If there's no "until" date on your US entry stamp, how long can you stay as an ESTA holder?
Looking through my passport, at a page that the US DHS seem to like using, I see three US entry stamps:
- Arrived 4th April 2014, type WB, until 2nd July 2014 (3 months)
- Arrived 15th June 2012, type WB, until not completed
- Arrived 9th November 2012, type WB, until 6th February 2013 (3 months)
The first and the third seem fine - I was stamped in, and a date to depart by (until) was either hand-written in or stamped in. Nice and clear when I needed to be gone by.
However, for the middle one, they seem to have forgotten to write in or stamp in the "until" date.
As it happens, I didn't notice at the time, and I think I left about 2 weeks later (if memory serves). However, what if I'd wanted to stay longer?
As someone with an ESTA entering the US under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), how long am I allowed to stay if no "until" date is given on my entry stamp?
They don't always write a date on the stamp in the passport. Before I-94s were made electronic, I don't think they ever wrote a date on the stamp in the passport; they just wrote a date on the stamp on the I-94 (which was stapled to your passport). Since 2013, people entering by air get electronic I-94s, and they usually write the I-94 expiration date on the stamp on the passport as a matter of convenience (since people don't have the paper I-94 to look at anymore, and people shouldn't always need to look up the electronic I-94). But if they forget to write it, it's no big deal. The date is just the I-94 expiration date, and you can look it up here.
You're allowed to stay for 90 days, unless you were exceptionally given a shorter stay.
The passport stamp is not legally binding regarding the duration of your stay, your admission record is, and it's found here. It will say by what date you have to leave the US
"The passport stamp is not legally binding regarding the duration of your stay": I don't doubt this, but references to back it up would be very useful. Do you have any?
@phoog Sadly not; the stamps were legally beinding before the electronic I-94 system was created, and I suppose they still are whenever an electronic I-94 isn't created (such as when entering on the Montreal-New York train). However, the majority of travellers (including at major land crossings) do get an electronic I-94, which is then what is binding
But even before the electronic system, if there had been a case with a discrepancy between the stamp on the paper I-94 and one in the passport, I suppose the paper I-94 would have controlled. The difference there, of course, is that the traveler would be in possession of both stamps, whereas here I suspect that the vast majority of travelers have no idea that there is an electronic database record controlling their period of admission (do you know whether they receive any information to that effect as a matter of routine? I haven't traveled with someone on the VWP since 2003 or so).
@phoog I as a VWP national only know of the I-94 site because I tend to know such things - CBP officers don't inform you of it. THey just stamp my passport, specifying the date by which I am to leave, which is then also consistent with what the I-94 site says about me. Note I've only ever entered and exited by air. I don't have any experience with the I-94W form either, since my first time in the US was in summer 2015 (as a kid I didn't use to travel outside the EU at all)
There's nothing about this on the ESTA site? Some fine print on some page that applicants would see (if not necessarily read) before or after the ESTA is approved?
Under the VWP, you are allowed to stay in the United States for up to 90 days. See https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/visit/visa-waiver-program.html for more information.
If you return for a subsequent trip before the expiration date of a prior period of admission, the officer can readmit you for the remainder of the original period, but only if you haven't departed from "contiguous territory" and "adjacent islands" (Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean). If you have been in any other country, you should be given a new 90-day admission.
If you are readmitted for the remainder of a previous period of admission, the original "until" date should be written on the new stamp.