How long can I stay in the U.S. or surrounding areas with an ESTA?

Category: ESTA Tourism | 0
How long can I stay in the U.S. or surrounding areas with an ESTA?

If you have received an ESTA authorization to travel, it can be used for multiple trips over a 2-year period, starting from the date it was approved or until the passport expires, whichever happens first. During the validity period, there is no need to reapply for another authorization.

However, it is important to be aware that receiving an ESTA does not give you the right to stay in the United States for 2 years. It only allows you to visit the USA under the terms and conditions of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), which allows you to stay in that country for 90 days or less at a time.

It is also crucial to be aware of something else: To avoid being suspected of trying to live in the country, it is recommended that you maintain a reasonable period of time between visits. Do not try to leave the country for a day or two and then return.

According to our research, if you have stayed in the US for the entire 90-day period on an ESTA, you must leave the country for at least 90 days before returning. In other words, the duration between your visits should be at least as long as your last visit.

How can I stay more than 90 days with an ESTA?

ESTA, which stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization, is a visa waiver program that permits citizens of member states to travel to the US for tourism or business purposes for a maximum of 90 days without a visa. Unfortunately, it is not legal to remain in that country for more than 90 days with an ESTA.

If you need to remain in the US for longer than 90 days, you should apply for a visa. Depending on the purpose of your travel, there are different types of visas available. For instance, if you plan to study in the US, you should instead apply for a student visa. Similarly, if you intend to work in that country, you should apply for a work visa.

To obtain a visa for the US, the first step is to contact the nearest American embassy or consulate. There, you will need to complete an application form, provide supporting documentation, and pay a fee. You will also have to attend a personal interview with a consular officer.

If your visa application is successful, you will be granted a visa that allows you to enter the United States and remain for a specific period of time. The length of your visa will vary depending on the type of visa you have applied for.

How many times will I be allowed to enter the United States with an approved ESTA?

You can make multiple trips to the USA with the same ESTA, provided that it remains valid. The validity period of an ESTA is typically two years from the date it was approved or until the expiration date of your passport, depending on which occurs first.

However, there are no restrictions on how often you can travel to the US with an ESTA as long as your visit does not exceed 90 days. Should your stay exceed this timeframe, it is imperative to apply for a visa for an extended visit.

It is also crucial to be aware that should you make frequent visits to the USA or extend your stay for extended periods. Immigration officers might start scrutinizing your travel intentions. Failing to persuade them of your legitimate visitor status could result in a denial of entry to the US.

For readers who are planning to visit the USA on an ESTA in the near future, here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Prepare yourself for being asked questions about the reasons for your trip and your itinerary during your stay.
  • Ensure that you have the necessary documentation to substantiate your answers, including hotel reservations, return flight details, and evidence of adequate financial resources.

Regarding the timing and process for updating your ESTA, consider the following

Typically, an ESTA will stay valid for a period of 2 years. However, it is essential to obtain a new ESTA in the following circumstances:

  • When you receive a new passport, whether a regular, emergency, or temporary one.
  • If you underwent a name change.
  • If you underwent a gender change.
  • When your country of citizenship changes.
  • Whenever you need to modify your answers to one or more of the “yes” or “no” questions on the ESTA application.

Is it possible to opt for a visa in place of an ESTA? When is this compulsory?

You always have the option to apply for a visitor (B) visa if you choose to do so or if you do not meet the eligibility criteria for VWP travel. It also becomes mandatory to apply for a US visa if your travel plans involve using a private aircraft or any other non-VWP-approved air or sea carrier. It’s advisable to check the list of approved carriers for reference. Apart from that, if your intended stay exceeds 90 days, your only option is the visa application route.

If I have an approved ESTA, can I also take a trip to Mexico, Canada, or nearby islands?

If you possess an approved ESTA and are admitted into the United States via the VWP, you have the opportunity to take a brief excursion to Mexico, Canada, or a neighboring island. Typically, you can be re-admitted to the US under the VWP for the remainder of the original 90-day period granted during your initial visit to the country. The total duration of your stay, including the short trip, should not exceed 90 days though.

It’s worth noting that citizens of VWP countries who reside in Mexico, Canada, or one of the nearby islands are generally exempt from the requirement to provide proof of onward travel to another country when entering the United States.

What should one do if you are visiting the US on an ESTA and you get very sick?

In the event that you are visiting the US on an ESTA and you become severely sick, it is very important to take the necessary action. Seek immediate medical attention from a doctor, urgent care facility, or hospital.

Should you require hospitalization, it is essential to contact your insurance provider straight away to inform them of your circumstances. Your insurance company may offer assistance in covering your medical costs. In cases where you lack insurance coverage, you may explore the possibility of obtaining financial aid from the hospital or a relevant government agency.

If your hospitalization exceeds a period of 90 days while you’re in the US, it will become necessary to apply for an extension of your stay through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). You can initiate this process by submitting Form I-539, known as the Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status.

Where circumstances prevent you from departing the US prior to the expiration of your ESTA, there is a potential solution known as humanitarian parole. Humanitarian parole is a discretionary provision that enables the US government to grant temporary entry to individuals who are dealing with an urgent humanitarian situation or in situations where there is significant public benefit.

In order to begin with the process of applying for humanitarian parole, you are required to submit Form I-131, which is the Application for Travel Document. Alongside this application, you will have to provide substantiating evidence of your medical condition and also present a compelling reason or reasons for your need to remain in the US.

Upon approval of your humanitarian parole application, you will receive authorization for a temporary stay in the US. This permits you to remain in the country until such time that your medical condition shows signs of improvement and you are deemed fit for travel back to your home country.

It’s vital to understand that the US government is not obligated to give anyone humanitarian parole. The determination of whether humanitarian parole will be granted or not is made through an individual assessment, considering the unique circumstances of each case.