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Visa Waiver Program/ESTA question

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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Costa Rica

Hi Everybody,


I had a question for those of you who have experience traveling on the Visa Waiver Program with an ESTA.


A friend of the family is from a country that participates in the Visa Waiver Program, and she is planning to travel to the U.S. within the next year or so. However she is currently in a third country on what was supposed to be a short trip but due to Covid/lockdown complications she’s pretty much stuck there at the moment, and facing a visa overstay in that country.  She has asked me if overstaying her visa in that third country could cause her any problems if she later tries to enter the U.S. using the VWP/ESTA.  

As far as I am aware it shouldn’t be an issue, but I know they do ask some eligibility questions for the ESTA.  Anyway, I told her I would ask on here to get some feedback from those of you who might have more direct experience.  We’d appreciate any insights or advice.  Thanks!

2018 K1 Filing to Approval: 322 days (RFE 29 Days)


I-129F mailed: Jan 26 2018

NOA1: Jan 29 2018 (old site), Feb 2 2018 (new site)

RFE: Aug 30 2018 (old site updated 8/30; new site 8/31 w/email and text)

RFE hard copy: rec'd 9/4; ret'd 9/6 (old site updated 9/7; new site 9/10, no text/email)

NOA2: Oct 5 2018 [249 days]  (old site updated 10/5; new site 10/7, no text/email)

Case #: Oct 31 2018 [27 days] (called to get number, no email from NVC)

Left NVC: Nov 13 2018 

Consulate Rec'd (DHL): Nov 19 2018

CEAC 'Ready' status: Nov 29 2018

Interview: Dec 17 2018 [Approved!]

POE: Jan 10 2019 [Los Angeles]

Marriage: Jan 12 2019 :wub::dance:


2019 AOS Filing to Approval: 81 Days (No RFE, No Expedite)


AOS Mailed: Feb 19 2019

NOA1: Feb 25 2019 (I-485, I-765, I-131)

Biometrics Appt. Letter Rcv'd: Mar 8 2019

Biometrics Appointment: Mar 20 2019

Recv'd Interview Appt. Notice: Apr 15 2019 [I-485] (ready to schedule 4/10, scheduled 4/11; old site)

Interview: May 17 2019 [Cleveland, OH]

Approved: May 17 2019  :dance:

Green Card Received: May 24 2019


2021 ROC Mailed: Mar 5 2021 (delivered 3/12)

NOA1: Apr 5 2021 (txt rcvd 4/7, check cashed 4/7, mail rcvd 4/9) 





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Filed: K-1 Visa Country: Wales

US does share information with some countries.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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Filed: Citizen (pnd) Country: Haiti

Most countries offer repatriation flights for their citizens. I’m not sure which countries don’t allow their citizens to go back home. She should check out her embassy. It’s possible the information will be shared with the US.

Our K1 Journey    I-129f

Service Center : Texas Service Center   Transferred? California Service Center on 8/11/14

Consulate : Port au Prince, Haiti             I-129F Sent : 4/14/2014

I-129F NOA1 : 4/24/14                            I-129F NOA2 : 9/10/14

NVC Received : 9/24/14                          NVC Left : 9/26/14

Consulate Received : 10/6/14 CEAC status changed to ready

Packet 3 Received : 10/27/14 packet received by petitioner in USA ( beneficiary never received packet 3)

Medical: 10/30/14 Dr. Buteau                  Medical picked up: 11/3/14

Packet 3 Sent : 11/10/13.. Had to schedule interview appointment and attach confirmation receipt to packet

Interview Date : 12/1/14                           Interview Result : Approved !

Visa Received : 12/10/14 picked up at Jacmel location

US Entry : 12/15/14 Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Apply for Social Security Card: 12/30/14 Connecticut

Marriage: 1/26/15


Adjustment of Status

CIS Office : Hartford                                  Filed : 3/18/15

NOA : 3/25/15                                            Biometrics : 4/15/15

Approved: 8/31/15                                     Received: 9/8/15



CIS Office : Hartford                                  Filed : 3/18/15

NOA : 3/25/15                                            Approved: 6/12/15

Received: 6/20/15


Removal of Conditions I-751

Filed: 8/14/17 at VSC                                 NOA: 8/15/17 Received 8/21 by mail

Biometrics: Dated: 8/25/17   Received 9/2/17   Appointment 9/11/17 

Approved: 10/23/18 -no interview

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Filed: IR-1/CR-1 Visa Country: Canada

The ESTA application on Question 8 refers to 'staying longer than the admission period granted by the US Government'. It does not refer to other countries here. So unless the person has a US overstay, they can say 'no' to this question. However, it is possible that there is some information sharing between the US and the third country, and that could potentially impact the ESTA application, but they won't know until they apply.

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Posted (edited)

The biggest concern for the CBP would be her lack of ties to her homeland. If she can just spend months on end in another country without returning home (I don’t know of any VWP country that has banned its citizens from returning for the whole duration of this), what’s to stop her from doing the same here?  

Edited by JFH

Timeline in brief:

Married: September 27, 2014

I-130 filed: February 5, 2016

NOA1: February 8, 2016 Nebraska

NOA2: July 21, 2016

Interview: December 6, 2016 London

POE: December 19, 2016 Las Vegas

N-400 filed: September 30, 2019

Interview: March 22, 2021 Seattle

Oath: March 22, 2021 COVID-style same-day oath


Now a US citizen!

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