Exceeding the ESTA deadline
The United States is known to be very demanding on law enforcement and the ESTA validity regulation is no exception. If you have obtained your ESTA, be extremely careful not to exceed 90 days. Exceeding the legal term will put you in a situation considered outlaw.
Exceeding 90 days: consequences
The ESTA system is a simplified procedure put in place to guarantee the internal security of the USA. It allows nationals of countries participating in the visa waiver program to travel there as simply as possible. It is therefore, in the eyes of the US authorities, an opportunity for foreigners to visit the country, it should not be abused because it is very severely punished.
As a reminder, the ESTA is valid for a period of 2 years from the moment you obtain your authorization. During these two years, you can do as much round trip as you wish for a total of 90 days spent on the territory. The validity of the authorization expires:
- Once the 90 days are exhausted;
- After 2 years from the date of issue;
- When your travel conditions have changed and no longer fit the intended purpose;
- Or if your personal information has been changed or your passport has expired.
If any of these situations happen while you are still on American soil, it will unfortunately have several repercussions.
The first is that under the law, you will have the status of illegal immigrant. You may therefore be subject to:
- a warning;
- or confiscation of your property for a thorough search;
- to see an expulsion from the territory.
The second consequence is that in the future the ESTA will automatically be refused. Therefore, you will need to apply for a visa.
What to do in case of exceeding 90 days?
If you find yourself in one of these situations, be aware that it is impossible to re-apply from the United States. You must make sure to leave the territory legally and as quickly as possible. Do not wait for the US immigration authorities to apprehend you and present yourself on your own initiative to the local authorities to prove your good faith. When you exceed the deadline because of an exceptional event (emergency hospitalization), your good faith will be enough to return to your home country without problem.
So we advise you to calculate your number of days in the US and check the validity period of your documents. If you are not sure if you have enough time for all your activities in 90 days, apply for a visa.