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How long to stay out of the US before re-entering on an ESTA 2023

Leaving the country and immediately returning in order to renew your ESTA is a commonly asked question on community forums and Facebook pages and always receives a wide range of answers. So what is the rule? How long do you have to be outside the US before you can return and where do you have to travel to, to reset your 90 days?

First things first, what are we referring to?

What is the ESTA Visa Waiver Program?

As always, the best advice is to go straight to the source:

ESTA is an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP).

The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is:

… administered by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in consultation with the State Department, [and] permits citizens of 38 countries to travel to the United States for business or tourism for stays of up to 90 days without a visa. In return, those 38 countries must permit U.S. citizens and nationals to travel to their countries for a similar length of time without a visa for business or tourism purposes.

Why are there questions about returning to the US on an ESTA?

The main reason is that the Visa Waiver Program is very strictly for tourism and business (not working in the country but “doing business” in the US from abroad).

These things don’t normally run longer than three months, so when you use up three months and then try to come straight back, some questions get asked.

Like everything with immigration:

Authorization via ESTA does not determine whether a traveler is admissible to the United States. U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers determine admissibility upon travelers’ arrival.

So basically, you need to show the person at the border that you are legitimately still just in the US for tourism or business. This isn’t a trick, you genuinely need to show this. If this is part of some elaborate plan to stay in the US for longer than 90 days at some point, you’re going to have a tough time showing that you’re not planning to stay, and I do not recommend that whatsoever.

Do not overstay, do not even get close.

Where must you travel to in order to before returning on an ESTA to get a new 90 days?

You must leave the whole North American region completely to reset this. You can’t just pop to Canada or Mexico to try and reset the 90-day counter.

In fact, a short trip to Canada, Mexico or nearby islands are included in your 90 days if you attempt to return to the US:

If you are admitted to the United States under the VWP, you may take a short trip to Canada, Mexico, or a nearby island and generally be 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 time of your total stay, including the short trip, must be 90 days or less.

Which countries count to reset my ESTA visa waiver?

You must travel outside of the contiguous territories and adjacent islands to have been considered as “leaving” the United States for the purposes of the ESTA.

“Contiguous Territories” are any country sharing a common boundary with the United States. Canada and Mexico are contiguous to the United States.

“Adjacent Islands” are a more broad category and are as follows (according to

  • Saint Pierre
  • Miquelon
  • The Dominican Republic
  • Haiti
  • Bermuda
  • The Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Jamaica
  • The Windward and Leeward Islands
  • Trinidad
  • Martinique
  • Other British, French, and Netherlands territory or possessions in or bordering on the Caribbean Sea

You can find the original source of this list here in 8 USC 1101.

If it’s not on these lists, it should count to reset your ESTA.

How long must you stay outside the US before you return on an ESTA?

So, ultimately, how long must you stay abroad? There is no hard and fast rule and no set number of days that reset the counter. It all comes down to perception.

If you are in the US for 90 days, leave for 3, then attempt to return, that really doesn’t look right and doesn’t pass the ‘sniff test’.

It would therefore be a good rule to stay abroad longer than you were in the United States, and always have a plan (with printed proof) to leave within 90 days of arriving. This could include flights, accommodation, or other forms of confirmation that you’ve got plans to leave the US within the legal amount of time you are allowed.

It’s also highly recommended not to stay for the full 90 days at a time if you plan to leave and come back because this really looks like you’re trying to max out the ESTA and will raise suspicions.

Act conservatively, be honest, and you’ll be fine!

5 Tips for returning to the US on an ESTA

  1. Don’t stay for the full 90 days on any visit, because staying for the full time and then returning certainly looks like you’re putting down roots or trying to stay longer than you’re allowed;
  2. The general advice is to stay out for longer than you were in. If you’re in for 60 days, then 60 days is a good marker for where you should be aiming. You’ll hear advice both greater and shorter but this is one way to really show that you’re traveling around;
  3. Have travel plans back to your home country within the 90 days at all times;
  4. Have itineraries ready to show your plan for the 90 days (i.e. Sitting in one city and renting an apartment for the full time doesn’t look good for you on your second ESTA to show that you’re there for tourism);
  5. Be honest – This one is a no-brainer. If you have no intentions to outstay your ESTA then you should not have a problem! Put yourself in the officer’s shoes, this isn’t some magic trick. If you look suspicious and your story doesn’t add up, they won’t permit you!

248 thoughts on “How long to stay out of the US before re-entering on an ESTA 2023”

  1. Hi Josh,
    My son went to the US on a B2 Visa to attend a basketball training program. He needs to leave US before 22 March according to his passport. However, he wants to return to finish the training program which will run for another 3 months from March. My question is:
    How long does he need to stay out of the USA before returning on a B2 Visa? Thanks Sam

    1. Hi Samantha! It’s my understanding that there’s no requirement to stay out of the US (like there is on an ESTA). As your son has gone through the process to get a visa, he is permitted to leave and re-enter, but I would make sure he has documented evidence that after 3 months he’ll be leaving again, and his plan, just in case anybody asks any follow-up questions.

      1. Hi Josh,
        Thanks for having this great side to help.

        I’m married to a US citizen and we are currently living in Sweden since couple of years back and are now in a visa spouse process for the I-130. We are in parental leave right now and would love to travel to his hometown for couple of months, 5-6. We were in the states 3 months ago and I traveled with the ESTA. But we only stayed for 2 months. I wonder how we can stay there for more then the 90 days without issues for my visa process. Any suggestions?

        Thank you, Imane

        1. Hey Josh 🙂 thank u for ur help!

          Will I have overstayed if Id stay almost 90 days(VWP) in the States,
          Then 1 month in Mexico,
          Fly 2 Colombia for a few months,
          Return to the States(VWP)
          Before going back to Germany?

          Stay blessed!

          1. YES you will be overstaying if you are in North America for over 90 days. USA and Mexico are both North America, you can only stay a total of 90 days then you must return or go to one of the countries listed above in the article.

      2. Hi Josh, I’ve had an esta for 2 years as a UK citizen, I had a girlfriend in New York so I’d spend 3 months in America and then 3 months in England and back to America for a further 3months etc, on my last trip they almost didn’t let me in due to suspicion I was basically living there, I left America on January 10th 2023, would I be able to re-enter now it’s been 2 months due to it being a new year? Or does my esta not reset on yearly basis

        1. Hi Finn,

          Can I ask how many trips you had done before they almost didn’t let you in? I am doing the same now but between England and San Francisco to stay with my boyfriend, I’ve entered 3 times now with no issues but staring to get nervous that they will question me more next time.

          1. Hello Beth,

            I have the same issue. I’m visiting my boyfriend in Florida. This is my first visit and i’m staying for almost 3 months. Did you have any issues when trying to visit again and how long did you have to wait before returning to the USA? I’m so nervous and worried that they’ll turn me away on my second visit – I’m planning on waiting 3 months before i fly out to see him again – I don’t wan to raise suspicions as i don’t want to live there yet but we cannot go long periods of time without seeing each other. Anyone have any advice? Thank you

        2. Hi Finn,

          If you don’t mind me asking , what questions did they ask you ?
          And did you have a job at the time ?
          If so , how did you prove to them that you were on leave for 6 months in a year?

          As I’m in a similar situation , and actually quiet nervous to travel.

      3. Hey Josh,
        I have had an esta for a year now and I’ve been in the US 3 times. Staying for 3 minth and leaving for 3 month because we applied for my fiance visa and it takes time.
        Now I’m back in Germany but only for 2 weeks, my flight back to the US and after that, to Germany is already booked but now I’m so so scared they won’t let me in to see my fiance

        1. Hey I wanted to ask if you have been also traveling to the USA on esta whilst waiting for your fiancé visa as I will want to apply for a fiancé visa soon

    2. Hey josh hope your well mate. I’m on a esta tourist visa (90 days) and I have plans to go to colombia for a week or so. What happens when I want to return to the US? If they don’t believe that I am heading back home what happens ? Do they let me back in without the extension?

      1. Hey Adam, so I believe Colombia is far enough away as not continuing the counter but they will ask questions if you plan to stay for long. What kind of time are you spending after you try to come back?

        1. Hi Josh, we are planning a big trip from Australia. We plan on getting a esta visa for Canada and doing 1 month there, then doing 90 days in the US. Then we will be going to Finland for 3ish weeks then want to do another 90 days in the US.
          Do you think we will have trouble?
          I will have all the evidence required to prove that we are definitely not trying to live there. Itinerary, accommodation car hire.. We will have return flights to Australia at the end of the 2nd 90 day stint.. Kids will still be enrolled in school and we will still have our house and jobs etc..
          Is what I’m planning possible?

          1. Hi Jenny, it all comes down to presdentation. You SHOULD be fine, just make sure you’re clear that you won’t be working while in the US and it’s just a holiday.

      2. Hi Josh
        My son has gone with Esta from Italy to Canada (through NYC) on September 2nd and now he has to come back to Italy on Dec 14th (Toronto-NYC-Italy).
        But I think he has to push his flight forward to Nov 29-30th or it will be more than 90 days.
        Is it correct?

  2. Hi Josh,

    Would you be able to visit your partner on a B visa for the majority of the permissible 6 months, leave (say Europe – note, I am from Australia), and then return on the ESTA VWP to effectively ‘extend’ the stay out for another 3 months? I know this is a stretch, however, I’ll be on long service leave through 2023 and wish to spend the most amount of time possible on the East Coast with my partner before Australian borders completely open and she can travel there with me.

    Your thoughts would be appreciated.


    1. Hi Ben, you wouldn’t need the ESTA. The B visa is normally issued for 10 years at a time, with stays of up to 180 days each time. In theory what you’re suggesting is not a problem but you are going to want to have proof how you are going to support yourself (without working, as you legally cannot work) and proof that you plan to leave and that you’re not just de facto living there. It all comes down to impressions and it can look a little fishy if you want to spend that much time abroad to a border agent.

      1. Hi Josh,

        I have been in US 85days then wanted to go to the Cayman Islands for three months then UK after. Will staying in the Cayman Islands effect my re-entry if I wanted to return to US at any point

  3. Hi Josh!
    I’ve been hoping to travel to the US from the UK under a B1 visa to do voluntary work for 6 months, but with COVID that’s not been possible.
    The borders are opening in November to allow UK citizens into the US but there seem to be no visa appointments until May 22!
    I’m wondering if I can travel under an ESTA in Jan, fly back for a week in March and then go back…do you think that would work? I would have flights back to the UK at all times and am not trying to stay in the US for longer, just trying to fulfil my plans from pre COVID!

    1. Hi Lucy! I would be very careful. The ESTA is more strict than the B1/B2 visa process so I would potentially speak to a lawyer before doing this. Do you already have a volunteer opportunity lined up with a registered charity or not-for-profit?

    2. I’m from Europe and I visit my mum in USA for 90 days with esta and I went back to Europe for 20 days and I’m planning to go again to spend more time with my mom who is American citizen do u think I’m gonna have a problem ?

        1. I have a home in the USA.
          My first entry after covid was April and I stayed for 4 weeks.
          I then entered on the 28 October and stayed till 25 November ( 28 days)
          I returned 19 December and left 11 Feb (54 days)
          I returned 28 Marc for 3 weeks and the immigration officer told me if he counted my days I would exceed my annual allowance and I must apply for a Bvisa.
          He told me I am only entitled to stay 90 days in a year.
          Having had the house 10 years I have never encountered this with immigration. Can you clarify the rules as I leave for periods of over 3 weeks in most cases and we only use the house from October to May we do not come for the summer months. The longest I have stayed is 88 days in 2012 but I visited the USA on 3 other occasions that year with nothing said by immigration.

          Can I visit on more than one occasion or is it a total of 90 days?
          Is it a rolling total if so does it start on the first day I enter for 12 months or is it a calendar year?

          1. Same thing just happened to me … I think they are wrong but worried now because he said he has flagged me

      1. Hi Jo, how did it go? I am in the same situation at the moment. I have just stayed for 90 days in the US, came back to Europe and planning to go back in 20 days.

  4. Hey Josh,

    I am about to finish my j-1 program and right now I am traveling around usa during my grace period. I also have my esta visa to activate but I need to leave the country. I would love to travel more in USA in that case use my Etsa. I have my job offer in Kanada which starts in mid November.
    Can I leave only for a few days to Mexico and then come back to usa?

    1. To clarify, the ESTA is not a visa, it’s part of the visa-waiver program, so you need to be careful on that status. Generally traveling to somewhere else North America is not enough, including Mexico and Canada. It comes down to how it looks, but you may want to speak to a lawyer attached to your J1 to make sure what you’re proposing to do is ok.

  5. Hi Josh,
    On August, I spent 15days out from Schengen Area and then 1 week with my partner in US(no more days off work).
    Now I will come back to him and stay about 2 months. I travel on Esta, because we don’t plan to get married now (so no K1). Could I have problems with the officer?

  6. Hi Josh,
    I’m going to the US for a ski season and travelling back to the uk for a week to reset my insurance as that only covers a 60 days trip to the US. When I return to the US will my ESTA only cover another 30 days in the country or will it be more than that?
    Thanks, Jay.

    1. Hi Jay, if you leave North America (and surrounding islands) completely, your ESTA should allow re-entry of up to 90 days again. That being said, spending time then leaving and returning can flag issues with immigration when you try to re-enter so be sure to have a plan and proof that you plan to leave (and support yourself while you’re here).

      1. Hi Josh
        The plan or proof that your second entry after a 90 days period can be the case that you settling a new business in the US and you need more time ?
        Many thanks

    2. Hi Josh. My daughter recently travelled from Australia to Los Angeles on an ESTA VWP, to see her boyfriend. She has a return ticket for 90 days . She was hoping to extend her time there, but saw that it isn’t possible to extend a Visa Waiver.
      Is there any way she can get around this?

      1. No sorry, there’s not. She needs to leave and return (and not too quickly per this article).

        Also if she’s planning on staying the full 90 days she needs to be really careful because 1 hour of 90 days and she may not be able to return as a penalty (or ever on an ESTA).

        1. Hello,
          I am going to do camp america on a j1 visa which expires in September and then I am wanting to go stay with my brother in America after this visa ends. How long do I need to leave America for before re-entering on an ESTA? Would I be able to go to Canada for this time or would I need to leave North America?


          1. Hi Beth, did you ever get an answer for this? how did this go? i am planning on a very similar thing to travel canada once my J1 expires and then re-enter usa on my esta! 🙂

    3. Hello,
      I was currently in America travelling the West cost for about 2 and a half months from march to mid May, I visited Hawaii and loved it and have decided I want to travel it a bit more so was hoping to go back November for maybe a month, do you think this will work on an esta

      1. Hello Josh,

        My husband and I entered the US (at different dates) with ESTA, then travelled to Mexico where he has been longer than the 90 period but we are not planning to go back to the US until end of year as we are continuing our travels towards Central America! Does this mean he has broken the 90 day permit?

      2. Hi Josh
        Thanks for this informative page.
        I have a 30 day trip planned where I’m basically just passing through New York for about 4 days then down to Colombia for 3 weeks then a couple days in Miami, 4 days in Mexico, 2 days in LA then back to Sydney.
        Cumulatively, it’s not long in US and it’s only spread over a 30 days so I’m at no risk of overstaying, even counting short time in Mexico. But I’m not clear if I need to reapply for a separate visa waiver when I reenter from Colombia since it is not a contiguous territory. Or does the original visa waiver cover for 90 days from start regardless of which other countries I visit in between?

  7. Hi Josh, thank you so much for this article, it’s very useful!
    We have a quick question more. We are a couple of European citizens having a regular active ESTA. On early October we entered the US flying in from Mexico, as we tried entering via land border with our motorcycles, but it was still closed.
    We are planning staying in the US till early November, then we will fly back to Mexico to enter via land border on the 8th of November, as soon as it opens again.
    Then we’re planning to stay one month and a half, so the total won’t exceed the 90 days period.
    Do you think it will be fine and smooth and there won’t be any issue at the immigration since we are going out and then re entering within the 90 days?
    Thank you very much for your help!

    1. Hi Anna,

      Thanks so much for the kind words! So there’s no real requirement, as you’ve seen, but you’re going to want to have some documentation about exactly when you’re leaving, proof of flights etc, proof of how you will support yourself. It’s not a deal breaker, but you might be held up!

      1. Hi josh wanted to ask if I was to return back to uk within 90days and return back after two weeks due to a family function on esta visa will I be able to do so without a issue ? Obviously the tickets will be booked for return too within 90days

        1. Hey Josh
          I visited my wife in the US form mid May until end of July. I was in the US for a total of 77 Days. I do have a flight ticket for the 2nd of September to go back to the states for another 88 days until the end of November to spend our first wedding day, my birthday and thanksgiving with my wife. The timeframe until i reenter is 38 days. So i was in country for 77 and out of country for 38 before i will reenter again. I am traveling with an ESTA visa. My flight from the US back to Europe will be November 28th. Do you think i will get any trouble going back into the country September 2nd ?

          I really appreciate you and im hoping for an answer.
          Thank you so much in advance

  8. Hey, I hope you are well.
    I was hoping if you would know this, really appreciate your help
    I am currently in the US on an ESTA (visa waiver programme) allowing me up to 90 days.
    My. 90 days will run out November 28th.
    I am planning to fly to Mexico on Nov 2nd and hopefully stay until April (167 days)
    I don’t know if my 90 days in the US include my trip to Mexico now?
    Like do I have to leave Mexico before Nov 28 as that is when my Visa waiver 90 day limit runs out..
    I want to stay in Mexico until April 2022 and then I will be returning to the UK (back home)
    I don’t intend to return to USA..

    will I be given a fresh set of days in Mexico at the border control ?
    I will be contacting the embassy as well but am hoping if you would know the answer!
    Appreciate your time!

    1. Hi Mona, yes I believe you will be fine to visit Mexico as long as you want (within these guidelines from Mexico –

      The timer only relates to you trying to return to the US within that time. So if you tried to return to the US it might be more of an issue, but if you travel on from Mexico back to the UK, you should be fine!

      1. Hello Josh!

        My partner arrived here in TX last Nov. 12, 2021. originally her flight back to Norway will be on Feb 8, 2022. but I told her to rebooked her flight and make it exactly 90 days of stay in the US. the US customs already emailed her and remind her of remaining stay. shall we appeal to the US customs that her flight was rebooked to make it exactly 90 days? please give some advice thanks!

  9. If I leave to Costa Rica for 1 week for a training camp, then fly back to the USA, will my ESTA 90 period restart?

    I don’t plan on doing another 90-day restart after this but I have to stay longer than my original 90days as my flight is booked in January back to Australia (where I’m from).

  10. Hi Josh,
    I am planning to visit my husband in the US with ESTA and stay for 80 days and return back to my home country (Germany). Can I stay for 2 weeks in Germany and return back to the US for another 70-80 days?

    1. Hi Ayd, as this article says it’s not a hard and fast rule. If you were going to do that you would want to carry proof of your flights out, how you will support yourself, and an explanation of what you were doing there. It shouldn’t be a problem if you do actually plan to leave again though.

      1. Hi! I am planning to visit Miami this month for 6 days to spend my daughter’s birthday. Then come back to Ecuador then planning to go to Boston next month for 9 days . I have already been to Boston twice this year February and April. Do you think it will be problem going to USA so often? I have ESTA. My each visit is only a week

    2. Hi josh.
      Good for you with your online help!
      So I have a pressing issue.
      I’m having major surgery in USA.
      I’ve applied to Australian embassy (I’m Australian) for the exemption to fly with my 13 year old due to needing major surgery there and having no family to help here. MY surgey os Scheduled for 16 December but now socks nov 8th we have the problem of getting in.
      I need this life saving surgery. What I’ve shown to my embassy is my compelling reasons and esta but have applied dor b1 visa as o may need to stay fpor over 90 days.
      I could go to Costa Rica.
      If my 6 month vida isn’t granted in time
      What do you suggest?

      1. Hi Nicole! I would definitely suggest speaking to an immigration attorney. In this situation, you do not want to enter knowing you might overstay as that can result in serious legal complications.

  11. Hi Josh
    The plan or proof that your second entry after a 90 days period can be the case that you settling a new business in the US and you need more time ?
    Many thanks

    1. Hello Josh!

      My partner arrived here in TX last Nov. 12, 2021. originally her flight back to Norway will be on Feb 8, 2022. but I told her to rebooked her flight and make it exactly 90 days of stay in the US. the US customs already emailed her and remind her of remaining stay. shall we appeal to the US customs that her flight was rebooked to make it exactly 90 days? please give some advice thanks!

  12. HI Josh

    I read your article but if I stay for 90 days what is the minimum amount I need to stay out before returning without risk?

    And what evidence do I need to show upon returning to the US?


      1. Hi Josh, thanks for your hard work doing this post.
        I entered USA and spent about 75 days travelling there, before heading to Mexico for what will be 6 months. (75 days USA + 6 months Mexico)
        I plan to fly home to Australia but will need to transfer through Los Angeles airport. I don’t plan on leaving the airport. Will this be ok do you think?
        I am considering a quick trip to Guatemala for a week or two as well.
        Any advice?
        Thank you

    1. Hi Josh I met someone online who lives in Australia in a few years she wants to move to the USA. How can she move here permanently? Would she have to move back after 90 days.

      1. Hi Nick, great question. “Permanently” is a big word when it comes to immigration. She could visit on an ESTA (up to 90 days), she could visit on a B1/B2 tourist visa (up to 6 months) or she could come on a work visa like an E-3 (up to 2 years). None of these are permanent though. The only permanent option is a green card. This can be done through an employer, through marriage/family, or through the green card lottery. It’s a long shot but she should start by entering the lottery. Unfortunately, it just closed this year but you can search this site for ‘lottery’ for information!

  13. Hey Josh, hope you are well.

    Me (British) and my finance (American) live in the UK, and need to travel back to the US for the next few months (potentially up to 6 months) as her mum is very sick. We plan to work remotely out there, doing our UK jobs whilst staying with her mum.

    My partner can travel back there fine as she is American, however obviously with an ESTA I can only travel there for 90 days. It sounds like from the thread above, that I wouldn’t be able to do there for say 50 days, come back to the UK for a couple of weeks, and then head out there for another say 70 days? Or do you think that would be fine?

    Would it be more suitable to for me to get a B Visa?

    1. Chris, unfortunately, you’ll find a lot of lawyers who will suggest you’re not allowed to live and work in the US, even remotely, on an ESTA. Especially if you stay for that long as you’re getting close to having tax implications. I would definitely get a B visa, but first I would talk to an immigration attorney to make sure you’ve got everything buttoned up!

    2. Hello Josh,
      My husband entered the US back in August on an ESTA. He stayed 89 days then crossed over land into Mexico. He got a stamp from the Mexican authorities when he entered. We’ve been traveling around Mexico, Central America, and some of South America ever since (it’s been 3 months now since we left the states). We plan to head back to the states for about a week in May (from Peru to Los Angeles). Will he have any issues? We’re hoping the US doesn’t think he “overstayed” because we were in Mexico, Central America, etc. And not in any country completely out of North America.
      Thank you for your help!

      1. Hey Melissa, it’s my understanding that you will not be able to re-enter the US because it’s been over 90 days. I don’t thin kit’s considered an overstay though.

  14. Hi Josh. Thanks for this article, it’s been so useful.
    In regards to visiting both Mexico and the USA, obviously if you are in USA and planning to also visit Mexico it needs to be within the 90 day allowance. However, if visiting from the UK, you can enter Mexico for 180 days and USA only 90. Is it possible to spend a couple of months in Mexico before coming to the US and still have 90 days allowance for visiting USA?
    Many thanks, Maddie.

  15. Thanks Josh, great stuff!

    If I spend a month in the USA, then two months in the Caribbean (wishful thinking!) I understand that I would have been seen to be in the USA ESTA zone for 90 days. Attempting to re-enter would look like I’ve basically not left?

    But what happens after 90 days?

    So a month in the USA, then five months in the Caribbean (lottery!). Then back to the USA. I presume I’ve not “over stayed” my esta? would CBP see be as having spent 90 days on my ESTA then another 90 days clear of it- and therefore should be good to enter (all other things being right)?

    1. Hi Dan, so you can’t actually stay beyond 90 days as far as I understand:

      “The regulations are the same as if you entered the United States for a holiday. If you will transit the United States to Mexico, Canada, Bermuda or the islands of the Caribbean the total trip, including both periods of time spent in the United States, Canada/Mexico, Bermuda, or the Caribbean islands cannot exceed 90 days. If it does, you will require a visa, unless you are a legal permanent resident of the country.”

  16. Hi Josh,
    My wife from the Netherlands stayed with me for 64 days this year. All she needed was our wedding certificate and a copy of my passport. She brought a letter from our immigration attorney, as she has a pending I-130, and proof of return etc, but they didn’t ask for that, proof of income, work, or anything else (I imagine they thought as her spouse, I support her financially), as she was visiting primarily as a noncitizen spouse of a US citizen (a special exception in the original Schengen travel ban). It’s been 54 days and she plans to return on day 64, for a planned 3 week trip on her still-valid ESTA. However, with new restrictions on the way, I want her to come earlier, maybe as soon as this weekend. Is this too risky?

    1. Hi Jerry, really good question. It’s a tough one because it really comes down to the officer. It doesn’t really come down to an equal amount of days, it’s a bigger picture approach so it’s just important to make sure that you can show ties to a home country and plans for what you’re doing.

    2. My husband and I have WT esta visas here in the US till early in January…..we are returning for Christmas in UK and had previously thought two weeks was enough gap before returning there ( as our family have just moved out there ) …..but from previous comments it seems that there has to be a
      longer gap…….I can’t see this written anywhere on the esta website….why is this and can you confirm how long before we would be allowed to fly back here from Britain please?

  17. Hi Josh,
    thank you for the great work and your helpful article.

    I am US citizen, my wife is Swiss (we are married). We intend to stay in US for approx. one year (traveling). My wife has applied for the B2 visa at the embassy in Berne, but her interview appointment is not until feb. 2022. She stayed with me in the US for 90 days with her ESTA until the end of November and now traveled to costa rica for 2 weeks. She intends to come to the US for another month with the ESTA and then fly to Switzerland for the interview appointment.

    Do you think this intention could cause problems for the b2 interview or possibly for the entry with the b2 visa in March?

    Thank you for your opinion.
    Best, Steven

    1. Hi Steven, so first things first, the B2 visa has a max period of stay of 6 months but can possibly be extended to one year. That all being said, the officer could also limit it to less than 6 months, so you’ll need to be cautious on that element.

      As for the intent, there should be no issue with already being in the country this year and then re-entering next year as long as there’s valid ties back to her home country and a plan to go back. She’s not allowed to work in the US (for anyone) and she can’t plan to move there.

      You’re likely going to need to make some good plans to ensure that you don’t run afoul of any rules as that’s a very long time to be staying on a tourist visa!

  18. Hello,

    Just to let everyone know that I travelled to Barbados for 14 days prior to entering the USA for 90 days and nothing was said. Obviously I can’t speak for everyone but I was pretty much welcomed with open arms back in August.
    I even received a reminder email 10 days before the ESTA expired to be on my way.
    No issues at the airport when I got my return flight back to the UK.

    I genuinely think as long as you have your return ticket to show the officer at the airport and be honest about your plans (I travelled around 10 states) then you’ll be just fine.

    Thinking of returning in February For another month or so. It takes so darn long to see everything anyway! US is so vast! ?

    1. So you only left the US for 14 days then came back?

      My girlfriend is trying to come back again to vacation after her first 90 days so I am curious. I’m sure she could show flight plans back to her home country

  19. Hey Josh,

    I was planning on hiking the Appalachian Trail next year, but have been unable to accquire a B-2 visa. This is due to all US Consulates in Austalia being closed as a result of Covid. If I was to book the trip as usual but with a week long trip in the middle (travelling to Peru to hike Machu Picchu) would I be allowed access back into America or refused entry (or even be refused entry on initial arrival into America?). I am very hestatant as this will require extra flights to be booked with the risk of needing to cancel them.


  20. Hi Josh! I plan on travelling to the US for 1 week, then on to Costa Rica for a month, then Mexico for 6 weeks, then US for 2 weeks, then back to Mexico for a month… do you think I’ll run into any issues here using the ETSA for the periods in the US?

      1. Hi
        I am Maria
        I am in USA for 85 daya. I am going to canada for 2 daya and I ll comw back.
        I am from europe.
        My daughter had a serius sergury here. She is student.
        I must stay till January.
        What can I do.

  21. Hi Josh, if I have a working permit in Canada (and fly directly there from Australia) what are my options from entering in and out of America?
    Assuming if I am travelling from Canada to America I would need a EStA? How long can I stay in America and can I frequently travel to America on weekends? Options would be great

    1. Hi Susan! It depends on your work permit with Canada, but if it’s a multiple entry permit you should be fine to come over on an ESTA. I’m not sure how it works if you did it a LOT but in general I believe it’s fine.

  22. Hi Josh,

    My partner and I are looking to relocate from Scotland UK to CA. I have family there so will be staying with them for a bit till we are on our feet. Unfortunately as they are not classed as immediate family they cannot sponsor me.

    We were going to look into getting ESTAs to allow us to travel over and look for sponsored employment. Due to work commitments in the UK, we could only stay 2.5 weeks at a time which should not breach the visa?

    Have you got any tips on next steps we could take if sponsored employment is not found? Could a B1-B2 visa be an option to allow us into the country legally for 6 months with the possibility of a year with extension. In this time we would continue to look for sponsored employment.

  23. Hi Josh could you advise what visa I need to apply for to be able to work in USA? (And if I need employment prior to applying for it?).

    Also can you advise what website I go to to apply for the B1/2 Visa as well as the working HA1 I think it is?

    Thank you so much

  24. Hi josh,

    Thank your for your article.
    I am however in a very difficult situation so I was wondering whether you could help me.
    I am from Germany, doing a gap year right now and applied for the Esta as well as the Eta. I stayed in Canada for a month and flew straight down to Hawaii. Entered Hawaii however with my returning flight, which was exactly 90 days later so I stayed for 90 days to visit my boyfriend who is doing a semester abroad rn. I flew back exactly on the 90th day and now am staying in Vancouver again for 12 days to visit my old host family. My plan is to fly back to Hawaii for two weeks and then go completely back to Germany since my university starts soon.

    First, do I over stay the 90 days now since I’m staying in Canada again even tho I left the US after 90 days?
    And second, if I show proof of leaving Hawaii again after two weeks to go back home, will I be allowed to enter again since there is no official number of days u are suppose to stay outside of the country….?

    Best regards!

    1. Hi Elsa, I saw your comment wasn´t answered and just wondered how it worked out for you in the end? Were you able to go to the US again after your short stay in Canada?
      Liebe Grüße, Sofie

  25. Hi Josh,
    Can you pls advise if you can apply for 2 visas at once?
    I am wanting to go to USA from Aus and wondering what is the best option to stay the longest period of time is?

    What is the work visa that you can get to be employed over there? can you advise what website i need to apply for this on and approx time frames?
    Can i get an ESTA as well as apply for working visa?

    1. Hi Susan, you can get an ESTA to just visit the US yes, then apply for a visa later. Look at a B1/B2 visa, then look at the E3 visa if you are from Australia. But you will need a job before you can get an E3!

  26. Hi Josh,
    Thanks for your helpful content!
    I was wondering if you had any idea of what gives the best shot with the immigration agents: 3 stays of 2 months each or 4 stays of 1.5 months each, with an ESTA?

    I want to spend a lot of time in the US to train (I found a unique place for what I do, nothing like that in my country, in Europe). That’s what I explained last time I came (one month stay), but is it considered a valid reason to come and stay that much to the same place?
    Thank you so much!

    1. Honestly I couldn’t say.. If you’re going to be visiting that often, I would seriously consider a B2 visa. That way you have gone through the process and gotten proper authorization!

    2. I I’m jo and I’m in USA to visit my mom who is American citizen.. I’m gonna leave exactly the 90th day and I’m gonna go back to my country in Europe but I was hopping to be able to come to USA after 20 days for another month or two do u think I’m gonna have a problem in the airport??

      1. Staying right until the 90th day is not recommended in case any travel plans fall into trouble. I would try to leave earlier so it’s clear you will be getting out. It’s all up to the agent on the day as to decide what they think you’re doing.

  27. Hi Josh
    I am a UK citizen that recently stayed in the states for 26 days, I am planning on returning for 2 weeks after staying in my home country for 3 weeks.
    Is this sufficient time in my home country?
    If not will proof of my return flight, return coach and travel insurance be enough proof that I will return to my home country.
    I don’t want to lose my ESTA and am willing to delay but would like to go before spring starts.

  28. Hi Josh
    I recently travelled to the US on an ESTA for three weeks, have returned to my home country and after three weeks am planning on visiting the US again for two weeks. Is this likely to cause issues at immigration?

      1. Hi Josh , I have a question and would appreciate your advice.
        I have been in the U.S. for 89 days since 5.January until 4.April – I am planning to apply now for B2 visa in September as I wish to travel around US longer than last time.
        My question is – is it safe after 6 months away from the US when I been on esta to now (in September) to apply for B2 ? I have decent savings to proof my travel supports and also prove of monthly income.
        Thank you for any advice

  29. Hi Josh. My friend is currently visiting the US from Spain and has a flight back to Spain in March 5. He is wanting to visit Guatemala before his departure date. When returning from Guatemala will that reset his US stay for an additional 90 days?

  30. Hi Josh,
    I’m expecting my first baby and my mom is coming to help me. She has now the Waiver visa as the embassy is not providing appointments for tourist visa yet due to covid. We would like for her to stay the 90days, leave for few days to mexico or canada and come back to the USA for around 60 days more. There is no plan for her to live here, is just helping taking care of the baby the first few months. We can have proof of this for the immigration agent. In your experience do you think we might have issues if we go to “Contiguous Territories” even though we can proof that she is not working/planning to stay in the USA?
    Thank you very much for your help on this matter.

  31. Hi Josh

    Thanks for the article. I’m travelling around the world and wanted to spend close to three months going around the US then spend a few weeks in Canada driving from seattle. If I had to fly through a american airport (wasn’t actually staying) to get to my next destination after canada would this be a issue as I would have been in ‘north america’ for over 90 days?

    Also would it be a issue when I arrive in the US if I didn’t have documentation leaving ‘north america’ within the 90 days?

  32. Hi Josh,

    Our family friend’s daughter (23) from Germany would like to take a gap year of sorts to travel in the us, and we’ve agreed to house her and take her under our wing. However I can’t figure out if either the ESTA or B2 visa would work for her? It’s possible this isn’t doable at all? She plans to go home to Germany a few times during that year to visit, but would most likely only stay a few weeks and then come back. Would the ESTA work for that?

  33. Hello Josh,
    My fiancé and I are currently in Brazil and about to fly to the US. He has a german citizenship and I have both, US and german citizenship. We just bought a van in america and are letting it get converted. Sadly we can’t stay in the US while it’s getting converted since it’s too expensive. So we have to fly from Brazil over America to Mexico since there was no better flight connection. We are staying two days in L.A and are continuing to Ensenada, Mexico after. I’ve read your article and I guess that his ESTA will continue while we stay in Mexico (for about a month in an AirBnB) ? Do you know if we’re allowed to cross borders from Mexico to the US a few times since the conversion company is in Arizona and we want to check on the process a couple of times? Would you recommend us telling the PBC that we bought a van and have to cross borders in order to check on it and pick it up?
    Thanks in advance for your reply and thanks for this very helpful article.
    Best regards, Paulina

  34. Hey Josh,
    God I hope you will see this, but I’m sure you’re very busy.
    Basically I’m Swedish and have an ESTA. I’ve traveled and stayed in USA for 90 at a time several times these past 5 years without issues. Always staying away for more than 90 days. But now my step dad is seriously sick and my mom is alone there. I just stayed in USA for 90 days (nov last year to jan this year) but I want to travel back for another 90 days so I can take care of them. Would this be a special case where I could travel back even if it’s only been 1 month since I was there? I will of course travel back to Europe before 90 days are up. They need me now though.
    Thank you

    1. Hey,
      How did it go? Did they let you in the country?
      I was in the US for 87 days last year and now (2,5 months later) I want to enter again for 1,5 months and I am wondering if they let me enter.. I might go to Canada in those 1,5 months and travel there, but my flights into the country and out of the country are from NY (since the airline only flies JFK – Berlin)

  35. Hi Josh,

    I really appreciate the time you have spent answering all our questions! Mine is a little different, as I’m not re-entering with ESTA, only arriving.

    I am planning to enter the US in mid-April with the ESTA. This is purely for travel purposes, I have friends that I am visiting and will be living with in NYC.

    I have also just secured a job as a counselor on a summer camp that will run from June 20th until August 10th. Is it possible to leave the country for a couple of days in June and return using the J-1 visa that the camp is providing for me? I assume you can’t just stay in the US and change from an ESTA to a J-1…

    If it is possible, and since I’m not attempting both journeys with ESTA, would it be possible to leave and return from a “contiguous territory” like Canada?
    I will be leaving for Europe very soon after the summer camp is over.

    Thank you so much, again

    1. Hi Mani, no problem! So you’re correct in assuming that you can’t stay in the country and change over to the J-1 so you would need to leave and re-enter. As long as the intention is for you to only do ESTA things on an ESTA, this shouldn’t be any issue.

      As for the contiguous countries, I’m pretty sure you’ll be fine to do that too because lots of people have traditionally gotten visas from Mexico and Canada in the past!

  36. hey Josh thanks for what you’re doing here that’s amazing and very helpful!
    Im planning of traveling to the US with my partner (She’s US citizen but were not married and not planning to be any time soon ).
    I was looking into the B2 visa but its looks like near impossible to get an interview any time soon , so i’m looking into getting the ESTA visa –
    Our basic plan is to get to US around mid July22 stay for about 60 days and than go to Mexico for 1-2 months after that go back into US for another 1-2 Months and fly to Europe –
    Based on the other comments here- if i have proof of traveling around and also proof of tickets to leave US ther’s no need to be a problem with getting extra 90 days again after coming back from Mexico ?
    And another question related to that – lets say we’re having lots of fun in US and i want to extend my stay for longer whats the Visa type i should look into ? only the spouse visas? or there is a possibility to get a B visa from within the US ?

    Thanks for the help dude its so hard to get help with this sort of stuff for some reason !

    1. Hi Nov,

      Mexico is a contiguous country, so you can’t do this. Your 90 days would continue while you were in Mexico and you would therefore be entering with a plan to stay more than 90 days. I know, it’s weird. You basically need a B1/B2 visa.

      As for the having fun: Be careful because this can’t be your plan when you enter on an ESTA. You also can’t change to another status when you’re on an ESTA. You would need to leave the country (and contiguous countries) to get a new visa and re-enter.

      1. Thanks for the super fast replay !
        I forgot to mention i also hold a Mexican passport (the ESTA will be on my french passport)
        does that change anything ?

  37. Hi Josh,
    My fiancé (green card holder) and I (Taiwanese) want to get married in the US while I’m on ESTA.

    I have visited several times on ESTA before and always left within 1 month, but due to the pandemic and the holiday season, last time I stayed for 89 days (2021/10/16-2022/01/10). 
And this time, I’d be visiting for about 5 weeks in July. We plan to get married on 07/20, then I will fly back to Taiwan with my fiancé without adjusting my status in the US. We will hold another small ceremony with our family (He is Taiwanese too) in Taiwan.

    What would be the best thing to tell CBP this time? I do not want to lie, I’ve always been truthful about visiting my boyfriend and have never been questioned further on this. But I am very worried that this time, if I say visiting my BF and CBP further asking why do you come to the US so often and I answer “to get married”, they will immediately deport me.

  38. Hi Josh

    I’m from the U.K., visited Chicago for 3 weeks over the summer after spending 2 weeks in Mexico, it was just going to be a one off trip (I was in the states from august 13th-31st), but then I ended up meeting someone, hitting it off with them, and so I spent 2 weeks in Canada in October to arrive in Chicago for the beginning November, and I stayed till January 12th, totalling 71 days in the states on that trip.

    I would like to do another trip to see my partner in April, so we can see each other for Easter, this one would only be 2 weeks, I have return flights booked, and I actually have another trip booked to Brussels (flights booked already) from London just days after I arrive back in the U.K. after this trip, so it’s clear I have no intent to stay in the states. The day I fly back to the states I will have been 91 days exactly since I left.

    I understand it’s really all subjective when dealing with the guards at the border, but in your opinion do you think I will face any issues?

    Thank you for this article as well, it’s been a major source of help!!

  39. Hi Josh,

    My mother is on an esta she has been here since Jan 2022 and we plan to visit family in Europe in April for a week and hoping she can come back with me to stay for another couple months. Her ticket to fly back is only valid till early Jul 2022 anyway.

    Do you think she can follow me back to US from the Europe trip till Jul 2022. That should reset her 90days? She will have her return ticket as proof of return.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Uma!
      May I ask if your Mom had any trouble with reentry? My Mom’s travel plans are similar: She wants to visit us for about 75 days, then return to Europe for a week, then come back to see us for another 76 days.
      Thank you for your help.

  40. Hi Josh,

    This article is helpful! May I ask you the following. I need to be in the US for medical reasons but it might even take longer than 180 days, I can’t say at this moment. It could even take 2 years as it will be a long process where I’ll be going through.

    I could go back home after 6 months for a few weeks but I might need to go back to the US again. Do you think it will be a problem if I travel on the same B2 visa the second visit if I have a medical statement from the doctor who is treating me? Or do you think the immigrations will raise their brows?


    1. Hi Renee,

      It’s my understanding that you can extend a B1 visa for another 6 months while in the country with the appropriate requests and permissions but if you’ve got all your medical documentation, proof you can pay for things yourself, and a plan to leave right after, you should be fine!

  41. Hi Josh,

    Sorry here again, thanks for your response. Well I mean, I’ll probably fly up and back in between.
    So I might go for 4 to 6 months first, then go home, then go back for another 4 to 6 months or maybe less… I might even do this a couple of times within a few years.

    So in this case do you think they won’t refuse me? I really can’t risk it because I’ll have a huge problem if I get refused.


  42. Hi Josh,
    I am a Dane going on exchange to USA this August. My F1 or J1 visa will be supplied through the university, but I would like to go on a long road trip 1,5 month before. With F1 or J1 visas I can only travel to the US 1 month before classes start, so can I enter on a ESTA and stay on my F1/J1 visa or would I have to go to Mexico and re-enter. If I was to go to Mexico, do I have to be concerned with anything when crossing the border? Looking forward to hear from you,


    1. Hi Mads, I would love to see Josh answer to your question as I am in the same kind of situation. I will go on exchange to USA mid of August with my J1 VISA but I would like to go on a road trip 1,5 month before classes start. My intention is to enter on a ESTA, then come back in my home country in Europe and then come back to US mid of August with J1 VISA. Is it something possible ?

      1. Thanks so much for replying! I’m not so keen on travelling back to Europe after two weeks, so do you know if it’s okay to enter USA on my visa from Canada? Then I would perhaps go to Canada for two weeks and then enter USA from Canada instead of travelling all the way back to Denmark.

  43. hi josh

    would you be allowed to travel on a ESTA, for 1 month then go straight onto an E3 visa by exiting to one of the neighbouring countries or do we need to exit at all?

    I want to travel before i start work in the US, but the E3 says you can only enter 10 days before your employment start date


    1. You would need to leave the country and adjacent countries and re-enter to start on your E3. It shouldn’t be an issue if you have a clear path forward with evidence of leaving and re-entering and you can assure them that you won’t start work.

  44. Hey Josh. Great article.
    Context: My wife which is American (but lives in Colombia) and is going to the states for a 12 month stay for her MBA studies (from May to May), and me as Colombian-Italian want to visit her as much time as possible. With my ESTA I know there are two restrictions:
    i) no stay longer than 90 days
    ii) no more than 180 days in a year.

    Two questions:
    1. Does this “year” should be considered as rolling year (last 12 months), or does it gets refreshed every calendar year? Or is it absolutely subjective? any recommendation?

    2. If I show evidence that I work at a colombian company and that I am not planning to stay longer that the permited days but because of my wife living in the states i’m trying to maximize the ESTA, is it ok with them, or is this not good looking?

    I was planning on staying about 150 days from May to December, and then around another 150 days from January to December. Colombian Visas and Green Card are both taking to long and her stay is only 12 months.

    Any recommendation?

  45. My now fiance, we have been traveling back and fourth (Italy to US, vice versa) to Seattle where I live and Rome where she lives. On this occasion she chose ESTA, however now she would like to stay longer (last time she stay for 18 days in January). It’s hard going back and fourth, but is it possible for her to apply for B2 visa while currently in the USA on ESTA? (shes been here less than a month) or would she need to fly back to Rome and then apply for B2?

    again, we’re only trying to maximize our days together because traveling to and from is expensive and exhausting…. thank you for your help!

  46. Hi Josh,

    After I spent 85 days in the US with an ESTA I went back to my country for 5 weeks and on my way back to the US I got stopped at the immigration office, I planned to stay again little less than 90 days (again with an ESTA), I’m trying to buy an existing business and I have relatives in the country where to stay while here and money to show I can easily support myself here but the officer didn’t even give a chance to explain myself and show him anything, he assumed I was trying to live here and “forced” me to buy a flight ticket in front of him to leave in 1 month, telling me I was abusing the ESTA, the alternative would’ve be to get kicked out of the country (as he said).

    I’m still planning to begin the process to apply for an E2 Visa but I wanted to know if I really need to leave on the date of the new flight ticket (the one I was forced to purchase), also if I would have problems if I would stay longer and leave with the ticket bought before coming (less than 90 days stay of course) .


    1. Hi Dave, I am in a similar situation, have been to the USA for 82 days and I am planning to go back next month for 7 weeks to finalise and buy the business and then apply for E2 visa, did you get any questions asked on your way back by the immigration ?

  47. Hi Josh.

    I’m travelling to Barbados from the UK via Portugal and Miami. I plan to do a 5 day stopover in Miami in the first week of September, then on to Barbados to house-sit for 4 months returning to Miami the first week of January, staying for 1 week flying out to Mexico for 3 weeks and returning to Miami for 1 week before returning back to the UK. Will this be ok with ESTA?

  48. Hi Josh
    I’m planning to visit usa on 20 July my esta expires on 22 July
    Is this ok or does it have to be in date for the whole time that I am there

  49. Hi Josh,
    I was in the USA last year from July 21 > Feb 22 on a B1/2 Travel Visa. I extended on shore, and left within the times that was granted to me (we were going on a cruise hence the extension). I have been home (Australia) since Feb, however want to return for a friends wedding for 2 weeks in June this year. Do I need to reapply, or alternatively take out an ETSA visa or anything on those terms to be able to go back in?

  50. Hi Josh,

    I have just spent 2.5 months in the USA on an ESTA. I am interested in now applying for a B2 visa, so I can return for a longer visit. Is there any issues in applying for the B2 visa after being on an ESTA?

    I would have proof of funds to sustain the trip, a return ticket, documents to show that I have ties to my home country and will return at the end of the trip to my home country.

    Also is there any issues for applying for the B2 visa in not my home country (as there are absurdly long wait times at the moment).


  51. Hi Josh

    My mother (UK passport) is visiting relatives in the USA, she is 71yo and will be there for around 83 days. She might want to extend her stay for another couple of months, but she is not in the best shape to travel back to the UK and back to the USA again. What is the best way to extend her stay without adding any travel or the least amount of travel.

  52. Hi,

    My gf is currently visiting me from Finland on an ESTA. She’ll be here for about 75 days before leaving back to her country. She plans on coming back to visit me as soon as possible. You think she’ll have any issues if she returns within a month or 2 just to visit again? Any general advice on how she can eventually move here?

    1. Hi Alex, so you need to be really careful because the hint at trying to move (when entering on an ESTA) is grounds to reject them all together. I think if she stayed 75 and then came back within a month, she’d have some issues. If she went home for 2 months she might be alright, but it really is very subjective and she has to prove she has no intention to overstay and no migrant intent.

  53. Hi Josh!

    First of all thank you very much for posting this, it was very insightful. My parents live in Hungary and my mom would like to come visit and stay with us (my wife, our newborn and I) for a couple months on ESTA. She hasn’t been here since 2015. She wants to come back a few times to stay as much as she can so she can spend time with her first grandchild and at the same make my wife and I’s life easier while we have to return to work from paternity leave. Do you think this would be an issue with immigration as she isn’t coming for tourism, and do you think they would perceive it as she wants to stay here because her son and grandchild is living here? She is planning on coming around Christmas with my dad and brother but only she would stay about 70-80 days or so, my brother and dad will only stay for 2 weeks max. Then my mom would go back to Hungary and stay 2-3 months and return again to us.

  54. Hi Josh!
    Thanks a lot for your work!! I’m a bit preoccupied because I have a Luxemburg passeport and I travelled to the US in October 2021 under the ESTA program. I stayed only 22 days, and then I went straight to Mexico because I was renting a house there. I did not come back to Europe until March 15th 2022. Now I’m in Mexico again and want to travel again to the US, from Mexico, for 16 days only in June. Does this mean I overstayed my ESTA even if I didn’t come back to the US after my stay in Mexico? Or did the fact I did came back to Europe in march helps to be able to travel back to the US? I’m very confused by all this, because overall I only stayed 3 weeks in total in the US and only want to do a short trip for 15 days in June.

  55. Hi Josh!
    Thanks a lot for your work!! I’m a bit preoccupied because I have a Luxemburg passeport and I travelled to the US in October 2021 under the ESTA program. I stayed only 22 days, and then I went straight to Mexico because I was renting a house there. I did not come back to Europe until March 15th 2022. Now I’m in Mexico again and want to travel again to the US, from Mexico, for 16 days only in June. Does this mean I overstayed my ESTA even if I didn’t come back to the US after my stay in Mexico? Or did the fact I did came back to Europe in march helps to be able to travel back to the US? I’m very confused by all this, because overall I only stayed 3 weeks in total in the US and only want to do a short trip for 15 days in June.

  56. Hi Josh!

    My mom came and stayed with us on a B-2 visa for 6 months. I am a green card holder and my husband is a citizen. She left US on March 28th this year. Can she come back on June 6th for at least 3 months or does she have to wait 6 months and come back end of September?

    many thanks!

  57. My girl is British and I am a TPS holder. We plan to live in the states. I do not think that she can stay in America and I can not give her TPS ability. What shall we do?

  58. Pingback: can i come back to the us if i overstayed - portalall

  59. Hi Josh, My wife is travelling to the US (from Australia) on a F1 visa, I currently have an interview for an F2 visa, but not until 6 months after she starts her study. My current thought is to travel on an ESTA for 3 months and then return to Australia and await my F2 appointment date (and hopefully obtain an earlier appointment in the meantime). If I apply for an ESTA, will that cancel out my F2 application / appointment?


  60. Hi Josh . I was stupid I went to Mexico from Los Angeles on b1 and came back 5 days later on B2, so the officer gave me hard time but eventually they permitted me 1 month stay on B2 . (06/26/2022–07/25/2022) my concern is : Do I have to go back to my home country? And if so , after how long could I come back to US again ? However it is really difficult now to get a ticket to China with a month due to the shortage flight schedule, so in this situation,can I go to other countries like Serbia in Europe ? And after say one month stay there will I get hard time to re enter US again ? Or, can I extend my B2 now ? I know I put myself in a very stupid situation and time is ticking . I do need your professional help and am so looking forward to your replying !

  61. Hey Josh. Great article.

    If I came to the sates for 2 months (June and July), then went back to south America for two months (Aug and Sept), came back to the US 2 months (Oct and Nov), back to South America for other 2 months (Dec and Jan), will it be ok for me to come back to the states for other 3 months?

    in a rolling period of 12 months I will be staying for more than 180 days (about 200), but in any calendar year (2022 or 2023) i will be exceeding the 180 days.

    is this ok or does it looks suspicous? I have proof that I work outside the US, and my wife is in the US studying and will finish after those last three months that I will be visiting

    1. Hi Giorgio, I think I would recommend looking into getting a B1/B2 visa to make this easier on yourself as that third trip especially might start to raise red flags. It’s not a yes or no, but you might have to jump through some extra hoops to do so.

    2. Hi Josh, Firstly, thank you for helping everyone on this forum.
      I am in the process of buying a business in USA, I have visited on ESTA for 28 days in Jan and 81 days from May – Aug this year, I am planning to visit in November for 7-8 weeks to buy the business and I have relevant sums to show in my bank, Also I have few properties in the UK and my family will be living in the UK while I am in the states during my next visit, once I have bought the business I will be applying for the E2 visa and plan to live in USA with family for couple of years to see how it goes, do you think I would have a problem with the immigration for my next visit and if I get denied entry will it affect my application for E2 visa which I am planning to apply early next year.

  62. Thanks for the fascinating article. If I have a tourist visa, which is valid for 6 months, and in addition I have an Esta, can I enter with the Esta after I was previously come to us only with a tourist visa, and it is still valid.
    Thank you very much

  63. I’m a little confused by the whole ETA and ESTA situation that information is no longer going in.

    I have an ETA for Canada. From what I can see I’m able to stay there as a tourist for up to six months. I want to go to the US but B2 appointments are booked out for up to 300 days in my country (same for Canada). I can see there are appointments available in 7 days at the NY embassy.

    Does this mean as soon as I enter the US, I will have three months until I have to leave North America? Is it better to apply for a B2 from another country and wait until it’s approved to then visit the US? I want to do both countries but I don’t want to screw myself over and not be able to visit the US

    1. Hey Nik, sorry what do you mean the NY embassy? There’s no US embassy in the US? As I understand the eTA will get you into Canada and an ESTA should get you into the US. You don’t need a visa (B2) but that would make life easier if you plan to enter and exit more than once.

  64. Hi Josh,

    I transitted to Mexico through LA which started my 90 day stay on my ESTA. I have been in Mexico for nearly 80 out of the 90 days. From my understanding I have to leave Mexico and go somewhere in Central America to avoid overstaying my US esta as Mexico counts towards those 90 days?

    Im hoping you can confirm this is correct or not


  65. Hi Josh,
    I’m so glad I found your page.

    We are an Australian family of four who want to RV around the US again. We have applied (and paid for!) our B1/B2 visa (which enabled us to travel around the US for a year in 2017/2018) only to be told that the earliest time for an interview would be May 2024!

    Our plans were to travel from Jan next year, landing in Canada and spending 3 months there and then crossing over by land border into the USA to RV. Now it looks like the only option is to stay for 90 days and then maybe spend some time in Mexico. I

    Do you know if we can enter the USA on the waiver visa overland from Canada and, if we can do that, if that would still form part of our 90 days waiver stay in the US? Essentially we just want to know if we would still have 90 days to explore America if we arrived from Canada.

    All help gratefully received.

    1. Hey Kat! My understanding is your 90 days doesn’t start until you enter the US. So yep, you’d be fine. You’d spend some time in Canada, enter the US which starts the clock (which keeps running until you leave US/Canada/Mexico for the purposes of re-entering the US)!

  66. Thanks for the article. I was planning to visit the US and Canada next summer, flying into the US and travelling round for 30 days before crossing the border by car to Canada for just over 30 days. I was then hoping to return to the US for another 60 days before I flew out of the region entirely. Do you think this would this be problematic for an ESTA? I would be in the US and Canada for 4 months, but in the US for under 90 days in total, though not consecutively.

  67. Hi Josh,
    first of all, thank you for your website – absolutely amazing job!!!!
    And please, just a quick question – I have ESTA, just spent 87 days in USA and I plan to go back after 2 months – I will have maybe some issues with the CBP Officer, I know 🙂
    But is there a rule, how many days in total I can spend in USA per year? Somewhere I read 180 days max per calendar year, somewhere I read 180 days max during last 365 days….
    Thank you very much for your answer!

  68. Hello, I have pretty bad anxiety about all this and kind of just need some guidance. I went to see my long distance bf for the first time in July i stayed for 29 days and I’ve come back for a month and I’ll be going again in a few weeks for another month over there. Do you think it’s okay that I went for 1 month came home for 1 month and I’m going out again for 1 month (5weeks) ?

    1. It’s really not about the time in and out, it’s what it looks like and your intention. If you can support yourself and it’s clearly just a short term stay, then you should be fine. But if it looks like you’re trying to live in the US with your partner, you won’t be accepted.

      1. Thank you for your response, but how does one make sure it looks like a short term stay? It is, but I’m confused on how I can prove that?

  69. Hi Josh, my question has probably been already addressed somewhere above. Let’s say i use the ESTA from Oct, NOV, DEC 2022…can i re-enter in February 2023? Is time now reset back to 180 days being a new calendar year? I am asking for my daughter, who has no intention to break ANY law, since for her resident permit is processing, but just want to spend as much time is legally allowed AND she has reason to explain her short stay overses before returning, which is her parents being in the US (I am US citizne my wife is alegal resident). Hope the question is clear enough. Thanks.

    1. While there may be a resident permit processing, you can’t “live” in the US on an ESTA. It’s going to come down to explain exactly what’s going on, how she’s supporting herself, and what her plans are. It’s a tough one!

  70. Hi Josh,

    My son is palying ice hockey in USA, he arrived in August for a training camp, tryout etc. He was sucessfull, and one team offered hi contract (junior league – non profi).

    Our problem is that he arrived on ESTA, but now club want him to stay whole seasson. What is your recommendation? is there any chance to manage P- visa, with no need to fly back home ?

    Thanks, Matus

  71. Hello Josh,

    I am an Italian citizen living and working in The Netherlands. I am taking a sabbatical and am planning to come to the USA with an ESTA this December. Mid/end of Feb, I will go to Costa Rica or Panama for ~2 weeks. Afterwards I would like to come back to the USA until end of May. I will have proof available for my return flight to The Netherlands, my registration in The Netherlands, my work contract with proof of sabbatical, bank accounts etc. I need to be back in The Netherlands by end of May.
    Do you think this is okay?

  72. Hello Josh!

    Hope you are well! I have a question: I will go study as an exchange student in Mexico from the Netherlands, and I will enter through the US with an ESTA. Do I need to go to Central America before returning home through the US? Because living in Mexico doesn’t really restart my 90 days with ESTA, does it?

  73. Hi Josh!! I really appreciate your time answering all these questions. I’m currently on a J-1 visa, but planning to move to Mexico for six months or so before travelling back to Aus. I will move here before my J-1 has expired.

    I don’t have any immediate plans to re-enter the U.S, but if I do, will I have any issues with getting a ESTA down the track?

  74. Hello Josh,

    I’m a Swedish student and I visited my girlfriend in the US for 27 days in August on an ESTA. I plan on visiting her again for 74 days on October 25th because I have some time off from university this semester. I will have been out of the US for 53 days. I’m anxious so this time I will have records for the flight itinerary, proof of residence in Sweden, student records, travel insurance, and financial statements showing that I can support myself for my time in the US. Will I be okay?

    Kind regards,

  75. Hi Josh. Prior to my student exchange in Canada that begins on 1 September, I visited the US for a holiday before heading to Canada. I understand that going to Canada counts in the 90-days period. I will be visiting US again for a short road trip a few days after the end of my 90 days period and i wanted to check if I can re-enter using my existing ESTA which expires in 2024?

  76. Hi Josh,
    I am currently waiting for my b2 interview, is it ok to enter the us with my esta for between 60-90 days before coming back home to do my interview and then re entering back around 2 months after my last visit?
    Also if you are declined a b2 visa can you still enter under the esta? Thanks

  77. Hi!
    Your list of which countries to visit to reset isn’t at all clear. You mention Contiguous and Adjacent areas. Is there a difference? Or are all of these countries not valid to reset the esta?
    You just name them, but it’s unclear to me which are actually okay to travel to.
    Thank you!

  78. Hello I am a US citizen and I met my girlfriend here in the US while she was here on a vacation visa for 90 days from the Netherlands well she decided she would like to come stay with me in the USA permanently and we can an will get married she just left this week went back to the Netherlands after her 90 days was up how long before she can return and what would be best approach to get her back here legally on fiancee visa thank you

  79. Hey Josh, thank you so much for the helpful article! I just returned back to Germany from a 9-day trip to the US visiting my boyfriend (US-citizen). I am planning to fly back to the US for another 18 days in three weeks. I initially planned on doing one longer trip, but had to turn it into two shorter stays because of my obligations at home (school/work). I am doing my masters, working part-time and renting an apartment in Germany and I am planning on bringing proof of that for the next trip. I am still worried that the short time inbetween the two trips might cause some issues, especially because I am traveling to visit my boyfriend. Thanks so much in advance!

  80. Hello,
    I’m an exchange student in canada for a semester on ETA, I transited through the US with an ESTA while traveling to canada. Therefore my 90 days period started counting in september. I would like to visit the US in december/january and stay for 15 days then come back to canada for a couple of days and travel back home to Spain with a transit in the US.
    Should I renew my ESTA as the 90 days have been crossed however the validity is for two years.
    I would really appreciate your help.
    Thank you

    1. I have the same problem! I am wondering do the days just not resent during my time in Canada, meaning they would be on hold basically or do the actually keep going, which would mean I would not be able to get into the US again after 90 days (even though I was in Canada the whole time)?

  81. Hi Josh,

    thank you for a helpful article.

    Just by any chance, would you know, if Belize counts for an ESTA renewal or is it still considered as associated territory?

  82. Hi Josh,
    I was wondering if I can visit 2 countries outside of the US back to back. For example, could I spend 60-75 days in Kenya, then go to South Africa to 60-75 days without returning to the US? I want to work from home abroad and I want to travel around Africa without having to go through the hassle of a long return flight.

  83. Hi Josh!

    Very helpful article…

    My friend was in the US last July for a long vacation and stayed there for 90days. Now she plan to return for New Year in the US after 78 days. She will be staying there for three weeks in the US. Can you help if this will have some issues? She just wanted to spend New Year with her friends and do some shopping before going back to her home country.

    Thank you Josh!

  84. Hello Josh!
    My daughters are Japanese and they traveled to the US on December 1st, they stayed for 9 days and then they traveled to Guatemala and they will stay for three months.
    On March 7th they will come back to Japan but they will stop first in the US for two days! Do you think they can enter to the US and reset their 90 days??? I’m wondering because Guatemala is next to Mexico.

  85. Hi Josh.

    We live in Australia and my daughter went to USA last year on ESTA in September for 4 weeks and has been given the opportunity to go back and travel the show circuit. (horses). Can she return on the same ESTA or do we need to reapply? I’m finding it really hard to understand all the requirements so thank you so much for any help you can offer me 🙂

  86. Hi! Thank you so much for helping everyone with this article!
    I was wondering, I live in Mexico, I have a French passport and a mexican passport.
    I was planning on visiting the US for the first time using my french passport and ESTA, I want to stay for 3 weeks, and then return after 1 or 2 months, for another 4 week stay. I also want to come back to the US again after that. But since I live in Mexico I don’t know if I’m able to do that. Do I have to go somewhere else other than mexico to renew my 90 days as it does not count as leaving the country? Because coming back home for me would be MX.
    I was wondering if I would need to travel somewhere else for a month before being able to come back to mexico or the US?

    I’m a little confused and unsure about what I can or can’t do. Or if just proving the duration of my stay and the return plane ticket are enough for me to visit a couple times.

    Thank you in advance, for helping us and for being so nice! Thanks Josh 🙂

  87. Hi Josh,
    Really helpful your post, thanks.

    My girlfriend is ‘moving’ for a year to NY, she’s gonna be working as an intern.

    We would like to be there together, she’s gonna rent an apartment by her name and I think that the only option available for me is the ESTA visa, isn’t it?

    What can I do to stay the maximum time with her in NY?
    How ‘suspicious’ would be to come back 3 times in a year (with a 15 days out of the US between ESTA’s)?
    There’s any possibility of applying for a 1-year visa?

    I also have a non-resident LLC opened by my name in the US, in case that could help or means something…

    Please help me with this because I’m still lost,
    Many Thanks Josh,


  88. Hi Josh,

    Thank you for this very helpful article!

    Do you know if it’s possible to enter the USA from South/Central America as a UK/EU citizen with an approved ESTA?

    So if we start our travels in South/Central America then fly from there into the USA and have a flight home to the UK/EU from USA within 90 days. Or do we have to enter the USA from the country where we applied for our ESTA?

    Many thanks,

  89. Hi josh, me and my husband came out on 1 dec 22 to USA from uk. Couple of days ago we received an email saying we hope your enjoyed your trip your 90 days are up!!!! But we came in on a B2 visa which allows 180 days-border control made an error with our entry 😞 what can we do?? We are here to help my son and daughter in law with newly born twins-now we have to leave when they really need our assistance. Please advise

  90. Hi Josh,
    I’d appreciate if you could help with this..
    I plan on going to the USA in May for 10 days. Within those 10 days I was thinking of flying to the Dominican Republic for 4 days and flying back to USA for 2 days and then flying home to Ireland. Is this possible on the ESTA? I will also be flying back to the USA in July for 2 weeks.
    Many thanks

  91. Hi Josh,

    Thank you for such more the effort you’ve put into answering everyone’s questions.

    I’m potentially moving to New York for work from Australia, and will have employment sponsorship so will likely be able to get a Visa. I am in a de facto relationship, and my partner does not have an employer willing to sponsor them. Are they allowed to seek work while on a B1/B2 visa (and so they will be requesting sponsorship through an E3 or H1B, and have 6 months or so to do so)?

  92. Hi Josh,

    My girlfriend from Australia wants to visit me in America for 3 months this summer and then return for 6 months in the winter. She has applied for the B2 visa and has her interview in May. Should she be worried about being denied the visa and being disqualified from the ESTA? She will explain to officer our plans and provide proof of funds for the trips. However, she is working only casual employment and she doesn’t want to rejected for lacking ties to home country. Is the approval rate high for Australians?

    Thanks for the wonderful article.

  93. Hi Josh,

    I am entering the US on an ESTA on 17 May 2023 and plan to leave on 15 August 2023 which I count as 91 days, my travel agent has said I am within the 90 days limit, do you know if either or both of the arrival date and departure date are calculated within the ESTA 90 days?

    Many thanks in advance


  94. Hi Josh,
    I was in USA last year under b1 visa plus extension, so I stayed in USA for more than 300days during my trip. I was wondering what’s the safe gap for me to be able to return back to USA under b1 visa again. If not is there any other way? Please advise.

  95. Hi Josh,
    Last year I travel to US using b1 tourist visa and during my stay I did an extension, I was there for more than 300days. I was wondering what the safe gap for me to visit US again?
    Hope to hear from you. Thank you.

  96. HI Josh,
    My boyfriend has traveled to the US with an ESTA visa for the past year. He came in a few times, 2 of which he stayed in for 2 months. This last time he came in they took him into questioning and were very tough on him, even took him to a private room. They saw that he was not making any money in the US, and they let him in, although they told him to fix his paperwork and that next time might not be so easy to get in.
    So far this trip, he’s been inside for close to 3 months (in the last 11 months has been more than 180 days). We decided that he should stay out of the US for at least 9 months, but now he read something stating that the total number of days allowed in the US within 12 months is 180 days.
    My question is: if he stays out of the US for 9 months or even a year and then comes back for a month, will he be breaking the esta regulations?
    Thank you!

  97. Hi Josh,

    I’m an Australian citizen and have been dating a girl from the US. I recently stayed in the US for 85 days straight using ESTA. I returned to Australia and in has since been three weeks. I am considering going back to the US within a week for a possible stay of 60 to 80 days.

    If I fly back to the US and present to border control all my contacts in the US and honestly explain my intentions, what is the risk that I end up rejected?

  98. Hi! If I am a Mexican resident can I then re-enter the US on my ESTA? ESTA inquiry

    Last time I entered the US on ESTA was on Feb 1, but my entry stamp was only until March 27. I left on Feb 6 and will enter again on April 6 for 10 days and at the end of May for a friend’s wedding. Why was my stamp for less than the allowed 90 days last time? Is this because I enter Mexico? Could this be an issue next time I try to enter? Should I just mention I am a Mexico resident next time? I have entered Guatemala too since my last US trip but on my Guatemalan passport

  99. Hi! If I am a spanish citizen but Mexican resident (permanent residency in Mexico will be obtained in July) can I then re-enter the US on my ESTA?

    Last time I entered the US on ESTA was on Feb 1, but my entry stamp was only until March 27. I left on Feb 6 and will enter again on April 6 for 10 days and at the end of May for a friend’s wedding. Why was my stamp for less than the allowed 90 days last time? Is this because I enter Mexico? Could this be an issue next time I try to enter? Should I just mention I am a Mexico resident next time? I have entered Guatemala too since my last US trip but on my Guatemalan passport

  100. Hey Josh!
    So I am a British citizen living in Australia.
    My partner is American and living over there.
    I am hoping to be able to visit him on a regular basis, without working.
    I’ll have proof of financial stability for myself so that I do not need to work. I was hoping I’d be able to get an ESTA, stay as long as possible (I understand you advise not staying the full 90 days), either fly back to Aus or the UK for a couple of weeks to visit friends and family and then go back to US on the ESTA.

    Are you suggesting this may not be the best way to go?
    We looked into the K1 visa as an option too so I’m just wondering what is going to be best to do.

    We’ve planned ahead and are planning to get engaged early best year and married shortly thereafter (neither of us wanting a long engagement).
    I guess what I’m asking is, for the tile being, what is our easiest way to be together and not have to do this long distance?

    P.s. also makes more sense for me to visit him as he has a home, a dog and a larger and I guess a more regular income than I do here in Australia.

    Any advice would be incredibly appreciated as we’re over doing this long distance.

    Thank you.

  101. Hi! I just arrived to the US with an ESTA visa. I’m planning to stay for the 3 months since I have time and a lot of friends and places I want to visit. Unfortunately, I just realized I bought my flight one day after the 90 days, so it’s 91 days. I don’t know if to change the flight paying 300$ extra or use those $$ and travel somewhere else where the days don’t count. Would they let me come back in if I travel to, for example, Cuba?

  102. My daughter went to the US from Canada end of October to stay with her canadian boyfriend who plays hockey there. She came home for a week and a half at Christmas and then went back to the US to stay there. When she did a US customs at the airport told her she had to be back by April 1/23. She booked a flight to leave today (March 31) but they wont accept her passport as her pup chewed some of the corner of it. They wont allow her on the flight. Will she be allowed in the states again if she isnt out by April 1?

  103. I am in the US on an ESTA. I plan to stay for about 3 months. Is it possible for me to go out of the country and apply for a B visitor visa so that I can stay longer? Maybe stay out of the US for some weeks or a month. I was originally just traveling in the US but I want to stay longer and do volunteer work. Do you think this is possible? Does it matter what country I travel to to apply for the visa?

  104. Hi Josh,

    I appreciate your amazing work!

    I entered the US (03/12/2022) with ESTA from HUngary, stayed 2month, then i travelled to Mexico, where i am spending 3 months. I am flying back to Hungary 01/05/023 rom MExico. and my transfer is through New York. I don’t want to leave the airport/ re-enter into US and i have a valid ESTA.
    Do you think it will be fine or i might get into a trouble? (I know MExico counts into the 90 days SO like this i will have been longer than the 90 days by the time i am transfering through NY. )

    Thank you for your answer!!

  105. Hi Josh
    I have a question in regards to ESTA.

    My son has a ESTA with an expiry date of 30/07/2024.

    He has left Australia, travelled to HAWAII for two weeks and has returned back in 2022. He now wants to entered the USA for a couple of trips while working in CANADA. So he may pop over to Seattle or San Fran for a week here and there before the expiry date on the ESTA. Can he enter the USA from Canada ?
    Also his US point of Contact information on the ESTA is based on Hawaii hotel address?
    Not sure what to do about this?
    Any advice would be greatly welcomed.
    Thank you

  106. Hi Josh,
    I’m in a particular situation and I don’t know who to ask, I hope you can help me:
    I’m an Italian Student and right now I’m in Toronto to do my thesis. I came here from Italy on March 31st but before coming to Toronto I had a layover at New York airport. I had an ESTA and they put a stamp on my Italian Passport with the “expiry date” of 28 June 2023 even if I just spent 8 hours at New York airports waiting for my flight to Toronto. The problem is that before coming back to Italy, in July, I wanted to go to Chicago to visit my cousins. Could I come to the US after 28 June 2023? Because I saw that if you go to Canada the period of the ESTA can’t restart from zero. But is this rule valid even if I just had a layover of a few hours at New York airport? In case I can’t, do you know how can I extend my ESTA?

  107. Hi Josh,
    Thank you so much for your precious work!

    I’m Italian, my partner has green card, and my daughter was born 23 February in LA. I came on esta 2 weeks before she was born and we applied for her American passport asap so we could move back to Italy before my 90 days would expire. Turns out her passport issuance has been delayed by the government office (it should have arrived several weeks before my esta expiration date), and my 90 days expire on May 5th. If the passport doesn’t arrive on time I will fly back to Italy just shortly before the expiration. But in that case I will have to come back (for just a few days), at most one month after, to help my partner move and bring our baby to Italy.
    Is that a good enough reason for border officials to let me in? And what documentation would you suggest to bring?

    Thank you so much for your help, we are very nervous about this.

  108. When my 90 days is finished, can i stay in mexico? Australians dont need a visa to stay in mexico for 180 days. Will i have issues if i stay in mexico and dont cross the border after the 90 days seeming as i can supposedly be in mexico for 180 without a visa? P.s… i need some help with visa stuff please. Please reachout and connect. Thanks so much

      1. Sangary Rajivkumar

        Hi Josh

        I’m married to an American citizen. USCIS has approved our spousal sponsorship application and now it is with NVC. I’m here for 86 days with the Esta (British citizen). Can I go back and return immediately? We are married and I will return again to London when I am called for the interview by embassy regarding the sponsorship when I get the appointment. I will of course have returning flight ticket to UK and will not be overstaying.

  109. I’m an Australian-UK dual citizen who splits my time between both Aus and the UK. (I’m freelance.) Last year I did some travelling in the USA from Oct–Dec, seeing friends, hitting about 89 days on my ESTA.
    I then travelled home to Australia for three months, then to the UK for work for a month. And am now visiting friends in Canada.
    Right. So…
    From here I’m flying home to Australia but with a two-week stopover in California, as one of my dearest friends is having a 40th birthday. I figure enough time has passed (5 months) for last year’s long stay on the ESTA to not be a problem. I also have my onward flight ticket and the birthday invitation, so can show that’s why I’m there and that I’m not looking to stay any longer.
    However…. another trip is in the mix. My friend in Canada wants us to take a weekend trip to New York, and I’m wondering if that’s going to be fine? Again, I’ll have my return flight ticket – we’re only going for two days. It’s only a week before I head off to California so the stay in Canada in between won’t be excessive.
    Do you think the NY trip is going to be fine?

  110. Hi Josh,

    I am planning a trip to Mexico and other parts of central America from Australia. I will most likely fly to LA (as it is much cheaper) and then fly into Mexico from there. I will also go back through LA to fly back to Australia.

    Does this mean my first ESTA will cover me for the first 90 days in USA & Mexico? I assume I will need to leave Mexico after this 90 days? If I then head into Guatemala / other parts of Central America this will be out of the region yes?

    Then when I am ready to fly back to LA to fly back back to Australia I can just apply for another ESTA? I will have proof of a flight to Australia.

  111. Hello ,
    I have one question. Actually I was in USA on b2 visa n I had stayed here for 180 days .. So if in case I want to come back again when can I come back to USA ? Can I return back to USA again after three months??

  112. Hi Josh. How soon can I enter back into the US on a type 2B visa? I left there on the17th of April, 2023. My daughter who is an American citizen by birth was born with sickle cell. This past winter she has been in crisis 3 times. I stayed to take care of her. Now I am back home in Belize and just want to know when it will be safe for me to attempt to go back to be with her. Thanks

  113. Hi Josh

    Regarding the point about needing to travel outside the US completely including “adjacent islands”, how does that work if you happen to live on one of those islands?

    I am a UK citizen who has been offered a job (and would of course have a work visa) on Bermuda. I am looking into how often I would be able to go in & out of the US at weekends etc for tourism purposes on an ESTA as I feel I might get bored on a small island.

    I assume in that case, a return to Bermuda won’t count as part of a continuous 90 day stay in the US, since that wouldn’t make sense? So then does returning to Bermuda reset the ESTA, if you live there? Would be a similar case for residents of Canada or Mexico that are not citizens, I guess?


  114. Hi Josh, I went to the US on a Visa Waiver on the 6th of March 2023 and returned home (Australia) on the 6th of May 2023 (approx 62 days in the US). I want to re-enter the US on the 29th of July 2023 for just under 90 days under the VWP. This will be approx 85 days in between visits under the VWP. Do you think this is enough time between visits to have my application for a visa waiver approved again? I plan to pre-book flights and accommodation to demonstrate that I will not be working or intending to stay past the 90 days, but I just wanted your thoughts on this.

    Also, I can’t seem to find a clear answer on this – in the future (it’s a few years away, unless I win lotto – haha), I would like to apply for a B2 Visa to return to the US for a longer holiday (just for leisure), but obviously there’s no embassy in South Australia. Is it required that I travel interstate for the interview or can these things be done via zoom? Thanks!

    1. Hi Rebecca, it really does come down to your personal scenario and not just the number of days. But yes, if you build a good case and show that you’re just holidaying, you shouldn’t have an issue.

      As for the B2 – Yes, you need to travel interstate to get a US visa, there’s no online interview process as you also need to give them your passport.

  115. Hi Josh
    Wonder if you can help with this.
    My son has been walking the Appalachian Trail on a 3 months Esta and needs to be out of US by 14 June.
    He wanted to go to Canada to stay with his uncle for two weeks on the 12 June, then fly back transit through NY to fly home to NZ. Is this permissable or does being in Canada count toward the Esta days and will he be overstaying by doing this?
    Your help much appreciated.

  116. buenas tardes . mi mama es residente permanente legal tiene green card de los estados unidos , tiene 75 anos de edad, cuanto tiempo puede estar ella en colombia yno perder su residencia permante al regresara los estados unidos? gracias

  117. Hi Josh, I flew to Mexico 2 and a half months ago and transited through LAX. I was required to go through immigration and my I-94 now has an admit until date of June 9th. I’ve been in Mexico this whole time and now I want to visit the US for a couple weeks. Since I only spent 30 minutes in transit will they restart my 90 days or will they make me leave the US in a week and a half?
    Will going to another country, ie. Beliza or Guatemala help?

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Josh Pugh

A business founding, digital marketing focused, charity driving, community builder from South Australia, living in New York City. After moving in 2017, Josh realized that there was an opportunity to curate and help the community of expats who moved to the United States – and launched America Josh.View Author posts