Many people wonder if they can stay in the USA for more than 90 days in a year. The answer is no, any traveler can not exceed a stay of 90 days as it is the conditions of the ESTA(Electronic System for Travel Authorisation) also the reasons for travel must be related to tourism or business. For UK citizens it is considerably easier to travel to the USA, vastly reducing the quantity of red tape and processing time, the ESTA is approved and delivered within 24 hours.
The ESTA is valid for 2 years from the time of purchase. You can technically return to USA as many times as you would like during this time frame, as long as you don’t exceed the 90 day period. The Visa Waiver Program(VWP) enable most citizens or nationals of participating countries to travel to the USA for tourism or business stays of 90 days or less without obtaining a visa.
You must be a citizen or national of a VWP Designated Country to be eligible to travel to the USA:
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
- San Marino
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
Under the VWP Improvement and Terrorist Travel Protection Act of 2015, travellers in the following countries have to obtain a visa prior to travelling to the USA as they are no longer eligible to travel under the VWP:
- Nationals of VWP countries who have travelled to or been present in Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria or Yemen on or after March 1st, 2011(with limited exceptions for travel for diplomatic or military purposes in the service of a VWP country).
- Nationals of VWP countries who are also Nationals of Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Iraq, Sudan or Syria.
If you wish to stay in the USA for more than 90 days in one year you would have to apply for a B1/B2 Visa which is available to those who wish to stay longer. You have to have all the correct paperwork to apply for a B1/B2. The B1/B2 is for tourism and business only. Once you apply for a B1/B2 the Visa Officers who will process the applications will automatically ask you:
- What are you planning to do in the USA that the original 90 days won’t be sufficient?
- If you will be able to afford to live there for longer than the 90 days?
- How you can support yourself without working in the USA?
Border officials are very aware of people crossing borders just to extend their stays and will soon catch on if the ESTA is being used incorrectly. Without a valid reason to return to the USA shortly after leaving, it is quite possible that you will be refused entry. However, if you have justified reasons for returning to the USA frequently(business arrangements, for example), you should have no problems.