Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

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United States of America: 90 Day Visa Waiver and Zero Tolerance

The policy of the United States of America with regard to all visa and overstaying violations is one of “zero tolerance”.  Even if a foreign national stays only one day beyond their visa expiry, this may lead to arrest.  If you are arrested in the USA this could result in imprisonment, deportation and prohibition of entry to the USA for up to 10 years

New Zealand is one of the participating countries of the United States’ Visa Waiver Programme (VWP). This programme allows foreign nationals of participating countries to visit the USA for a period of up to 90 days visa free.  There is no opportunity to have your Visa Waiver extended or changed to another visa type, whilst in the USA.   

If you plan to visit the USA for longer than 90 days, you should contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate to obtain a visa.  

For further information on the USA Visa Waiver Programme and the process for ESTA authorisation – which is required prior to travelling to the USA under VWP – visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection ESTA website. 

The ESTA authorisation confirms that you are eligible to travel to the USA under the Visa Waiver Programme, but this does not guarantee that you are admissible to the USA. USA immigration officials may determine that you are inadmissible under the Visa Waiver Programme or for any other reason under USA law.

Associated Advisories:

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