Canada or no?

So I’ve run into a bit of a dilemma and now need some advice from anyone who has tried this before.

I don’t know whether to visit Canada or not..

Basically here’s the situation: originally I was told I could leave the US during my 30 day travel grace period as long as it was one of the connecting countries like Canada or Mexico. After booking to visit Canada I’m constantly hearing more and more things which now worry me. When I try to re-enter the US during my 30 days, I may not get let back in. I’ll be in my grace period but my visa will technically be expired.

I only need to re-enter to catch my flight back home from NY. I have it already booked and can show proof of hotels I’ll be staying in in the US and my route to the airport. BUT will they let me in on an expired J1? The answer is most likely no.

So my question now is, will they let me back in on an ESTA?

I’m from the UK so eligible for VWP and I’ve already had the ESTA approved but I’m just not sure whether I can return to the USA from Canada on an ESTA without returning to the UK first.

Any advice would help me. I’ve tried emailing all the border places but I get nothing back but jargon that doesn’t answer my questions.

I’m not trying to return to the US to seek work or stay permanently, I’m trying to return just to simply catch my flight home.

Let me know what you know please.

The option for me ATM is to skip Canada and make a detour that will cost me extra pennies but I would love to see Canada but it isn’t worth being sent away at border control.

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