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  #1  
Old 6 Jul 2009
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Visa Waiver Program - calm advice please

Hi

We will travelling from San Francisco down to the many countries of South and Central Amercia from the middle of August.

My question is about the Visa Waiver Programme and what if anything we have to do. I keep on reading about posting the route etc but then don't seem to find out much more.

Please can someone advise me to put my fevered mind at rest. We have a return ticket already booked.

Thanks in advance
Tina
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  #2  
Old 6 Jul 2009
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Hi Tina, Marco is right about applying for your US application no. on the internet. It's really quick and just make a note of the no. that they e-mail you. If you are flying to the US then you will be given a green visa waiver form before you land in the US the cost of which is include in your ticket price. If you are crossing at a land border it will cost you US$6.00 (I think), fill it out carefully, it is a bit weird, and after the homeland whatsits have done their stamping bit they will give you the bottom part back, look after it, it lasts for 90 days and can be used for multiple entries during that period. If you are heading into Mexico en route to TdeF and will not be back to the US within the 90 day period, make sure that when you leave the US you hand it (the green bit) into US immigration (can be not as straight forward as it sounds) or things could get a bit difficult should you wish to return to the US at a later date. Ride safe and have a great trip.
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  #3  
Old 6 Jul 2009
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Thanks appreciate it.
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  #4  
Old 18 Jul 2009
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The USA waver form is free - you certainly do not have to pay for it!

I applied here:

https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov/esta/esta.h...6-EF252A2CCB4B

I entered Alaska about a week ago and you still need to fill in several forms on arrival but the whole process is painless if you have completed the waver form on line.

Kate
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  #5  
Old 20 Jul 2009
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But what about . . . .

My girlfriend and I are both British passport holders and driving a UK registered vehicle on an extended (very) trip around the world. Originally left UK 2004.
After Russia and South Korea we shipped our truck into USA (that was back in NOV 2007.
Our plan was to bounce in and out of USA / Canada / Mexico as and when our 90 days needed renewing.
However, if you exit USA across a land border (ie Mexico or Canada) your 90 day visa does not stop. Bizarre as it also sounds even if you hand it back the authorities do not class this as 'exiting USA' and so they are not obliged to shall we say, 'log you out'.
We found this impossible to believe, but upon checking the US website and then telephoning the consulate in LA it was confirmed, we further enquired at border when we exited and they too agreed it was correct.
So, and this is how the US immigration guy explained it to us; you can enter US, the 90 day clocks starts ticking and you can enter or exit as many times as you wish across either land border but the 90 day clock is not (NOT) affected. Therefore on a return to USA after the original 90 days commenced he suggested that though you be able to enter USA it is in theory possible you could be 'picked up' and classed as 'illegal immigrant'.
Now, for most this is not an issue as 3 months time is more than most can get to explore, for a few of us we have these extended trips and 90 days is nowhere near enough!
Aparently the rule is there to try to curb the bouncing across borders for a day and then back and working illegally in USA, so from US imgration point of view there is a logic. Personaly I feel their logic is flawed and the audacity of one country declaring that leaving it's international boundary is not defined as exiting is for me very odd.
However, that is the situation.
So is there a solution?
Well if you fly out or drive all the way to Guatemala then head back you'll be fine.
& to be fair in reality I doubt a european tourist would have any problems crossing or travelling within USA atall.
What few people know is that you have the option of applying for a tourist visa. Now this little baby is handy. It can have a duration of 10 years (as ours does) and entitles holder to enter USA (as tourist) and stay for up to 180days. Technically you should then leave the country for at least 181days but in our experience this has not been rigorously enforced.
Incidently, this does not get around the issue of land border crossings, but it does give you 180 days to explore and also means your passport has a slightly more validated appearance to any official who feels the need to ponder.
Officially this visa can only be obtained in your home country from the US embassy.
Practically - we got ours in Tijuana, very easy, no problems, couple hoops to jump through, but piece of cake and well worth having.
US is HUGE and has some fantastic scenery to explore, 90 days is nothing !

We are now in Guatemala, planning on few months here exploring central america.

by the way, one further point, by avoiding utilising the visa waiver program it also avoids the registering online malarcky that now surrounds visa waiver.

Which is best option? depends on time you plan to explore North America.
The visa waiver registration online is just another online form filling process (should be free, make sure you are not inadvertently using an agency site who are charging you), shouldn't be an issue and assuming you have no hidden skeletons it will be very easy to get through to US.
For us, without doubt having the 10yr tourist visa is an absolute bonus.

enjoy.

Phil.

www.philflanagan.com
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  #6  
Old 22 Jul 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MarcoM View Post
If you are uk or european national you have to apply for your authorisation on the internet. Just go to estauk.com site where you apply for it.
DO NOT use estauk.com
I did some research, and this seems to be a fraud run by a guy in Korea. ESTA SCAM: ESTAUK.COM (Mountie Lee - Korean Scam)
There is NO charge to use ESTA. Do not pay $45 for something that is free.

Marco,
I deleted your post just for safety sake. We don't want anyone to cheated out of their money. I hope that you weren't...
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  #7  
Old 24 Jul 2009
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I think that there is some mix up in peoples minds about the difference between the application to travel under the visa waiver scheme and the visa waiver card itself. The application no. is obtained at the web site mentioned by Kate and I think is part of a new system and is free: however on entering the US on a Brit passport and other ones that are part of the scheme a green "Visa Waiver Form" must be completed. The cost of this form is part of the airline ticket if flying in but if you arrive at the bordfrom Canada or Mexico you will be charged for the form by Homeland Security or Immigration, can't remember which and as I said before, it's about US$6.00. It may all have changed since the end of May but I will find out on the 4th Sep. Ride safe
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  #8  
Old 25 Jul 2009
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Thanks everyone

Thanks for the info we are set now. All done and usted I hope on the website and just raring to get out there.
Thanks again
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  #9  
Old 31 Aug 2009
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B2 Visa

Hi all:

OK so I want to stay in the US for my trip (next summer 2010) for longer than the 90 days so I'm going to apply for the Non-Immigration B2 Tourist Visa. Has anyone here got one of these? What was you experience like in getting it? Is this the same as the one you have Phil?

Steve
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  #10  
Old 20 Sep 2009
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B2

You'll be fine. Just apply at local consulate or even via the internet. You wont have any issues getting it unless you've travelled to the middle east (pkstn, afgh, iran) or libya which means you may be asked to an interview.

They are unlikely to refuse it. Make sure you ask for multi-entry/exit capability.

Ask for 1 year, then you are clear. Safe travels.

Cw
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  #11  
Old 17 Jan 2010
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tourist visa

I read somewhere that my tempory importation of my bike may not be for more than 3 months is that correct?

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephen.stallebrass View Post
Hi all:

OK so I want to stay in the US for my trip (next summer 2010) for longer than the 90 days so I'm going to apply for the Non-Immigration B2 Tourist Visa. Has anyone here got one of these? What was you experience like in getting it? Is this the same as the one you have Phil?

Steve
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  #12  
Old 17 Jan 2010
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Thumbs up

HI there
I shipped my British bike by boat into LA last month and I have been given temporary importation permission for up to 12 months - talk to the guys in customs about how long you want. They didn't ask about my visa status and seemed very reasonable.

Good luck
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  #13  
Old 17 Jan 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stephen.stallebrass View Post
Hi all:

OK so I want to stay in the US for my trip (next summer 2010) for longer than the 90 days so I'm going to apply for the Non-Immigration B2 Tourist Visa. Has anyone here got one of these? What was you experience like in getting it? Is this the same as the one you have Phil?

Steve
xXx

Yup - I went to the US embassy in London and it was all fairly painless. Just smile and talk nicely and it should all be OK. Having said that I haven't entered the US with it yet.... let you know in 3 weeks.
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  #14  
Old 18 Jan 2010
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Hi:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sime66 View Post
Yup - I went to the US embassy in London and it was all fairly painless. Just smile and talk nicely and it should all be OK. Having said that I haven't entered the US with it yet.... let you know in 3 weeks.
Sweet, keep us informed of progress. You gonna be keeping and publishing a ride report on the ADV forum? Also what sort of questions did they ask you at the interview? Did they ask for evidence of funds for the duration of your trip and or an itinerary?

I obviously want to apply as early as possible for the B2 but I am still saving up for my July 1st launch date. I have about £3k tied up in minor assets that I'll sell prior to the trip, which will be added to the bit I've saved so far. The bulk of my funds will actually come from savings from now until D-Day.

However, I'm concerned that if I apply too early, whilst savings are modest, they may say that it's insufficient for my intended length of stay (3-4 months). Therefore I'm thinking that the longer I can leave it the more funds I'll have available for them to examine when I do apply. Or if I apply now will they recognise that I still have 6 months of saving left before D-Day?

The truth is I plan to stealth camp in National Forests (I know this is perfectly legal for US citizens but not sure if they know this, or whether it applies to non-US citizens and or whether I should even be telling them that this is my plan). I also intend to hostel and sofa surf where possible, only using regular camp sites and motels where absolutely necessary so the daily budget will be as low as possible.

As you can see I'm a bit paranoid and I'm probably over analysing it all but I like to know what to expect. Any info would be much appreciated.

So what are your plans? Are you shipping, hiring, or buying a bike out there? I plan to buy a used bike out there (probably a DL1000) and then sell it before I leave. I want to be good to go within a couple of days of arriving so I'll shortlist a selection in California before I arrive. I considered shipping but its just too expensive for a shortish 4month trip. If I was doing a RTW or extended stay then I think I might ship my own bike.

Steve
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  #15  
Old 19 Jan 2010
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Hi Steve
I started in Argentina 15 months ago - HU blog thing on the link at the end.
They didn't ask much - I told em I was going on a bike trip and needed more than 3 months to see all the sights etc, and that seemed to be cool. I actually can't remember if they wanted to see actual evidence of funds - have a vague recollection of taking a bank statement but not sure if they wanted to see it. (Sorry - a lot of Mezcal under the bridge since then. A fair proportion of it last night.)

I shipped a 1998 Africa Twin to B Aires. I'm going to see if I can marry it in Vegas.

Cheers

Quote:
Originally Posted by stephen.stallebrass View Post
Hi:



Sweet, keep us informed of progress. You gonna be keeping and publishing a ride report on the ADV forum? Also what sort of questions did they ask you at the interview? Did they ask for evidence of funds for the duration of your trip and or an itinerary?

I obviously want to apply as early as possible for the B2 but I am still saving up for my July 1st launch date. I have about £3k tied up in minor assets that I'll sell prior to the trip, which will be added to the bit I've saved so far. The bulk of my funds will actually come from savings from now until D-Day.

However, I'm concerned that if I apply too early, whilst savings are modest, they may say that it's insufficient for my intended length of stay (3-4 months). Therefore I'm thinking that the longer I can leave it the more funds I'll have available for them to examine when I do apply. Or if I apply now will they recognise that I still have 6 months of saving left before D-Day?

The truth is I plan to stealth camp in National Forests (I know this is perfectly legal for US citizens but not sure if they know this, or whether it applies to non-US citizens and or whether I should even be telling them that this is my plan). I also intend to hostel and sofa surf where possible, only using regular camp sites and motels where absolutely necessary so the daily budget will be as low as possible.

As you can see I'm a bit paranoid and I'm probably over analysing it all but I like to know what to expect. Any info would be much appreciated.

So what are your plans? Are you shipping, hiring, or buying a bike out there? I plan to buy a used bike out there (probably a DL1000) and then sell it before I leave. I want to be good to go within a couple of days of arriving so I'll shortlist a selection in California before I arrive. I considered shipping but its just too expensive for a shortish 4month trip. If I was doing a RTW or extended stay then I think I might ship my own bike.

Steve
xXx
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