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compman9

Will I overstay my US visa if I spend months on board?

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DW and I are thinking of sailing over on the Odyssey or Allure from Europe and renting a place in Florida for a couple of months


We then want to spend another couple of months on a ship before returning to the UK

 

As far as I am aware, we are only allowed three months with our ESTA, and they don't stamp departure when we get on and off ships, so is there a risk of overstaying our Visa?

 

Thanks for any help anyone can provide on this before I contact the US Embassy

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The important thing to bear in mind is that an ESTA is not a visa and from the sound of your travel plans a tourist visa may be necessary.

I found this site https://www.esta-online.com/blogs/esta-time-limit which suggests that, in your case, the 90 days will accumulate. This means that you would indeed overstay your permitted limit unless perhaps one of your cruises takes you to a non-adjacent territory (e.g. Argentina; see the paragraph which refers to adjacent territories and islands.)

I can't vouch for the accuracy or impartiality of the site though and I suspect your best recourse will be to contact the embassy, as you mentioned. 

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3 hours ago, compman9 said:

DW and I are thinking of sailing over on the Odyssey or Allure from Europe and renting a place in Florida for a couple of months


We then want to spend another couple of months on a ship before returning to the UK

 

As far as I am aware, we are only allowed three months with our ESTA, and they don't stamp departure when we get on and off ships, so is there a risk of overstaying our Visa?

 

Thanks for any help anyone can provide on this before I contact the US Embassy

You will need a tourist visa. Depending on your travel plans and length of stay will determine which visa you apply for. For example, a B1/B2 visa will allow you to stay for 6 months.

The State Department website has more information.

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anything over 90 days requires a full Tourist visa.  cruise count as part of the 90 days as you do return to the US at the end of each leg unless it is a transatlantic or repositioning cruise.  

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ESTA is basically a "visa waiver"; if you overstay it you risk getting flagged/banned for an extended period of time for future USA entry.  Get a regular tourist visa which can easily be good for 6 months at least (date will be on the I-94 form). 

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you have to get a tourist visa (B1/B2) which would normally give you around 6 months to stay at a time.

 

With ESTA (and any other types of visa) if you over stay, you could be black-listed and will not be allowed into the US in the future.

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looks like if you take a cruise to Mexico you could be OK, but best to check and also see if you can get your passport stamped

 

Finally, it’s worth clarifying that the 90-day limit is per trip, and not for the entire duration of your ESTA. The ESTA itself is valid for 2 years, or when your passport expires (whichever comes first). This means that the days you spend in the United States during the validity of your ESTA do not accumulate, but rather are specific to each individual trip. However, as we mentioned before, US border patrol agents soon catch on to repeated long stays in the country, and so this is not to be abused. The benefit of this system is that it means you do not need to apply for ESTA online every time you want to travel to the US, but rather only when your ESTA expires. Whilst there is no ESTA renewal process in place, you can apply as many times as you like and the application process itself is simple; simply fill out the online ESTA application form and receive your approval status via email within 24 hours.

If you’re off to the US this year, happy travels, and just don’t stay too long…

*The adjacent islands in which any time spend will still contribute to the 90-day limit of the ESTA are: Anguilla, Antigua, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Barbuda, Bermuda, Bonaire, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Curacao, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Marie-Galantine, Martinique, Miquelon, Montserrat, Saba, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Christopher, Saint Eustatius, Saint Kitts-Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Maarten, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, and other British, French and Dutch territories or possessions bordering the Caribbean Sea.
 

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12 hours ago, compman9 said:

DW and I are thinking of sailing over on the Odyssey or Allure from Europe and renting a place in Florida for a couple of months


We then want to spend another couple of months on a ship before returning to the UK

 

As far as I am aware, we are only allowed three months with our ESTA, and they don't stamp departure when we get on and off ships, so is there a risk of overstaying our Visa?

 

Thanks for any help anyone can provide on this before I contact the US Embassy

is it 90 days or 3 months? A Australian friend was denied re-entry into the US at LAX on a second trip because he overstayed his visa on the first trip. He stayed 3 months and the visa was for 90 days. 

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Don't they consider the days on the ship as being outside the country so that they wouldn't count towards your total?

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2 hours ago, JuliaMS said:

is it 90 days or 3 months? A Australian friend was denied re-entry into the US at LAX on a second trip because he overstayed his visa on the first trip. He stayed 3 months and the visa was for 90 days. 

Do you mean that they stayed for exactly 3 months & hence 91 or 92 days, and this resulted in his re-entry being denied for going over the 90 days?? Wow, that's really applying the rules!!!  Guess that's why many time limits are expressed in terms of number of days eg 30, 90, 180, just incase someone fudges a day or two 😮

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1 hour ago, mr walker said:

Do you mean that they stayed for exactly 3 months & hence 91 or 92 days, and this resulted in his re-entry being denied for going over the 90 days?? Wow, that's really applying the rules!!!  Guess that's why many time limits are expressed in terms of number of days eg 30, 90, 180, just incase someone fudges a day or two 😮

 yep. he stayed 3 months which was 32 days. He is currently suing the travel agent that booked all his travel and arranged the visa for the first trip. He was stopped at LAX because he was flagged. Still can't come back until it's fixed (happened in December). This was an Australian Citizen but not sure if that matters. So don't take anyone's word for it here, go to the source. Err on the side of getting more than you think you need.

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9 hours ago, Tree_skier said:

Don't they consider the days on the ship as being outside the country so that they wouldn't count towards your total?

 

Read what was posted above.

 

Caribbean islands do not count as being outside the country for ESTA purposes.

 

So if the cruise goes to Central or South America, it seems that it would count for exiting the US.

 

Best bet it to call the US Embassy or Consulate in the person's country and ask, and get the answer in writing.

 

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10 hours ago, JuliaMS said:

is it 90 days or 3 months? A Australian friend was denied re-entry into the US at LAX on a second trip because he overstayed his visa on the first trip. He stayed 3 months and the visa was for 90 days. 

When entering the US, Border Control officer will stamp the passport indicating entry date, and manually write the date that the traveller must leave the US on or before.  This is done to eliminate the guessing game.

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9 hours ago, Tree_skier said:

Don't they consider the days on the ship as being outside the country so that they wouldn't count towards your total?

Usually, the visa is for multiple entries within the given timeline.  For B1/B2, they usually allow the traveller to stay in the US for up to 6 months, and is granted multiple entries.  Leaving the US and re-entering doesn't not reset this timeline.

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18 hours ago, nalrudaini said:

you have to get a tourist visa (B1/B2) which would normally give you around 6 months to stay at a time.

 

With ESTA (and any other types of visa) if you over stay, you could be black-listed and will not be allowed into the US in the future.

ESTA is NOT a visa,  or a visa wavier.  All ESTA does is register your "intent" to travel.

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On 9/15/2019 at 9:33 AM, compman9 said:

DW and I are thinking of sailing over on the Odyssey or Allure from Europe and renting a place in Florida for a couple of months


We then want to spend another couple of months on a ship before returning to the UK

 

As far as I am aware, we are only allowed three months with our ESTA, and they don't stamp departure when we get on and off ships, so is there a risk of overstaying our Visa?

 

Thanks for any help anyone can provide on this before I contact the US Embassy

 

 

Best advice, call the Embassy  (0)20 7499-9000

Edited by Redrobo

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