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America & Canada | Everything about VISA, ESTA, B1/B2 & eTA

Those who are going to travel for a long time and/or overland in the USA and / or Canada In most cases, an ESTA with a maximum duration of three months (90 days) will not suffice. Those who want to stay in the United States for longer than 90 days will therefore have to apply for a so-called B1-B2 tourist/business visa so that you can travel freely for 6 months to a maximum of one year.

But that is not everything. Many people who travel for a long time in America also want to travel through Canada (just like us). You will also have to deal with the Canadian visa rules. In this article we will therefore tell you all about the various options you have as a tourist. We list everything for you. Everything about VISA, ESTA, B1/B2 & eTA for America and Canada.

The ultimate tour of North America

This article is part of a large one-year tour the United States en Canada in 2022, with a Dutch 4×4 camper that we shipped ourselves… It is a bucket list worthy and an once in a lifetime experience that will never be forgotten.

The ultimate roadtrip route through America and Canada | Wereldreizigers.nl
The ultimate roadtrip route through America and Canada | Wereldreizigers.nl

We wrote almost 100 articles about this ultimate tour. Below is a handy overview in 5 expandable categories.

1. Preparation
2. Highlights & Itineraries
3. Cities & places of interest (AZ)
4. National Parks & Monuments (AZ)
5. Plan your vacation to America here

Visa options for America

Below we list the various visa options for America for you. From a simple ESTA to a B1/B2 visa for long-term travel up to one year.

Statue of Liberty, New York
Statue of Liberty, New York

Apply for ESTA

What exactly is an ESTA and who is it for? An ESTA is intended for citizens of the EU, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland. The ESTA allows citizens of these countries to travel around the United States visa-free for 90 days.

The entire procedure is digital and you will therefore also receive your ESTA digitally (via email) when it has been approved. You then print this out and take it with you when you fly to America. Piece of cake!

Tip:: Are you going on holiday to America? Then in almost all cases will be the default ESTA for the United States are already enough for you. You can request this quickly and easily online at VisaBuitenland.nl. The average delivery time is three days, so you quickly know where you stand.

Apply for B1/B1 visa

Are you planning to go overlanding or make another long-term trip in America? Then you probably want to stay in the United States for longer than 90 days. Those who want to stay in the country for more than 90 days have a B1 / B2 tourist & business visa necessary. A B1/B2 visa for the US can be obtained from the US embassy in Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, Munich or Berlin.

D160 form

The visa process for America is unfortunately old-fashioned and cumbersome and starts with filling out a D160 form + paying 160 dollars (per person). To start with you follow this link, the link takes you directly to the official government page of the US where you can start your visa application.

Note: if you thought that they already asked a lot of you when applying for an ESTA, get your chest wet. By filling in the D160 form you are just like that three hours on.

They really want to know everything about you. Think of your online presence, travel history, education, family members and employer(s). They also ask if you are a terrorist, if you trade in organs and/or people, if you know how to make bombs and more of those bizarre questions.

Make sure that you fill in everything truthfully, no matter how logical it may be. Take your time and do it accurately. Errors in the forms can cause a lot of delay and even lifelong refusal to enter the country. Even if this goes wrong accidentally.

Malou in Miami | Apply for a visa for America and Canada
Malou in Miami | Apply for a visa for America and Canada

Make an appointment at the Embassy

When you have successfully completed and paid for the D160 form, you must make an appointment at the American Embassy, ​​for example the one in Amsterdam. There you will have to schedule a 1 on 1 interview (also via this link). A consular employee of the American embassy will put you to the test to see what your purpose is during this trip in America and whether you do not want to stay there secretly. You can also apply for your visa in Belgium or Germany (more info at the bottom of the article). These are the three official websites of the respective US embassies.

If your application goes smoothly, your visa will be issued. You will have to leave your passport and it will then be sent to your home within two weeks, with the necessary papers and stamps.

Forrest Gump Road, Monument Valley | Apply for a visa for America and Canada
Forrest Gump Road, Monument Valley | Apply for a visa for America and Canada

Important to know: A B1 / B2 visa for the United States is Valid for 10 year. This does not mean that you can stay in the US for 10 years, this stays for 6 months up to a maximum of one year. However, the validity means that you can arrange your visa well in advance and then plan your trip when and how you want. For example, you can travel to the US for 4 months (total of 12 months) for three years, as long as you do not exceed the 12 months (maximum duration of visa) or 10 years (maximum validity of visa) going.

Long waiting times and alternative options

Unfortunately, applying for a visa for the United States in recent years has not gone as you would like. Online payment and completion of the D160 form is still possible, but then comes the biggest challenge: making an appointment at the American Embassy in Amsterdam, Brussels, Frankfurt, Munich or Berlin.

Tip:: I mention the embassies in Germany above for a reason: they are possible alternatives if it is not possible to schedule an appointment in time in the Netherlands and/or Belgium.

In 2021 and 2022 it has proved almost impossible to obtain a visa for the US within a reasonable period of time (say 1 to 3 months). Fortunately, things look a lot better in 2023: currently (January 2023) the waiting time is only a few days!

Bison in Yellowstone National Park | Apply for a visa for America and Canada
Bison in Yellowstone National Park | Apply for a visa for America and Canada

Move appointment

Tip:: Are the waiting times very long? Then schedule an appointment as soon as possible, even if you can't go for another year. After that you can try to reschedule the appointment. I explain how that works below.

The image below shows the message you see when you try to schedule or change an appointment at the Embassy in Amsterdam: there are no options available. Not even in a year, everything is full!

But who, like us, perseveres and daily (yes, really) logs in to see if there are new appointment opportunities, you might be in luck. Places become available regularly in the short term. This happens when, for example, they hire extra staff, or someone cancels an appointment. So it took us several weeks. We checked daily if we could reschedule the appointment! After 4 weeks we were lucky, we could suddenly go to Berlin at short notice! More information about that below.

Apply for your visa in another country

Is it taking too long in Amsterdam and do you want to look at other options? Then you can possibly apply for your American visa in another country. For those wondering if it's allowed: yes, it's allowed. You may apply for a visa for America in another country, for example in Belgium or Germany. But it does have some hooks and eyes.

First of all, you must be physically in the country for the visit to the Embassy. Your passport will also be sent by post with the visa stuck in it afterwards. The only problem is: they don't send them 'abroad'. So if you apply in Germany, you will have to provide a German address where you can collect your passport afterwards. Fortunately, we had a family member living in Germany who could receive our passport.

The Dutch Wereldreizigers.nl Grand Teton 4x4 RV | Apply for a visa to America
The Dutch Wereldreizigers.nl Grand Teton 4×4 RV | Apply for a visa to America

In addition, you must also have 'ties' with the country where you are visiting the Embassy. I found this a rather vague concept, so I decided to contact the customer service of the US Embassy in Germany. I specifically asked if I, as a resident of the Netherlands, could apply for a visa in Germany or America.

After e-mailing back and forth with customer service from ustraveldocs.com ([email protected]), she explained again that normally is not possible (exceptions left), but at the same time that they are much more flexible nowadays. They do this to relieve the other embassies, such as those of Amsterdam.

See one of the emails I received back from the US government below:

email from the US embassy

Tip: Visa Appointment Wait Times

Once I had that in writing, I proceeded to make a deal across the border. In both Amsterdam and Brussels it was still said that I could only go after '999 days', so I went to Germany.

In Germany, waiting times in Munich and Frankfurt were also quite considerable (2 to 3 months). Fortunately, there were still a few places available in Berlin, only 3 to 4 weeks later.

Tip: If you want to see for yourself what the waiting times are, you can go to this page see for yourself what theVisa Appointment Wait Timesfor US embassies around the world.

You enter an embassy of your choice and you will immediately see what the average waiting time is there. Currently it is 285 days for Amsterdam.

Visa Appointment Wait Times | US Embassy, ​​apply for a visa

Tip: Germany has three US embassies and/or consulates. You can apply for a visa at all three. These are Berlin (embassy), Frankfurt (consulate) and Munich (consulate).

Payment cannot be converted

The American embassy in Germany is completely separate from the embassy in Amsterdam (and that also applies to all embassies in other countries). You can therefore pay the paid fee (160 dollars / 144 euros per person) for making an appointment at an embassy in a certain country, never transfer it to another country. You would think so, but alas…

You can, of course, avoid this by first looking at the waiting times per country and then immediately submitting your application in the country with the shortest waiting time.

D160 transfer form

Fortunately, your D160 form is possible be transferred to another embassy in another country. You can add the code you receive after completing the D160 form to your new account. And speaking of your new account, for the German embassy you also have to create a new account on a completely different website than that of the Netherlands… For Belgium, ditto. Each country has its own US Embassy website that looks and works differently. Not nice, but it's no different... Below I've added the three websites again:

Visa options for Canada

While in America you are 'only' allowed to travel visa-free for 90 days, in Canada it is 6 months. This is of course very pleasant for world travelers like us. In Canada they call the visa-free travel form the etcYou can also request this online.

Chris in Banff National Park | Apply for a visa for America and Canada
Chris in Banff National Park | Apply for a visa for America and Canada

apply for eTA

For citizens of the EU, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland, Canada allows 6 months of free travel. The form is called the eTA in Canada and is here can be found online. There are some conditions attached to the Canadian eTA.

  • You are traveling to Canada By plane.
  • Stays maximum six months inCanada.
  • You are traveling to Canada for vacation or transit.

Another important condition is that you have one return ticket or other ticket with which you will also leave Canada.

eTA not suitable for border crossing

At first I thought we would simply get away with an eTA. We are not planning to stay in Canada for longer than 6 months. But because we by land traveling from the US to Canada with our motorhome, we cannot claim the eTA. After all, we don't just fly to Canada.

Those traveling to Canada overland from America have two options: one Tourist Visa or simply drive to the border crossing and ask what the conditions are for entering the country.

Apply for tourist visa

Those who want to be sure of entry to Canada and/or who want to travel in Canada for more than 6 months will have to apply for a Tourist visa. This visa is issued to individuals who wish to temporarily visit Canada for tourism purposes. You can get the Tourist Visa for Canada apply here.

Malou cycling in Vancouver | Apply for a visa for America and Canada
Malou cycling in Vancouver | Apply for a visa for America and Canada

eTA / Obtain Visa at border crossing

As mentioned above, you can also drive from America with a European passport to the Canadian border and try to enter the country that way. We also did this (consciously, by the way), because in 2021 and 2022 due to all corona measures and restrictions, different rules and conditions were drawn up every few months. We found this difficult to oversee during our trip.

We therefore drove without any preparation and without filling in anything with our 4×4 camper to the Canadian border. After a short conversation with the Customs agent, we received a form that we had to fill out. This form actually only related to the corona vaccinations!

Border crossing America - Canada
Border crossing America – Canada

After filling in our vaccination info online (via the QR code on the form) we went back to the border crossing again. Some questions were asked about our plans in Canada. After a short explanation about our tour, we were allowed to drive on.

In short: if you travel by land and don't feel like making hugely extensive visa applications for Canada in advance, you can also just drive to the border and try it that way. We also hear from other overlanders that this goes well in almost all cases.

Visa hopping in America and Canada

There are also overlanders who 'visa-hopping' in America and Canada. That actually means that they do not apply for a visa and simply try to enter at the border. in America you always need at least an ETA that is valid for 90 days. But you can apply for this ESTA several times.

Basically this works as follows:

  • You arrive in America on an ESTA (which is valid for 90 days).
  • You start your tour of up to 90 days in America.
  • You enter Canada via land at a border crossing within 90 days at the latest.
  • You then travel around Canada for a maximum of 6 months.
  • In the meantime, you are applying for a new ESTA for America.
  • You will return to America on a new 90-day ESTA.
The World Travelers camper between towering Redwoods | Apply for a visa for America and Canada
The World Travelers camper between towering Redwoods | Apply for a visa for America and Canada

Which is good to know: getting a 2nd ESTA is never guaranteed. There is also a rule that after obtaining an ESTA that is valid for 90 days, you must leave the country for at least 91 days after your visit to America.

This is a rule that is not very strictly enforced. There are several overlanders who have managed to return to America on a new ESTA after only a few weeks in Canada.

Remark: It seems that the US customs have become quite lenient in recent years for Overlanders visiting both countries. Often people also travel to Alaska, so you first have to drive through Canada and again when you come back.


We are now back in the Netherlands after traveling for almost a year in 2022 in America and Canada with our own Dutch 4×4 camper. More information about shipping, insurance and of course dozens of bogs with thousands of tips, we wrote spread over almost 100 articles. Below you will find a summary. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them in the comments. Have fun reading!

Chris and the Wereldreizigers.nl camper on the west coast of America
Chris and the Wereldreizigers.nl camper on the west coast of America

The ultimate tour of North America

This article is part of a large one-year tour the United States en Canada in 2022, with a Dutch 4×4 camper that we shipped ourselves… It is a bucket list worthy and an once in a lifetime experience that will never be forgotten.

The ultimate roadtrip route through America and Canada | Wereldreizigers.nl
The ultimate roadtrip route through America and Canada | Wereldreizigers.nl

We wrote almost 100 articles about this ultimate tour. Below is a handy overview in 5 expandable categories.

1. Preparation
2. Highlights & Itineraries
3. Cities & places of interest (AZ)
4. National Parks & Monuments (AZ)
5. Plan your vacation to America here

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Owner or Wereldreizigers.nl | Discover the world!
– Traveled 3+ months per year, 10 years in a row
– Traveled a year in USA & Canada in 2022

Stubborn & decisive world traveller
– Life is short, make the most out of it in literal sense.
– Never take no for an answer.
– If you think about it, DO IT!


  • Inglese:
    very cool post!
    Question – we are planning a 2 week trip in Eastern America / Southeast Canada. We are flying to New York and plan to spend about 5 days of the 2 weeks in Canada.
    Now my question – can we just go over to Canada with our ESTA visa that we have for America or do we need any documents in advance? Thanks in advance! 🙂

    sehr cooler Beitrag!
    Frage – we plan a 2 week trip in Ostamerika / South East Canada. We will fly to New York and plan to spend 2 weeks in Canada for about 5 days.
    Would you like to receive your ESTA Visa, how do you want to travel in America after traveling in Canada or do you want to receive your documents? Thank you in Voraus! 🙂

  • Hello, I have a question, please. While I am in America, I can enter Canada for tourism to see the Niagara Falls for two days on a B1 B2 American visa؟

  • Hey Thomas,

    We converted it to Berlin, I don't think I could leave it alone, but I'm not very sure anymore. For applying in Germany or Belgium you first have to go through the process there again, they use other websites for this (see links in article: https://www.wereldreizigers.nl/wereldwijd/visum-esta-eta-b1-b2-amerika-canada/#D160_formulier_overzetten). Afterwards you can indeed enter a different location at select location.

  • Hi Chris,

    Thank you very much for the quick response. Did you then leave the application in Amsterdam or did you cancel the interview and apply for it in Brussels? You mean the handling in Brussels I assume?

    When I make a new application via the ds-160 form, do I have to indicate: Select a location where you will be applying for this visa: Belgium?

  • Hey Thomas,

    As soon as you transfer your application to another country, you will have to pay the $160 pp again. We did this at the time. So it is possible, but it costs money. Regarding processing: after the interview, there is a maximum of 10 working days for processing and sending your visa. We had it back after 2 working days.


  • Hi,

    I have a question about applying for a visa in Belgium or Germany. Can you apply twice? I made an application in Amsterdam and my first opportunity was in February 2. Fortunately, I have now found a time slot that allows me to go "already" on May 2024th. Now I would like to see if I can go to Brussels earlier, but leave my appointment in Amsterdam.

    My last question: how long would it take after the interview to get word about your visa? I will be leaving on June 6…

  • Hi Lucy,

    We went into Canada as well after 5 months in the US on a B2 visa, then went back into the US after traveling in Canada. At the border they simply asked us what our plans were and we explained that we travel trough the US for another 6 months, asking for an extension and explaining that we fly back from the US and that we ship our vehicle back to Europe from the US as well. They had some other questions about money, but in the end we received the extension and could stay another 6 months, so 12 months in total, on the same B2 visa.

  • Inglese:
    Hello everyone, after everything I've read so far, I'm unsure. We are in the US on a B2 visa and wanted to travel here for 5 months, then add 3 months to Canada and spend the rest of the month (6 are max allowed) in the US. Now it sounds to me like you can't split the 6 months. But you write about a possible stay of max. 12 months. Do I have to/can I apply for the extension or do I just drive to the border and hope there. Our flight is going back after 9 months in total.
    Thank you for your help!

    Hello sister, nach allem was ich bisher gelesen habe, bin ich verunsichert. Wir sind mit einem B2 Visa in the USA und wollten 5 Monate reisen hieren, dann 3 Monate Kanada anhängen und den restlichen Monat (6 sind Max erlaubt) in den USA. Jetzt hört es sich für mich so an, as könnte man die 6 Monate nieces. Ihr schreibt aber von max. 12 Monaten möglichem Aufenthalt. Muss/kann ich die Erweiterung beantragen oder fahre ich einfach an die Grenze und hoffe dort. Unser Flug geht nach 9 Monaten insgesamt zurück.
    Thank you for your help!

  • @Jacoline I missed your comment earlier. I don't think your plan will work, because with that ETA from Canada you will not enter the US, it is really only intended for Canada. You must have at least an ESTA or visa for the US. They really won't let you in without one of those two…

  • I received a question from someone who asked: is the VISA a multiple-entry one? Can you leave the USA and return on the same VISA? The Answer is yes, but there are some limitations. I'll copy my reply to that person from another page below because it might be valuable to other readers.
    The B1/B2 VISA is valid for 10 years and you can stay in the US for the maximum of 1 year in one go. You can go in and out of the country, but please note that every time you do that you risk something. This is because the immigration officer will decide right there on the spot, how many months you'll get when you try to get back in. And we've heard from numerous other travelers, that they sometimes just get a few weeks or months because the immigration officer does not trust the plan or thinks you don't have sufficient funds to take care of yourself for such a long period of time .

    Be prepared, have a plan and show it to them. Make sure you have enough funds, that is important for them as well. We got 6 months at first when we arrived in the USA, but we could have gotten a year right there and then at the airport in New York City. The officer was ready to stamp for a year until we told him that we would go to Canada in summer as well. So he decided to give us 6 months instead, that was back in March. We then went to Canada for 2 months in the summer and returned to the USA just two weeks ago. We explained our plan once again to another immigration officer, that we plan to head back east and ship the vehicle back to Europe 6 months from now. After some questioning, he gave us another 6 months, totaling 1 year.

    The immigration officer did urge us to understand that we cannot stay any longer, because we've been in the states a full year on that VISA. We would have to go back home for an extended period of time, before retuning again, if ever. What 'extended period time' means in definite months or years, we have no idea. He wouldn't clarify.

    I would assume however that we would have to be out of the US for at least a year, before they would let us in again. The VISA remains valid though, it's 10 years. So technically you can just keep trying, even after you've had a full year, but it will never be clear how much time you'll get when entering, if any.

    Hope this answers some of your question(s).

  • Hi! how interesting to read this! we want to go to America for six months next year, but probably won't manage to arrange a visa before that time either.

    We were thinking of the following option,

    Fly to Canada with an ETA, (with which you can travel for six months) then immediately cross the border to America and then travel there for six months and then ensure that you fly back to the Netherlands within six months.

    Anyone have experience with that? I can't find anything about the rules regarding length of stay in America from Canada.

  • Hi Marco and Miriam,

    Great!! It is then best to start arranging your visa now, because this is a lengthy process, but the good news is that it is valid for 10 years. As soon as you have the visa in your passport, you have 10 years to travel to the US. Then you arrange things at home, such as rental.

    And yes, Malou has a sabbatical, I work online (independently). Malou has had an employer's statement drawn up in English that she will return to NL after one year. This was not necessary, but it was done as a bonus.

    What America finds especially important is 1: money. Do you have enough money to stay here for a long time, and can you prove it (screenshots, statements, stocks, parents, etc.). And 2. When are you going to leave the country, and do you actually have reasons to leave America. They're just afraid you'll stay. If you can clearly demonstrate what your plan is (for example, I assume that you want to visit several countries), then you will be fine. Be clear in a day and date when you leave the US again.

    Good luck arranging!



  • We want to quit our job and sell our house, only then can we realize our dream trip. Our idea is to travel through North America with a camper, but we are afraid not to be able to get a B1/B2 visa, because then we would no longer have any connection with NL, even though my friend's children live here. Have you been able to agree something with an employer or have you rented out a house or something? Tips for us maybe? Thank you!

  • Hi Chris & Malou,

    I am planning to go on holiday to New York, now I have already arranged my esta for that and it has also been approved. During that holiday in New York I also plan to go to Montreal for a weekend, but not by flying but by bus. Now it is only very unclear to me whether I should apply for a visa. So an eta is not necessary because I am not going to fly, but do I need something else? when i follow the steps on the canadian government site to see if i need an eta it says i only need a valid passport. it's not so clear to me anymore. Do you perhaps know more about this?


  • We get stressed from reading your travel program.
    There is so much beauty to see and visit in North America… for that you don't have to cover such an extremely long distance in a short time and therefore spend a large part of your trip 'driving'.
    Distances are great, once in Canada, there are no more highways on the route to Alaska and even a very long stretch before the border consists of bad road that you only move slowly (permafrost problems).
    Perhaps it is an option to explore the western United States for 90 days, then travel on to Canada. The kids take over the car in Canada and drive it back to your friends or put the car in a bonded warehouse in Canada until you have time to travel to Alaska.
    Currently in the United States you have to book almost all national parks, national monuments, state parks, camping places, ... in advance, otherwise you will not get in ... due to the large crowds and Corona rules. We hope this will improve again after the pandemic. But something to keep in mind at the moment.
    You can find many experiences on our travel blog: http://www.herlindemarc.com

  • Good I read all.
    Unfortunately we only have 5 months for USA /Canada Alaska. But you're left with those 90 days.
    Our plan is as follows.
    Fly to SAN Francisco, a friend lives there. Where we will stay for a week So we have an address for mail, etc.
    We have already arranged (bought) a bare American Dodge Van that we simply furnish with a bed and some boxes. Of course V8 with a lot of gas guzzling, but it cost almost nothing to buy.
    Maybe in our name or in his name. We still have to find out about the possibilities and impossibilities with insurance and cross the border.
    At the end of the holiday, we will leave it or sell it again.
    The itinerary is as follows. Please comment if this is possible.
    Fly to SAN Francisco
    With the “RV” from California / Nevada / Utah / Idaho. And then bridge the 4km to Alaska in 3000 days from the Canadian border. And then on day 90 of Alaska to drive back into Canada to further explore Canada at a slower pace.
    We leave the campervan in Vancouver Canada, where our children will fly there, who will then travel for another 5 weeks and deliver the campervan back to my friend in San Francisco.
    So for me an ESTA for the USA for 90 days and for the days after in Canada as I read a Canadian visa and no ETA because we enter the country by road.
    Is this correct?

  • I'm curious if this will work. I don't understand the part about Canada. You can normally just cross the border from the US by land. You don't need an ETA, but basically nothing else either. The alternative idea of ​​going to Canada and then back again, sorry but that doesn't work. On the one hand, an ESTA is valid for 2 years, so you don't have to apply for a new one, but going to a neighboring country and then returning from there 3 months later is simply not allowed, this is considered circumventing the visa requirement.

  • Thanks for all the tips, I'll definitely keep these in mind when we cross the border into Canada and return later.

    But it worked! We can contact the Embassy in Berlin and the article has been considerably updated. So it seems that we will get a visa arranged before we leave. Let's hope they agree to 12 months 🙂

  • We're just telling you how we experienced it during our 4 1/2 years traveling on the North American continent (with a B1/B2 visa), we've also heard many different stories along the way. We always have to wait and see how such a border crossing will go.
    Our big advantage is our age. They believe that we don't come here to work.
    In the US embassy we were told the theory, we were told that in principle with our B1/B2 visa we could get another 6 months visa after a few days, nowhere is a 'waiting period' mentioned. They pointed out to us that it is very important that you are honest and tell the right story. However, they were also informed that the migration officer at the border is in charge. So you are completely dependent on that person and it showed.
    In practice, they asked at the border when we last arrived in the North American continent, they expected us to return 'home' at least once per period.
    Prepare yourself well for all possible questions, make sure you can show a travel plan, know your previous US entry and exit dates / border posts, they always ask for a first overnight address (camping), ...
    Choose a small border post when crossing, there is usually a little more flexible.
    We once experienced real problems at the border, even with a B1/B2 visa. There was a discussion between the migration officials themselves, because there was no reason to refuse us. But that one man stubbornly persisted, he reproached us that we were not well prepared ... Finally he found the solution, so as not to lose face ... we were allowed to enter the country, but the vehicle was refused. We were welcome again, provided we could provide him with proof from the Canadian migration service that we would be allowed to return with the camper within 6 months and thus be out of the US in time, only then would we be allowed to continue. We returned and asked for such a document at the Canadian border post, they did not want to give it to us because a lot can happen in 6 months (understandable). According to them, the US was not allowed to refuse our vehicle, it was completely fine for Canada and the US (these countries work together for this). We were tired of the discussion and returned to Canada for a few months, after which we were allowed to enter the US without any problem via a small border post.
    With a 6-month visa, you can cross the border several times without being difficult, the time continues to run until the end of those 6 months, so you don't get another 6 months at that time. The last time you use the 6 month visa, you have to hand over the visa document you received. At that time, this visa must not have expired yet. If you don't hand it in, you will not be deregistered from the country and thus considered 'illegal' in the country, even if you are no longer there.

  • Thanks for the tip, someone else already mentioned this. We could indeed choose to ship the camper to Halifax (Canada) instead of Baltimore in the US and then cross the border to the US by land . The only downside is that we will be in the North in the middle of winter, but it might make the rest of the trip a lot easier. If I really don't succeed in getting a VISA, I will definitely consider this.

  • Hi Herlinde and Marc,

    I've heard so many different stories that I just don't know anymore. Some succeed, others don't. As you say, it's entirely up to who you get in front of you, and whether that person has slept well haha.

    The fact is that we run a great risk if we go with an ESTA and drive into Canada after 3 months, we may not be able to go back and we will be stuck in Canada… And that while we want to travel in America for 9 months and only in want to be in Canada during the summer months.

    I don't see driving to Guatemala as an option either...

    In the meantime I am trying to get another appointment at the American Embassy in Berlin, to get a VISA. I had to pay 2 euros a second time without any guarantee that it will work. Currently the 288st appointment option in Berlin is February 1th, however my payment still needs to be approved before I can commit it.

    In Germany I couldn't pay with a credit card, only cash or bank transfer, which can take another 5 days. I hope this goes quickly so that hopefully I can go to Berlin before March 1. Yesterday the 1st possibility was again mid-March, which is too late for us. It really goes in all directions and the dates for appointments are increasing very quickly.

    It will be exciting in any case. Never experienced anything like this, what a bizarre 3rd world process this is

  • Addition to our previous comment:
    When you travel overland into the US, you do not need an ESTA.
    With a B1/B2 visa you do not need an ESTA, even if you are flying to the US.
    The same goes for Canada, if you fly there you need an ETA, not overland. You can easily get a visa for Canada at the border for 6 months. They ask few questions about this, an extension is easy to get if you re-enter the country within that period via a national border and the remaining time is too limited for your travel plan.

  • We have 4 years of experience traveling the North American continent with our Canadian vehicle.
    Your proposed plan has little chance of success.
    In order to travel for a second period in the United States, you must first have left the North American continent. So you have to either return home first or at least travel to Guatemala or Belize. Very exceptionally, you can enter the country a second time, even with the B1/B2 visa, so that you always receive a visa for 6 months, with which you can cross the border several times, as long as this period lasts.
    Everything depends on the person standing in front of you. The younger you are, the harder they do. People are afraid that you will come and work there.
    You also have to take into account when you ship your vehicle to the North American continent and you do that via the United States, then your vehicle will be registered and the vehicle can stay for a maximum of 1 year. If you ship your vehicle via Canada, your vehicle will not be registered and the 1 year period will not apply.
    Have fun traveling,

  • Hi Nele,

    Thank you! And what a cool plan you have! Just like you, we also ship our camper with Sea-Bridge to Baltimore. I've approached several insurance companies why Thum Insurance and Progressive, the others I don't know off the head right now, but I'll list that in a new blog shortly.

    It is indeed very challenging in corona time, but we won't just let ourselves be stopped 🙂 For example, I am also working on the American embassy in Germany, where we might still be able to get our visa in time.

    Another (new) joker is that the 2nd vaccinations for the EU now 'expire' after 9 months, the US will probably use the same period. So getting that booster shot on time is also exciting.

    Can we follow you somewhere? We are also very curious about your trip.

    Regards, Chris & Malou

  • Hi, super interesting to read your experiences. We also leave on a tour on February 6th and ship our camper with Seabridge to Baltimore to start a journey through America and then through Central America, towards South America to end after a year in Buenos Aries from where our camper is shipped back will be sent to Antwerp.
    We applied for our visa in October and have the same problems. I was then able to make an appointment on May 31 in Brussels and I have been trying to bring it forward ever since, without success. We will probably also leave with an ESTA and then cross the border into Mexico earlier than planned.
    Which insurance companies have you already contacted? I have yet to sort this out, but Seabridge, the organization we ship the RV with, recommended Thum Insurance Agency, LLC.
    Very curious about your further preparations. In corona times it is a huge challenge to prepare everything. We also had to look for an airline that wanted to take our dog with us. Most such as KLM do not transport animals over 8 kilos due to corona. Fortunately, Air France still does, so we fly from Paris.
    Best of luck!

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