Join Date: Mar 2010
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Quite sad that you had to go through that at such a difficult moment.
You are perfectly right: I used to work for American computer companies and spent a considerable amount of time in the US.
Once a collegue on a short business trip failed to properly explain the reason for the trip and was given 24 hours to leave the country. The company had to fix the problem.
For this trip I obtained the US visa ahead of time, just to be on the safe side, and plan to travel with the return flight booked and paid.
I know that some people travel with the ESTA and then ask for an extension to go over the 3 months limitation, but I prefer peace of mind even if the visa is an additional cost.
The US immigration is generally worried about people entering as tourists and then remaining as illegal immigrants: at my ripe old age (wrong side of 60s) I probably do not qualify as a possible immigrant but, as you correctly stated, it always pays to have everything in order