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  1. Default 90 days road trip in the US + 7 days in Mexico

    Hello!
    We are 3 guys from Denmark planning a 3 month (90 days) road trip around the USA in the spring next year. Afterwards we would like to end our trip spending one week at an all-inclusive hotel in Cancun in Mexico, before flying back to Denmark. Is this possible or does it conflict with the US Visa Waiver Program?

    I understand that it is only possible to stay in the United States for max 90 days without a visa. I also read that this rule somehow includes 'contiguous territory' (like Mexico):

    "At the time of application for admission, a VWP applicant must:
    - Be in possession of a round-trip ticket that will transport the individual out of the United States to any other foreign port or place as long as the trip does not terminate in contiguous territory"

    I don't know how to understand this. Hope you can help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
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    9,358

    Default Some Niceties of the Law

    Velkommen! Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    As long as you have your complete travel itinerary (flights, not hotels) booked, you should be fine. You would then have proof that you plan to travel Denmark -> USA -> Mexico -> Denmark. Thus, your "trip does not terminate in contiguous territory." It terminates in Denmark.

    Also, as I read your post, it seems that you plan to fly from the USA to Mexico rather than drive across the border. This is essentially required because US rental car firms will not allow their fleet vehicles into Mexico, and Mexico will not let you bring a US registered car in without buying additional insurance from a Mexican-based company.

    And one more thing, I wouldn't cut that 90 day Visa Waiver Program limit too close. You never know what will set off red flags at customs or if an unexpected delay will put you in violation of the law, without you're indenting to do so, on your departure.

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
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    Default

    I think by the letter of the law, you would be ok, but there may be a practical problem. I suspect that nearly every flight from mexico to denmark will include a layover in the u.s.

    As Buck mentioned, while you can legally use all 90 days, the closer to the deadline you get, the more likely you are to have a complication.

  4. Default

    It terminates in Denmark, yes, but not within 90 days, and I'm concerned that we won't be able to enter the USA because of that - even though we're leaving the US within 90 days. As I understand the rules, we have to proof that we're leaving Northamerica (including Canada+Mexico) within 90 days.

    How sure are you that it won't be a problem? Is it based on knowledge or is it just an interpretation of the quote?

    We just want to be absolutely sure that we're not ending up being declined at the airport.

  5. Default

    We are completely aware of the fact that we're not able to transit through the u.s. at our way home from Mexico because we've exeeded the 90-days limit. But we found a cheap and fast flight connection from Cancun -> London -> Copenhagen, so that won't be a problem.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    Tucson, AZ
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    9,358

    Default What the Limit is On

    The US doesn't really care what you do before or after you visit the US. (With exceptions, of course. They would care if you tried to enter from Cuba, or from the tribal areas of Pakistan/Afghanistan.) The 90 day limit is on the time you spend in the US, not the time you spend on your trip.

    AZBuck

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default That happened to me

    In 2001 I was in the ER just days before my departure, and told that it was unlikely I would be able to catch my flight. This was just after 9/11, and everyone was still on edge. Friend of mine rang the authorities (don't know anymore which authority), explained my situation, mentioning that I was most concerned about getting a red flag next to my name. As it is, I was OK... but I was worried.

    I agree with you that it reads a bit ambiguous. Is there a consulate or embassy nearby whom you can contact to get some clarification? Writing a letter always gets the best results.

    Lifey

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mikkel View Post
    As I understand the rules, we have to proof that we're leaving Northamerica (including Canada+Mexico) within 90 days.
    Your understanding is not quite right.

    You are only required to leave the US within 90 days, once you leave you can spend the next 90 days in Mexico, Canada, or any other country that will let you in. Once you are out of the US, US officials don't care where you go.

    Where the 90 days in North America does apply, and what I think seems to be the source of your confusion, is that your 90 days in the US essentially includes any time you spend elsewhere in North America. The meter keeps running, so to speak. Basically, if you leave the US and cross into Canada or Mexico, you can't come back into the US and expect a fresh 90 days. Since you aren't planning to return to the US, and you'll have a direct flight from Mexico back to Europe, this really is not something the will apply to your trip.

    So, as Buck said originally, as long as you can prove you are planning to leave the US within your 90 days - which your onward plane ticket to Mexico will show (as well as your return trip from there, just to be safe), I can't think of any reason why you'd have any problem.

    Of course, this or any internet forum isn't a place to get legal advice, so if you want to be completely sure there are no problems, your best bet would be to contact both the airline and US Customs/Immigration.

  9. Default

    I've just received an answer from the Embassy of the US in Denmark, and unfortunate in wasn't positive.

    Exstract from my question:
    "... So our total stay in US will not exceed the 90 days, and we will not re-enter (or transit) the US after leaving for Mexico. Are you sure we need a visa for that?"

    The answer from the Embassy:
    "You will need a visa if your return flight does not take you out of the North American Continent, not just the US, within 90 days of your arrival to the US."

    Unfortunately it is not possible to take an extra vacation in Mexico after staying 90 days in the US, as I and everybody in here thought. Fortunately we haven't ordered our fly tickets yet :)

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Interesting. I certainly would not have expected that response, but that is why it is always best to go directly to the source.

    Perhaps you could reverse your plan, and start with a week in Mexico?

    Either way, thanks for sharing what you learned.

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