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Judith, Immigration Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 28073
Experience:  34 years as practicing immigration attorney, with non-immigrant and immigrant visa experience.
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I am a UK citizen and currently in the USA on a J1 visa, my

Customer Question

I am a UK citizen and currently in the USA on a J1 visa, my program finished July 1 2016 and my visa in the passport has an expiration date of Aug 01 2016. I am planning to travel to Mexico for 10 days and then re-enter the US on July 20. I would be doing so on a tourist visa, with an ESTA. My reason for re-entry is a friend's wedding and I have a return flight to the UK booked for August 7 2016. My question is would I be allowed re-entry on the VWP, if so does this depend on the border official or how can I guarantee re-entry on this date? Thanks
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Immigration Law
Expert:  Judith replied 3 months ago.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I am delighted to answer your questions today. I have 35 years experience as an immigration lawyer.

There are never any guarantees to anyone to be able to enter but a US citizen.

However, if you have have proof of the wedding such as invitation, pictures of the event you take while in Mexico, any evidence of a job or school waiting for you back in UK, all of that combined with your return ticket booked for 8/7/16 you risk is low for being turned away.

Also if you were renting an apartment while here or have given some kind of written notice of your departure from the US residence to show you have given it up or have given notice to terminate your residence that is also helpful.

However, I am unclear on whether you are going to Mexico for a vacay and coming back for the wedding or why you are leaving if the wedding is here.

Please clarify that for me.

You have 30 days grace that expires on 8/01 for your J. The expiration date of the visa is irrelevant, it is the DS-2019 date for program end date that is controlling.

Are you just going out to Mexico to buy yourself that additional 7 days so you can go to a wedding here?


Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I have all the proof for the wedding and my flight home. The wedding is on the 30th July but I have to travel to get to it from where I am based, it is still in USA. I am going to Mexico for a vacation but also to try and come back on a VWP so I can go to the wedding. If my DS-2019 expired on July 1 would that mean I have to leave by July 30 or 31st because it would be 30 days after my end of DS-2019? If I had to leave on the 30th July I wouldn't be able to go to the wedding so would need to get a VWP.Also, can I apply for my ESTA whilst I am technically on a J1 visa even though I am in my grace period?
Expert:  Judith replied 3 months ago.

The law reads "30 days" Any day or partial day in the US is considered a full day under the law.

The CBP especially at a port of entry from a contiguous country are particularly negative about allowing someone back in who has just completed any nonimmigrant stay, not just a J.

Initially the way you wrote your question it seems as though you were going to Mexico for a wedding Then to re-enter the US after going there for a wedding to collect your belongings and leave makes sense.

But the CBP sees this as you trying to manipulate the law to stay AFTER AN ALLOWABLE grace period to prepare for travel.

They just don't like it and have discretion to refuse you entry.

If you are not subject to the 212e 2 year home residency there was another option for you to have filed for a change of status to B2 to be allowed to stay for the wedding. You cannot do that during the grace period.

I would put your risk level at medium to high. This is summer season, the officers are working longer shifts and handling twice as many applicants for entry, they are hot, tired and grouchy. You are seeing a discretionary entry very close to after the end of your program.

If your program end date was July 1st your grace period started July 2nd so you could depart on July 31st and not be an overstay.

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Expert:  Judith replied 3 months ago.

May I answer anything additional for you to earn your satisfaction. I strive to give good customer service and comprehensive answers. I feel I have failed you. Please tell me what additional information would be helpful.

Expert:  Judith replied 3 months ago.

I try very hard to give good customer service and a satisfactory answer that will keep you from having life long consequences should you be administratively removed at the border in Mexico. That means essentially you are deported without a hearing because ESTA users waive the right to a hearing. If you are administratively removed you are barred fro the US for a period of 5 years. these are very serious results that you need to weigh in making a decision.


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