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  #1  
Old 25 Nov 2010
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USA on visa waiver

Hi,

If I was to enter the USA on a 3-month visa waiver, how does this work? Can I switch between Canada and the USA as often as I want, as long as I don't spend more than 90 days on US territory in total?

For those who've got a 6-month visa for the US:
How long did it take from your application interview to receiving your passport? On the US website, they say it can take up to 60 days or more before the passport gets sent back...

I'm currently travelling, but going back to Europe for christmas where I'd like to apply for a US 6-month visa.... but I'm only there for 4-5 weeks!
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  #2  
Old 25 Nov 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bjorn View Post
Hi,
If I was to enter the USA on a 3-month visa waiver, how does this work? Can I switch between Canada and the USA as often as I want, as long as I don't spend more than 90 days on US territory in total?
Yes, 90 consecutive days in total! Just crossing the border to Canada will no longer give you another 90 days in the US every time you re-enter. It will also not stop the clock from ticking. The frequency how often you go to Canada should not make a difference.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bjorn View Post
For those who've got a 6-month visa for the US:
How long did it take from your application interview to receiving your passport? On the US website, they say it can take up to 60 days or more before the passport gets sent back...

I'm currently travelling, but going back to Europe for christmas where I'd like to apply for a US 6-month visa.... but I'm only there for 4-5 weeks!
Usually, the US embassy offers expedited service for $$$. If you do some pre-arranging, you might be able to get a business- or six month visa just in time. However, the final authority as to how long you can stay in the US lays with the CBP officer upon entry. Make sure you let him know how long you want to stay before he stamps your I-94 card with a departure date. Of course, you can always get an extension at an appropriate USCIS office in the US. But, that's usually associated with hassle and waiting time...
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  #3  
Old 25 Nov 2010
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Question US Visa Stuff

HI Bjorn
Interestingly, I HAD to get the six month visa as I was told in the UK exactly what is said above, but as I zig-zagged between US and Canads as well as Mexico at one stage, the US border officers that I spoke to were not aware of that rule. All of them thought that I could have another 90 days each time I came back into the States. Though I didn't need it as I had the 6 month visa. But they would have stamped me through if I needed to.

You ask how long it takes to get one, well, I think it might depend where you are. In the UK six months ago it took me 2 weeks from realising whoops I've got to get one to actually having it in my hand. I was told to allow longer 9up to 4/5 weeks), but in reality it may take less time, depends on staffing at the Embassy and this time of year they are less busy.
I had to make an appointment using a premium rate telephone number to attend an interview at the US Embassy in London and pay £140 for the priviledge. The phone calls alone (until I got through after the 15th try) cost almost £20. What might save time is for someone to phone through and book your appointment interview for you so that you have that date arranged before you actually get home. They need some details in advance on the phone so make sure the person doing the phoning has those details to hand and also you pay the fee up front on the phone. Check the official US Embassy website for what details may be needed.
And when you go for the interview, take as much documentation as possible to prove you're a working person with a solid background!

Good luck.
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Old 25 Nov 2010
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Thanks for your answers. I guess the Canada/Mexico thing depends on how lucky you are – hence I'd still prefer to get 6 months.

I looked into all the appointment procedure already. For the embassy in London, it's the phone system you mentioned. In Germany, it's an online booking system (flat fee of US$10). Strange...

What was your £140 for? I take it this was the total visa fee, no?
I can't really proof that I'm a working person – as I've been travelling for over 2 years now

BTW: Is it possible to apply for a visa outside your home country? From on the road I mean?
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  #5  
Old 25 Nov 2010
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They changed the system for the Visa Waiver there last February, and now it is as this;
From once you enter the States, you have 90 days to leave, as before. But, now you also have 90 days from your INITIAL ENTRY TO THE STATES to leave also Canada, Mexico, & the Caribbean Islands. So if you spend 80 days in the States, then go down to Mexico for 20 days, you have officially voided your visa terms and cannot get another one for I think 5 years, maybe more. That's how it is now.
Anyway, does anyone know about what you have to do before the Visa Waiver? I think I have to fill out some form or application online, but what or where I'm not sure.....
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Old 25 Nov 2010
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Originally Posted by Bjorn View Post
What was your £140 for? I take it this was the total visa fee, no?
I can't really proof that I'm a working person – as I've been travelling for over 2 years now

BTW: Is it possible to apply for a visa outside your home country? From on the road I mean?
The £140 was the fee to apply for the visa, if you get turned down, they keep the money. as for pretending you've been working, always good if you can get someone to write something on headed paper saying you've been employed, might need copies of bank statements with money showing you have funds to last you while in the States.

don't know if it's possible to get the visa outside of home country but I think it is.
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Old 25 Nov 2010
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always good if you can get someone to write something on headed paper saying you've been employed
Well – guess it doesn't matter too much that I used to be employed until 2 1/2 years ago.
I'm actually self-employed (photographer) and get a 'passive' income every month from stock photography. Not much, but enough to keep me going for now.
I'll probably just show them my savings and the fact that I've got a bit of 'travel money' trickling in every month from my photos.
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Old 25 Nov 2010
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Thumbs up US visas

Quote:
Originally Posted by IronArse View Post
Anyway, does anyone know about what you have to do before the Visa Waiver? I think I have to fill out some form or application online, but what or where I'm not sure.....
Here is the website where you have to apply, they changed the rules a couple of months ago and there is now a fee to pay, it's $4 to apply and then another $10 if you are successful
U.S. Customs and Border Protection - Travel

You need to make sure you have a passport that has the micro-chip thing, if not then you HAVE to do the 6 month visa application and go for an interview.

and be careful, as there are a lot of websites that look like they do the US electronic visa and charge you more money, as they are private companies making a profit.
good luck.
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Old 25 Nov 2010
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Bjorn, the visa waiver thing is easy to do online. As mentioned, make sure your passport is chipped or it won't work.

If you stay in USA, Canada, Mexico for up to 90 days, then you can fly to another country for a few days 'holiday', then come back in for another 90 days etc etc, but you have to leave the land bordered countries to reset the visa.

I bought the 6 month visa and payed a bit extra so it was valid for 5 years. This allows me as many 6 month entries as I like over a 5 year period, as long as I fly out in between.

As for the money thing, take a current photocopy of your bank statement, this shows them you will not be a burden on their system and that is all I used when I re-entered and chatted with Homeland Security.

If I was you I would go to your governments website, find the relevant section on US travel and visas etc, and follow the link from there, then you should not have any problems with applying.

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Old 2 Dec 2010
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Cheers for the link Tiffany, saves me a lot of frustrating searching and maybe getting the wrong website!
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Old 3 Dec 2010
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..problems we had..

We applied for a USA visa before leaving the UK - this was 8 years ago so things may have altered a bit.

We had to have an interview, provide proof of employment, 'proof' that we were returning as we were going to be crossing via a landborder and had no return flight - this proof was in the form of a le, letter saying that we were indispensable at work, had a house funds etc. Note: by the time we reached the USA and used the visa we had no house or job or money!

We entered via Mexico - got stamped in for 6 months no probs.
We left just before our visa term and went to Canada.
Came to re-enter the USA after a little time traveling in Canada and I was allowed in - stamped for a further 6 months...Simon was refused entry!? Same border, same paperwork, same length of time previously there and so on.
Reason?
the border guard that saw Simon was....how shall I say?....a little arrogant to say the least! Mine had been a real sweety. Despite me already being stamped in, this SOB also took my passport away and kept it!

After almost 4 hours of talking/negotiating (I had to stay well away as I was so angry) Simon was stamped in and I got my passport back.
why did all of this happen?

we were told later by immigration officers in San Francisco (we made a special appointment as we wanted to clarify the situation) that despite having applied for and been granted 6 month visa terms, we could only enter for a 6 month period ONCE during the length of time of our validity of our visa....which was valid for 10 years....?! Only 6 months in 10 years!!??? mmmmm. still not convinced this is the correct interpretation...

However, they did go on to tell us that sometimes the border guards can be a little 'over enthusiastic at their application of the regulations'. and at that point she altered our database records and allowed us for further re-entries with no problems.

Strange isnt it....after 70 countries the most difficult to enter, the first time to be refused entry and the most issues we have ever had were at this border between Canada and the USA......

however- dont be put off!!! This is just our experience and our time in the USA was really great and we are going back at the end of our trip!
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  #12  
Old 7 Dec 2010
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Hi Lisa,

I've looked into this "10 year, 6 month" thing. The way I see it is: With a 6-month visa, you're allowed to enter the US for 6 months, and you can do so multiple times during a 10 year period (some people 'only' get 5 years).

However, same as with a 3-month visa waiver, you're officially NOT allowed to 'renew' the 6 month period by exiting/re-entering the US on a landborder. In other words: you can fly home & come back & then get another 6 months.

About 1 week ago, I met a traveller who also had a 10year 6month visa. After 6 months, he actually flew back to Switzerland (his home country) and then 2 days later back to the USA. He was refused entry – apparently because he only went home for 2 days. So, to play it safe he should have stayed home for maybe a month or so before coming back to the USA.

I can actually understand why they do it like this – as otherwise, it'd be easy to stay in the US for 5 or 10 years if you lived close to a landborder.
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