tht View Post
It costs GBP10-20 to setup a UK Limited company so that is not a big deal in itself.

Again if your saying the company stopped doing business they won’t see that as a home tie.

Or do you mean because of restrictions you were Directing the company from home anyway, so you could essentially work from anywhere?
How will a customs officer know whether the company has stopped doing any business?
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Old Apr 2nd 2021, 8:05 pm
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Default Re: Travelling on ESTA

Originally Posted by Gecksy View Post
How will a customs officer know whether the company has stopped doing any business?
Generally by asking questions, but we have had posters who were refused entry on ESTA/VWP post here who had their electronic devices searched, the one I recall was then made to buy a flight and sent back to the UK (having come from Australia and planning to go on to Canada where they had a working holiday visa a few months later). I believe they also examine social media as well these days.

I can’t find the other thread, but this is a similar story about them searching messages:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...hree-days.html

Last edited by tht; Apr 2nd 2021 at 8:54 pm.
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Old Apr 2nd 2021, 9:42 pm
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Default Re: Travelling on ESTA

Originally Posted by Gecksy View Post
Thanks a friend of mine went to Costa Rica for two weeks during his first 90 days and got back in fine with no questions asked, I guess it may depend what side of the bed the CBP officer woke up on!

In such circumstances I recall that people have been readmitted for the remainder of the 90 days they were initially granted. The clock is not reset.
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