May 29, 2024

How to stay more than 90 days in the USA?

How to stay more than 90 days in the USA?

Any foreign national wishing to enter the United States must be in possession of a passport and a valid visa. The ESTA or Electronic Travel Authorization can be a more practical alternative to the traditional residence permit for a trip of less than 3 months. However, you will need to opt for another procedure if you plan to stay in the USA for more than 90 days. What to do in this case?

All about ESTA

ESTA is an electronically issued travel permit granted to nationals of countries benefiting from the Visa Waiver Program. The procedures for obtaining this e-visa are done entirely online. You must therefore complete the corresponding form via the official website of the United States Customs and Border Protection. You normally receive an email response within 72 hours of sending the request.

Note that authorization is not systematically granted. 3 answers are indeed possible:

  • Visa granted;
  • Visa refused: in this case, you can still start the process to obtain a classic non-immigrant visa.
  • Waiting.

How long is an ESTA valid for?

The ESTA is valid for 2 years from the date you receive the approval email or until your passport expires. In these cases, it is enough to make a new request. Note, however, that this is a multiple entry visa. You can therefore use it several times to return to American soil during its period of validity. However, your stays should never exceed 3 months.

What happens if you stay in the United States for more than 3 months with an ESTA?
Two cases are possible.

You must stay for reasons beyond your control:

It is indeed possible that an extension of your stay is essential following an illness, hospitalization or even an accident. In this case, you must always have the supporting documents with you to avoid problems in the event of an inspection.

You voluntarily stayed in the USA
Exceeding the time limit authorized by your ESTA exposes you to the risk of repatriation or being barred from entering the territory of the United States for several years. The extent of the sanctions depends on the length of your illegal stay in the country. Either way, chances are you will never be eligible for eTA again. It will even be difficult for you to obtain a regular US entry visa in the future.

Is it possible to go to countries bordering the USA to reset the ESTA counter to zero?

Many believe that all you have to do is travel to countries bordering the United States such as Canada or Mexico to reset the clock. This idea is totally wrong. Leaving the United States does not grant you an additional 3 months stay in the United States upon your return, even if you return to your country of origin. The US authorities are very picky about this in order to avoid illegal workers or terrorism.

Is it possible to apply for ESTA or other type of visa if you are already in the United States?

No, you are not allowed to reapply for ESTA if you are already on American soil through the exemption program. You also cannot obtain a visa on site or initiate a visa extension procedure. You must return to your country of origin and take the traditional steps. Also note that you cannot return to the USA in less than a week even if your electronic authorization is still valid. This could indeed arouse the suspicions of the authorities and generate problems.

How to stay more than 90 days in the United States?

In short, the electronic travel authorization is valid for transit or travel of less than 3 months. But what to do for a long stay?

A non immigrant visa to stay in the US for more than 90 days:

Obtaining a non-immigrant visa is your best solution to stay more than 3 months in the USA if you are of French nationality. The procedures are certainly longer and more expensive, but this document gives you the possibility of staying in the country longer and legally.

The different types of non immigrant visas:

You have the choice between different types of non-immigration visa depending on the purpose of your trip:

Business visa: intended for professionals and investors who wish to attend conferences, meetings, meetings, seminars or who carry out prospecting or market research;

Visitor visa: valid for tourism, family visits, conferences, medical appointments or procedures or workshops;

Student visa: for foreign nationals who wish to continue their studies in the USA. For more information You can consult here

Temporary work visa: for young people who opt for the WHV or Working Holiday Program in order to have a good time while earning a little money.

How to get a non immigrant visa?

Step 1
Regardless of the type of non immigrant visa you apply for, you should start by completing the DS-160 online form. You must attach to this your passport number and a recent valid passport photo. You will then receive a confirmation email which you must print out and take with you during the interview at the embassy or consulate.

You must then choose the time of the appointment for the mandatory interview on the same site. Note that filling out forms and making appointments are now possible 24 hours a day.

Step 2:

Payment of visa fees:
Payment of visa fees can be made online or by bank transfer. In all cases, it must be done before the interview. However, it is important to note that they are not refundable even if your visa is refused.

Step 3:

The interview
You must go to the embassy or consulate of the country you specified in the form on the date and time specified. The interview usually lasts around 5 minutes. The agent will ask you questions about the purpose and length of your trip to make sure you plan to return when the time comes. Here are the necessary documents:

  • Your valid passport and national identity card;
  • Confirmation of the DS-160 form with the bar code;
  • Receipt of payment of visa fees;
  • The convocation ;
  • A recent ID photo.


It is strongly recommended that you have documents with you that justify your intention to return home. It could be a lease, a letter from one of your teachers, or an employment contract. It might also be helpful to bring an invitation card for conferences or workshops, a hotel reservation, or a return plane ticket in good faith.

The interview with the consular services is reserved for the applicant only. However, a minor must be accompanied by one of his parents or legal guardian.

Step 4:

Receipt of the visa:

Your passport with visa affixed is usually issued by the embassy around a month after the date of your interview. You must keep this travel document with you at all times during your stay in the USA. It is also requested at airports when boarding.

The Green Card:

Green Card holders have permanent resident status in the United States. They therefore enjoy the same rights as an American citizen in several areas, including education and social security. He can also submit an application for naturalization a few years later. The US government holds a lottery every year to distribute free Green Cards. However, you can submit an application for family reunification or even marriage.

To Conclude:

The visa is compulsory for all travelers to the USA. However, you can enter American soil and stay there for a maximum of 3 months with an ESTA visa. In other words, this authorization can replace a transit visa or a business visa or a tourist visa or any other short-stay visa. On the other hand, it does not allow you to look for work or to enroll in a school. It is also advisable to apply for a non-immigrant visa at the embassy if you plan to stay longer than 90 days. You can also apply for the Green Card to obtain permanent resident status in the USA.

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