USA B2 Visa

Blinkin8

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Feb 4, 2011
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I'm working in Canada for the 2012 season. I'm flying to Vancouver via LAX and flying home from LAX next April I've been told I need to have a USA B2 Tourist Visa. I intent to visit the states after the season. Anyone here had to do this before? Is it true I really need to get one and not a ESTA?
 

oreo

One of Us
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Jun 15, 2007
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You'll need to get some sort of visa for the transit via LAX. You should apply for a B2, but they'll probably just give you a transit visa for the LAX stop-over.

If they do give you a transit visa and not a full 6-month b2:
Then when you're in Canada, you won't be able to enter the USA until you have less than 90 days remaining before you fly home. You should be able to enter the USA on an ESTA as long as you can prove to the immigration that you're not going to be in the USA (and any other north american or most Caribbean countries) longer than 90 days.

That's the reason you can't enter the USA initially on ESTA. You can only get an ESTA if you're going to be inside the immigration zone (USA, Canada, Mexico et al) for 90 days or less. Since you would be entering the USA in October or November and leaving in April or May, that's longer than 90 days and hence your out of luck.

I hope you're following me. Yes, it does make it difficult. Visa issues = pain.

edit: as an example of how much of a pain the USA visa situation is as a H2B visa employee in the USA, to just go on a holiday after my employment I had to fly to france and back to re-enter the country on an ESTA.
 

Blinkin8

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Feb 4, 2011
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I do follow. I've been talking to my travel agent about it, just needed some second opinions because getting a B2 now before I leave is going to be a pain ($140 and a trip to Sydney). But really if that's the best and really only option then I'll just have to do it.
 

oreo

One of Us
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Well it's the best option (apart from buying a direct Syd-Vancouver flight in the first place...)

An alternative and more expensive option would be
*Fly to Canada via LAX
*Book a flight from Vancouver to any country outside the US immigration zone (tokyo might be the cheapest) - be careful to make sure the flight goes direct and not via the USA.
*Hand in your US immigration stub (in your passport) upon leaving Canada on the flight above
*re-enter on the return leg and you're free and clear from the tick-tocking of that 90-day window and can re-enter the USA on another ESTA at a later point as long as you meet the criteria - being the 90-days in the 'zone' from that moment on.

What a pain!
 

Blinkin8

Hard Yards
Feb 4, 2011
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Yeah it sucks, just been a messy situation. Ideally I'd just book a one-way ticket but they are pretty much the same price as return now. There's an Air Canada flight direct to Vancouver I almost booked but I want to travel and not have to come back to Vancouver to come home and to top that off Air Canada charge $300 to change dates compared to $50 that V Australia (the current flight I'm looking at) will charge.
 

Blinkin8

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Feb 4, 2011
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I went with Air Canada direct. Makes getting there a billion times easier =D
 
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