I overstayed my Visa in the USA. How can I now Return to the US?

Q. I came to USA in 2001 on B1/B2 visa along with my wife and a son. My second son was born in the USA in 2003.

I had applied for my Canada Permanent Residence  and we all came to Canada by car in May 2009. I overstayed my Visa in the USA. Now, all of my business, my house is still in the US. Is there any way for me to go back to US?  I had 5 years multiple visa issued in 1997, in Delhi India. Will the US Consulate have a record of my  overstay in the US? If I will apply for B1/B2 again from Vancouver on my new passport, it will be a problem?


A. Without knowing how long you overstayed your status in the US, it is difficult to know what your rights are in terms of returning to the US. Generally if you overstayed in the US for 180 days or more, you are are subject to an automatic 3 year bar. If you subsequently apply for a US Visitor Visa (B-1/B-2), you have to disclose on the application form your overstay in the US. If you fail to do so, you could be charged with misrepresentation and be subject to a 5 year bar or more. However, there is hope! If you are subject to an overstay bar, you can still apply for a Waiver of inadmissibility to the US and be admitted despite your overstay in the US. The US Waiver process would delay your US Visa application but it is often the solution for applicants with prior immigration violations.

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About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

93 Responses to “I overstayed my Visa in the USA. How can I now Return to the US?”

  1. DANIEL says:

    I came to the US on seaman visa (Feb 2007) but i landed and i worked illegally in various places and i was arrested (Aug 2008) in Chicago in a Convenient store for shop lift under 300$ and my case was expunged in early 2010. After that i took an police clearance certificate from FBI that says NO RECORD FOUND, but i left the country on April 2012 without any issues.
    But i applied for B1/B2 visa with another national passport bu my visa was denied because of my overstays in the past more than 5 years, so i am in 10 years ban since April 2012 so how can i get waiver of inadmissibility to the USA since i am not spouse of citizen or PR or anything? please advise me!
    Thanking you,

    • owen says:

      Hello Daniel,

      Thanks for the question. We help many people obtain waivers and then subsequently enter the US, and you should definitely seek the assistance of our experienced lawyers as you will have to demonstrate that you don’t pose any sort of danger to the United States and that there is a compelling reason that you should be permitted to enter. Please see for more information.


  2. dave says:

    i arrived in usa 2011overstayed by 2yrs , meet a loverly lady during my 180days, so decided to stay,. had to come home because a family matter now cant get back because of a 10yr ban , but we wanna marry . . . can i visit to marry or can she visit here to marry on a certain type of visa. miss my lady , she visits me when she can . . . can i visit on a visitors visa ?

  3. cintia says:

    Hi there,

    I need to know whether I can return to the USA after overstaying my turist visa. I entered USA in 2000 as a turist and stayed for 4 years, I had 2 children there and decided to came back to my country of origin since I could not get a legal permission to stay. I am in my country now and after 10 years I want to apply to a visa but I wonder how my previous situation will influence, what can I do ?

  4. Oko says:

    Dear lawyers,

    I visited USA in2003 with b1 /b2 visa with 3 months entry. I applied for extension while i was in the States, but had ot received a respond. Just a week before my entry permit ended i gave birth and could not pay my hospital fees. I returned to my country 3 months later than my entry permit allowed me to stay in States. My visa was valid for 10 years, so i wanted to visit USA once gain, but was returned from the border.

    I also applied for a business visa in 2 years, but got rejected.

    1. Does it mean i overstayed inthe USA even though i had applied for extension of entry permit?

    2. Is it my overstay a problem for me to apply for another visa to USA?

    3. Or, isit the fact that i gave birh on business visa and could not pay the fees?

    4. What should i do now? Can i submit waiver of inadmissibility? Should i pay the hospital fees now?

    My husband is in the USA on a student visa since a week aho. I ould like o join my husband in the USA. Please advise me. Thank you very. Much. Oko.

    • owen says:

      Hello Oko,

      If you were in the U.S. without legal status at any point in time that would mean that you overstayed your visa. An overstay would definitely be problematic if you wanted to re-enter the US, and you should definitely seek the advice of one of our experienced lawyers who would be able to assist you in completing a successful waiver. Please refer to for more information.


  5. Piya9 says:

    I ended up staying 4 days more than the date on my stamp for B1/B1, due to one family friend’s illness and flight ticket unavailability during the new year rush dates. Its been 7 months and I wish to re-enter. I sent an email to the consulate asking if my visa is void, and they replied that I can travel as long as I have the visa but it is not a guarantee of entry. I am not sure if I should re-apply for the visa as they didn’t say it is void. Should I travel?
    Should I go to the embassy in person, apologize and state my reasons and clear the situation?
    I am very confused. Please help

    • owen says:

      Hello Piya,

      Thank you for the question. If you overstayed your visa, then that visa is normally considered to be void by immigration officials, and it may be necessary to apply for a Waiver from a US consulate prior to attempting to enter the United States. This is something we can definitely assist you with, as we have helped many of our clients successfully obtain waivers in the past. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions.


  6. Olga says:

    Hi Michael

    I had a B1/B2 visa which was issued in 1997. I was sent by my employer for training and arrived in the U.S. on October 12, 1997. My I-94 was stamped at the port of entry and was deemed valid until December 30, 1997. After one month my employer and I decided to change my B1/B2 to Student Visa. I applied for visa in November, 1997. It was not easy as I though.
    I was denied when I applied US student visa. Re- applied second time and received my file number. I had been waiting for my student visa to be answered for 3 years. Nothing! All I heard: “Your case number is still pending administrative processing.” In 2001 I left the U.S. before decision was made. In my case I overstayed in the US for 3 years and I am subject to an automatic 10 year bar.
    In 2013, I got Canadian citizenship. My 10 year bar is over. If I present my passport as a Canadian, will it automatically say that I have a ten year bar from 2001? What is my chance to re-enter the US as a visitor? I am on long-term disability in Canada.

    • owen says:

      Hello Olga,

      Thank you for the question. Once your 10 year bar is over, then you will not be inadmissible to the US on the basis of any previous immigration violation. As long as there are no additional factors that would make you inadmissible at the present time (i.e. you don’t have a criminal history) then you should be able to enter the US using the normal visa options that are available. Please fill out our free online assessment so that we may help you fulfill your goal of entering the US


  7. Rick says:


    I went to US in 2005 with my girlfriend. We got married there, had 2 kids, and return to our born country in 2011. We had different passports, and my wife different name because of our marriage. We didn’t gave our I-94 back. Now I know that even if they don`t have our return date, they will see no returning date, and that will raise red flags. My question is, what should I do now if I want visit US?? I need to apply for a new visa, should I apply for the waiver of Inadmissibility first??? If I’m extremelly lucky and get a visa, will I be able to go with my kids(US Citizen) ??

    Thanks in advance..

    • Hi Rick
      This is a complicated situation. If you came to the US as a visitor and did not have long term status, you then overstayed which means you could be subject to a Bar. If this is the case you may need a waiver of inadmissibility. You can contact our US Visa team for help.
      Michael Niren

  8. Damir says:


    I did overstay around 9-10 month by j-1 visa, which I do regret of course, in 2010. Soon my 3-year ban expires, I would like to apply for tourist visa currently working at well-enough payed job, thus I have the following questions:

    1. Counting overstay period, does only illegal stay counted as overstay or it regards the whole time of staying in the US including that of legal?

    2. What are my chances if I would apply right upon expiration of 3 years ban?

    Thank you

  9. Michael Niren says:

    Hi All. Just to let you know that we are now accepting online appointment bookings. This mean that you if wish to speak with us about your case, you can book an appointment securely online.

    Just go to

    Michael Niren

  10. my says:

    I was denied when I applied US tourist visa. They asked me how did my brothers go to the US and I replied as Tourist and eventually settled their documents and become immigrant and they get married also in the US. Can you help me how to resolve this issue and if I reapply again what is the best thing to say? thank you

    • Michael Niren says:

      Hello My
      This is a common issue. You are “guilty by association” which really isn’t fair. Your case should be judged on its own merit and not what your other family members may have done. You can always re-apply but if you do I would make it very clear in your application that you intend to stay in the US for only a temporary purpose. This isn’t an easy one.

  11. Csaba says:

    Hello Mr Niren!

    Thanks for your reply. This case happened exactly 3 years ago, but like I said, after being deported i was broken and i thought i will never enter to the States again. Times are changing, and i changed my mind :) so all I need to do is just apply for a US Waiver program again, and we will see?
    Thank you!
    Sincerely, Csaba

  12. Csaba says:

    Hello Mr Niren!

    My little story is quite simple. I went to the States with my best friend by holding a visitor visa (you can stay only 3 months), To make my letter short, what really happened is our visa has expired with 2 days already, when we went to Florida have a last fun before we enter back to Europe. But the border patrol was checking our passports and visas and they figured it out that we overstayed with 2 days ( what we thought not a big deal), then we went to jail, then got deported and had bann for 10 years. This hole thing happened almost 3 years ago, but before i was quite broken after the jail, and i thought i will never ever enter to the States again. Before i didnt care , but now its different, Im doing bodybuilding, and everybody knows that the best competitions are running in the States. So i would like to know what is your opinion about my case, so i just overstayed 2 days and got 10 years banned (and i heard if its less than 180 days you got only 3 years, but if it is more than 180 days you have 10 years banned, but i just overstayed 2 days)… should i fight for my right?
    Sincerely, Csaba

    • Michael Niren says:

      Hello Csaba

      Thank you for sharing your case. If you just overstayed 2 days but still got a 10 year bar that may be an issue. How long ago was this? You will likely have to apply for a US Waiver to be re-admitted to the US. We can assist with this.

      Michael Niren

  13. Daniele says:

    I am an Italian citizen who entered the States last year under the VWP to visit my girlfriend who was about to give birth, intending to regularly fly back within the allowed 90 days. We got married (without prior planning), applied for a I-130 and we then found out that was not suggested for out baby to get on a plain before his first round of vaccinations, which was due at age 3 months. That caused me to overstay for one month and 12 days. I am looking to return because my mother-in-law has recently found out she has cancer. What action should I persue as far as permits/visas? I have been travelling in and out of the USA 6 times before without ever overstaying.

    Thank you

    • Michael Niren says:

      Hello Daniele

      Thank you for your question. Your overstay was less than 180 days it seems so a 3 year bar will not be triggered based on the information provided. As such you could possibly apply to return. Now if you had a visa waiver that could be an issue. You can contact us for a consultation on this one

  14. Pablo says:


    Two years ago, I overstayed for less than a year in US.
    Now they provided me an immigrant visa.
    Do you think that I could have any problem in my re-entry?

    Thank u

    • Michael Niren says:

      Hello Pablo

      Thank you for your question. You could have an issue. You may need a reentry permit depending on how long do you leave the country.

  15. Laura says:


    I overstayed my B1/B2 visa by less that 3 months. I’m planning on coming back with a F1 visa to complete my studies in the US. My question is have u had any client who overstayed less that 180 days and came back with a B1/B2 or F1 visa?

  16. MEL says:

    Hi All,

    I am a holder of a B1/B2 visa which was issued in the Philippines last 2008. I was sent by my employer for training and arrived in the U.S. on July 15, 2008. My I-94 was stamped at the port of entry and was deemed valid until September 25, 2008. As per our company’s discretion our stay was extended up to October 12, 2008 (I was back in the Philippines October 14, 2008). However, an extension of stay was filed and received by the USCIS on September 22, 2008 which was three days before the I-94 expiration date. I was able to check the USCIS website years after we left the U.S. and saw that the case is still pending and the next step was for fingerprinting. I’ve already booked my round trip ticket for December 2011 to January 2012. Should I be concerned of my visa being voided or any deportation proceedings when I arrive in the U.S.? Did I overstay or incurred an unlawful presence even though my total stay is less than 6 months (180 days)?

    I appreciate the feedback!

  17. chris says:

    I overstayed my student visa by 1 year. I am engaged to an American citizen, but we are not sure where we are going to live after she finishes her nursing school. I have been offered full scholarship at a graduate school and applied for the necessary F1 visa on Tuesday. However, my student visa was refused because I do not have strong ties to my home country. I have been in the U.S. for the last 5 years so it is not possible for me to have significant ties to my home country. Is there anything I can do?

    thank you

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Chris,

      Based on the information you have provided, you seem to have a complicated immigration problem. You would need to apply for a Waiver along with your student visa because you have overstayed in the U.S. by 1 year. Normally, if you overstay in the U.S. for one year, you are barred from entry for 10 years. It is understandable that you do not have significant ties. However, it is still important that you show enough ties to Immigration when applying for a student visa.

      A Waiver application needs to be presented in a clean and convincing manner as there is a lot of discretion involved on the part of the officer reviewing your file. I suggest that you consult with a qualified immigration officer to better assess your situation and to prepare a persuasive application package for you in order to ensure that your application gets approved this time.

  18. silje says:

    I overstayed my visa for three months in the U.S. because I got married to an American. Because of the bad economy, he has lost his job right after we prepared all our paperwork for a greencard and got the medical examination done. So, we ended up moving to my country before sending in our paperwork. However, I overstayed in the U.S. only for less than three years. Am I banned?

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Siljie,

      If your overstay was less than 180 days, you will not be banned for three years from entry. However, the law provides that the visa of individuals who overstay is automatically voided and all future non-immigrant visas must be obtained in the country of nationality in case your overstay is less than 180 days. Also, your future visa application will be negatively affected. I suggest that you consult with an immigration attorney who can clearly explain the circumstances surrounding your overstay with any mitigating factors in order to ensure approval of any of your future visa applications.

      Thank you.

  19. S.R. says:


    I was on an F-1 Status in the U.S. I overstayed my F1 status. I also got a ticket for possession of marijuana in the U.S.

    I want to go to Canada to study. Would there be any problems for me?

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear S. R.,

      I see some potential problems related to your possession of marijuana charges. Were you convicted or did you have to go to court? Depending on the situation, you may have to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) along with a Study Permit. I suggest that you consulat with a qualified immigration lawyer with all documents related to your offense to better assess your situation. It is important that you prepare a strong TRP application as there is much discretion involved on the part of the reviewing officer and your application needs to present the mitigating circumstances in a persuasive manner in order to have your Study Permit granted.

      Thank you.

  20. Kayla says:

    If you overstay in the US (Canadian Citizen), and you leave by Car to Canada, would US immigration know when you left?

  21. Janine says:

    I was a minor when I overstayed in the U.S. before returning to Belize. It has been 3 years since I came back to Belize. I am now 19 years old. Can I apply for a new US visa? I already have a new Belizean passport.

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Janine,

      Being a “minor” is an exception to the law that unlawfully present aliens would be subject to the penalty barring re-entry into the U.S. However, there have been some cases where a lesser penalty was imposed. Please note that immigration officers can always refuse to re-admit someone for any reason which they think is valid. So, it may be a good idea to consult with an immigration attorney in order to avoid any problems that you may potentially face at the border.

      Thank you.

  22. Kate says:


    I entered the U.S. with a tourist visa on June 19th, 2010. I am overstaying this visa by 3 months now, but also thinking of returning to Russia. What is the consequence for overstaying 3 months?

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Kate,

      If you overstay in the U.S. for 180 days or more, you are are subject to an automatic 3 year bar. When you subsequently apply for a U.S. Visitor Visa, you will have to apply for a Waiver of Inadmissibility along with your Visitor Visa to be admitted.

      Hope this helps.

  23. Rahul says:


    I overstayed my F1 visa by over a year in 2008. I was caught in 2009 and opted for voluntary departure. I left the country and went back to India in 2010 within the time given to me to leave.

    I recently started a business and it is growing rapidly. We already have over 30 employees and we are sourcing a lot of our products from the US.

    Will I be able to apply for a B1 visa? I am planning to go to the US in August for business. Money is not a problem and the business is very successful. Also the business requires me to travel to the US for a few business meetings crucial for the success of the business.

    Also, Do I have a 10 year bar overstaying on the F1? My I-94 had D/S mentioned on it. I left within the time frame allotted by the immigration judge.

    What are my chances to get a B1 visa or even a tourist visa in the near future? Would I have better chances if I wait longer since it has only been about 6 months since I left the US?

    Also in the coming years we will have an office in the US and will be employing US citizens to work for us there. Will I qualify for an investors visa in the next 1-2 yrs?

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Rahul,

      If you have overstayed in the U.S. for more than a year, you are subject to an overstay bar. However, you can still apply for a Waiver of inadmissibility to the U.S. and be admitted despite your overstay in the U.S.

      Waivers are issued typically for a period of 5 years. If you wish to enter the U.S. this August, I suggest you begin your application now because waiver applications can now take as long as 10 months.

      Unfortunately, if you are an Indian national, you may not qualify to apply for an E-2 visa as India does not have a treaty with the U.S.

      Hope this helps.

      • Rahul says:

        Hi Alicia

        Thanks for your answer. When I was caught I opted for “voluntary departure.” The immigration judge gave me 180 days to leave and I did leave within the 180 days. Do I still have a ten year bar? Should I apply for a Waiver from the outset?

        Thank you.

        • Alicia Kim says:

          Dear Rahul,

          Unfortunately, even if you voluntarily departed and therefore avoided the consequences of a removal order, you still face a ten year bar. For this reason, you will need to file a waiver for the unlawful presence bar.

          Hope this helps. Please let me know if you require any further assistance.

  24. Rafael says:


    I overstayed in the U.S. in 2000 (I entered as a visitor, but remained there to get my Bachelor’s Degree). Today, I got admitted by a school in California where I wish to complete my Master’s Degree.
    Can I apply for an F-1 visa?

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Rafael,

      Since you overstayed in the U.S. for more than 180 days, you are subject to a 10 year bar. So, you should apply for a Waiver together with an F-1 visa.

      Thank you.

  25. Pavel says:


    I overstayed in the U.S. for more than 365 days in the past and, as a result, am subject to a 10 year bar. I have a daughter who was born in the U.S. She is a U.S. citizen. Is there any way that I can return to the U.S.?

    Thank you.

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Pavel,

      If you are subject to an overstay bar, you need to apply for a Waiver of Inadmissibility to the US (I-192) and be admitted despite your overstay in the US. Also, depending on your nationality, you may also need a visitor visa to visit the US. Please note that when you apply for a U.S. Visitor’s Visa, you will have to disclose your travel history to the U.S. on the forms and you have to disclose every thing to the best of your knowledge including your overstay.

      Hope this helps.

  26. Jiebo says:


    I am a permanent resident here in Canada and within the next two years I will be a Canadian citizen.

    I have a ten year bar in entering the USA. But, is there a possibility for me to re enter the USA without being question by CBP? If I present my passport as a Canadian, will it automatically say that I have a ten year bar? I know that changes in citizenship do not remove the bar but what I want to know is how they can say that I have a bar if I have a Canadian passport and not my previous passport from my country of origin.


    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Jiebo,

      The border officers will know regardless of the change in your citizenship. So, when a border officer asks you about your overstay in the U.S. or your 10 year bar, you should not try to hide it. Otherwise, you will have committed misrepresentation and become inadmissible.

      • Jiebo says:


        Thanks for addressing my inquiry. So, what would be the solution to my problem? My mom is in California. She is a permanent resident in the U.S. and now 74 years old. What are my chances if I apply for a Waiver? I really miss my Mom and wanted to visit her so bad.


        • Alicia Kim says:

          Dear Jiebo,

          Your solution would be to apply for a U.S. Waiver. However, if you have a reason to visit your mother urgently, you may also apply for a Humanitarian Parole. A Humanitarian Parole may be an expedited means for entry to the U.S. if you have strong humanitarian grounds for entering.

          Thank you.

  27. Tsholofelo Khothule says:

    I went to the U.S. in 2000 when was ten years old in order to stay with my Mother. Obviously, I had no clue about the immigration laws at that age. I only found during my high school years that I was an illegal immigrant. I came back to South Africa hoping to start the process over. How badly will this effect my chances?

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Tsholofelo,

      There is an exception for minors to the rule which imposes a ten year penalty barring re-entry into the United States of aliens who overstay their visa for one year or more. Under the rule, no period of time in which an alien is under eighteen years of age shall be taken into account in determining the period of unlawful presence in the United States. So, if you left the U.S. before you turned 18, you should be okay.

  28. Vincent says:


    I came to the US as a dependent when I was 12 years old as a depended of my Father who was sponsored by a company under a work visa. He then left the company which in turn revoked his visa. We both overstayed and now have a 10 year ban. Five years ago in 2005 we immigrated to Canada and are now Canadian citizens. I applied for a US waiver in April 2010 since my Canadian employer will require me to travel back and forth from Canada to the US and have not heard back yet.

    1) How long does it take to obtain the waiver?
    2) What are the key elements that DOH looks for in order to be approved for a 1 year or 5 year waiver?
    3) Do I still need a waiver in 2015 which is the end of the 10 year ban?
    4) How do I permanently clear my name or get a US pardon since it was not my fault that I have overstayed as I was a minor then?
    5) When I receive my waiver, do I immediately show it at the US border to cross or just have it handy in case they ask for it?


    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Vincent,

      The processing time for a Waiver is between 6 to 9 months. So, it is recommended that you apply well in advance of your scheduled trip.

      To apply for a US Waiver, you must first obtain a police clearance. Also, a personal statement concerning the circumstances surrounding your prior overstay in the U.S. should be prepared. Supporting documentation typically includes information relating to ties to Canada – i.e. your family in Canada, employment, and assets. It is also recommended that 3 character references be included.

      After your 10 year ban has passed, techinically you should not have to apply for a US Waiver. However, sometimes CBP Officers are asking Canadians with 5 year bars to apply for US Waivers despite having waited the 5 year period. The reasoning behind this practice is that these applicants have an immigration history and as such there are concerns about their credibility as genuine non-immigrants (visitors).

      Hope this helps.

  29. Alex says:


    I applied for Canadian PR Card in 2007. Unfortunately, my application was refused. Can I re-apply for PR Card or is my previous refusal going to negatively affect my chances?

    Also, would I qualify for an investor visa?

    Thanks in advance

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Hi Alex,

      When your application for permanent residence was refused, you could have appealed the decision to the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD) in Canada within 60 days of receiving the refusal. Normally, people can further appeal IAD’s decision to the Federal Court of Canada.

      The investor class is defined as any individual who has successfully operated and controlled business outside Canada, have a minimum net worth of $800,000 as well as make a minumum investment of CAD $400,000.00 in Canada for a period of five years.

      Thank you.

  30. salma says:

    Hi, my husband is a canadian citizen. He entered the US on Nov 8th 2009 and departed on April 8th 2010. He re-entered the US on May 13th 2010 and his passport was never stamped. He only has one B1/B2 stamp for the first trip.

    We are about to have a baby and his 6 month stay will be over in nov. Please suggest what should be done. Should he take a trip to canada and come back or should he leave for good.

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Dear Himanthi,

      Yes, an application for spousal sponsorship can be made even if your spouse lives outside Canada.

      • salma says:

        Thank you for replying back. Can he re-enter the US and get a new B1/B2 visa or shoudl he apply for the visa extention.

        • Alicia Kim says:

          Dear Salma,

          An extension on your B1/B2 will be given usually for the duration you ask for. However, the maximum duration for extension you can ask for is 6 months. Please file a request with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services on the Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status before your authorized stay expires.

          You can arrive in the U.S. right up to the last date of validity indicated on the visa. Just ensure that you do not overstay the period.

          Hope this helps.

  31. Raman Singh says:

    Hello, I am an overstay in the U.S. since 2003 (I came during high school years and now I have a Masters) and I am planning to go to Canada. Can I re-apply to US with a visitor’s visa for work purposes? Can I apply for a Waiver while I am in the U.S.? Can I apply for a waiver if I have to travel back and forth for work only?
    Thank You.

    • Alicia Kim says:

      Hi Raman,

      Being an overstay in the U.S. this long will trigger a Bar. When you apply for a U.S. Visitor’s Visa, you will have to disclose your travel history to the U.S. on the forms. Therefore, you will need to apply for a U.S. Waiver as well to be admitted to the U.S. given your overstay.

      You may apply for a Waiver while present in the United States.

  32. kulsoom says:

    Hi I have a question. I over stayed in the US for 8 years but the US Consulate did not stamp in my passport. Does the 10 year bar apply?

  33. ENRICO says:

    I came to the US in 1998 with a B-1 visa and overstayed until 2001. I went back home in the Philippines, but wasn’t issued a bar. I used travel documents instead of my passport which I lost, but all the information I used were the same. I wasn’t questioned and I wanted to apply for a US visitors visa. I am now a permanent resident of CANADA and wish to tour US with my kids. Can I?

    • Hello
      Since you overstayed for over 1 year you are subject to an automatic 10 year bar whether you were “issued” one or not. You would require a US Visitor Visa (as a Canadian permanent resident) AND a US Waiver to be admitted back into the US.

  34. manda says:

    Hello Michael,

    I entered the US in Feb, 2002 with F1 visa. I had been studying for 2 months and quit school in April, 2009. I then returned to my country in Nov, 2003. Now I’m intending to apply for a US tourist visa to visit my sister. She is US PR. Can I get a US visa again? Even If I could get it, can I cross the border with that visa? Should I disclose my overstay at B1 visa application form?

    • It is not clear from your question about the length of your overstay. You could therefore be subject to a 3 or 10 year bar depending on the circumstances. You can apply for a US tourist visa but you would likely require a US Waiver as well. If you fail to disclose your overstay you could get a 5 year bar for misrepresentation.

  35. Rahul says:

    Hi There,

    I have a question. I went to the US in 1997 on a vistor visa then got the visa and changed it a to student visa in 1998. I stopped going to college in 1999 and then in 2001 it got married to a us citizen. I received a US work permit but never went for my finger print date for the Green Card. I then left the US in 2004. I do not know where my EX is. Can I still go back to US?

    • Since you did not proceed with your Green Card application and then left the US, you have effectively abandoned that application. If you overstayed your status in the US (which is not clear from your question), you may need a Waiver to return. Also depending on your nationality, you may also need a visitor visa to visit the US.

  36. Hello
    You can declare them as overstays generally as such is not considered a criminal offense and therefore will not render them inadmissible to Canada. However, you should seek legal advice in order to handle this properly.

  37. The fact that your family overstayed in the US won’t necessarily impact on their eligibility to apply for Canadian immigration. Of course I would need further details to determine this.

  38. Amy Lee says:

    Hi, I have a question.
    My mom overstayed 24 years ago when I was born in US. She was on her 5 year multiple back in 1985 They didn’t deport her or anything. She went back to Hong Kong with me when I was 10 months old. For 24 years, she never reapplied for another travel visa. Recently, she tried to apply for B2 visa and got denied. The officer said because she had a US citizen daughter in the US currently and they think she would overstay this time again or even live in the US. I’m very upset that my mom could not attend my graduation this coming May because they don’t grant her a visa. What should we do? Can she try to reapply? Isn’t the 3 year bar or 10 year bar already passed? Appreciate for your help, thank you.

    • Since you mother was an overstay, she is subject to a 10 year bar as discussed. Even if the time for the bar has elapsed, she has an immigration history and as such a waiver application should be filed. Once approved, she can apply for a visitor visa to the USA

  39. Tae says:

    Hi. I came here in the U.S. with my family in 2001 as a tourist, but never went back to my country. I would like to know if there is any other way aside from getting married for me to be able to get legalized, like through an employment or something. And if ever Igo back home, what are the chances that I can come here once again. Thanks.

    • As an overstay in the US, you are subject to an automatic bar. You would therefore require a waiver to re-enter the US. If you apply for an employment-based visa like an H-1B visa, you can do so from outside the US, but you would need an approved waiver to be admitted again.

  40. Diana says:

    Dear Michael Niren

    I came to USA in 05/2001 with a Visitor Visa and got the entry for 6 months. I overstayed there until 05/2004 with my two daughters, when we moved to Canada, I am now a canadian PR and I’ve lived here for 5 years now. Since the holidays are coming , we would like to apply for a visitors visa to visit my sister who’s a permanet resident and her husband a US citizen. What are the probabilities of getting accepted? Does it help if my family writte an invitation letter? Can US banned us for overstaying? if so, for how long and if I become a canadian citizen will I steel be banned?

    Thank You!

    • Hello,
      Being an overstay in the US that long will automatically trigger a Bar. When applying for a US Visitor Visa, the form asks for your travel history to the US and you must disclose it. You therefore may require a US Waiver to be admitted to the US given your overstay. Becoming a Canadian citizen does not change things–other than the fact that you do not have to take the additional step of applying for a visitor visa.

  41. Hi Krystal
    You have a complicated immigration problem. In order for you to be admitted to the US, you will have to apply for a US Waiver of Inadmissibility to overcome your Bar. Assuming your husband is a US Citizen, his income has to be sufficient in order to Sponsor you. I would contact a lawyer to assist you in this case.

  42. Krystal says:

    I have a question. I have a 10 year bar for over staying in the US. I was brought to the USA when I was 12 years old from Canada. I am in Canada now but I am married to a US citizen and I want to see my husband again in the US. Icame to canada to see my family and when trying to go home to my husband I had a 10 year bar put on me at the Border. How do I resolve this so I can be with my husband? My immigration paperwork was denied in 2005 due to the fact my husband did make a lot of money so now how do I lift the bar and do my paperwork so I can be with my husband?

    • rhea says:

      Hi Krystal

      I’m in the same situation as you were. I need to know if you have successfully made your way to the U.S. I have four children born in the U.S. but are currently with me outside the U.S. Please advise me on your experience.

      Thank you

      • Alicia Kim says:

        Dear Rhea,

        If you are subject to a 10 year bar for over staying in the U.S., you would have to apply for a US Waiver of Inadmissibility to overcome your Bar. If your spouse is a U.S. citizen, your spouse may sponsor you. To do so, your spouse needs to have sufficient income.

        Hope this helps.

  43. You are welcome.
    It is really up to you as to whether you wish to wait until you become a Canadian. Please note that being a Canadian citizen does not remove the 3 bar itself. However as you may know, Canadian citizens do not require US Visas to enter the USA and as as such you will not need to apply for a US Visitor Visa to enter the US.

  44. MS says:

    Thank you Michael Niren for the answer. As I came to US in 2001 got the entry for 6 months then I got it extended for another six months, after that I stayed till May 2009 in US, then came to Canada as PR.
    Should I wait for 3 years to become a Canadian Citizen or I should apply for US visa.

  45. Assuming your US husband never sponsored you for US Permanent Residence, you can return to the US by applying for a new US Visitor Visa but it may be difficult given that you are married to a US Citizen. The same goes for a US Work Permit application. Not an easy case

  46. Alicia Kim says:

    Generally, people who have overstayed in the U.S. would require a U.S. Waiver of Inadmissibility I-192 or I-212. It does not matter whether the immigration officer took no notice of it when she left. They have her date of entry and departure in their record.

    If your friend needs to enter the U.S. urgently and has valid humanitrain and compassionate grounds, she can apply for Humanitarin Parole. Humanitarian paroles are granted for a period of time to coincide with the duration of the emergency or humanitarian situation that forms the basis for the request.

  47. Alicia Kim says:

    Dear Sylvie,

    Normally, the criteria considered for a waiver application are the risk of harm to society if the applicant is admitted, the seriousness of the applicant’s prior violations of immigration law, and the nature of the applicant’s reasons for seeking entry. To apply, you need to fill out the Form I-192. If your friend’s overstay was inevitable, we can explain this in our submissions with evidence.

    If your friend has sufficient humanitarian and compassionate grounds, she can apply for Humanitarin Parole for a temporary period of time. This is a quicker way to enter the U.S. than a waiver application. U.S. immigration may grant parole temporarily based on urgent humanitarian reasons for a period of time that corresponds with the length of the emergency or humanitarian situation. To apply, you need to demonstrate that you have sufficient ties to Canada and that you will depart the U.S. before the expiration of your parole. You need to complete the I-131 form.

    Please note that this is only general information. Legal strategies vary greatly depending on particular individual situations. Please consult one of our immigration lawyers for more detailed and accurate information.

    Warm regards,

  48. Rochelle says:


    My grandfather took me to the U.S. in 1995 from Trinidad. At that time, I was only 3 years old. He came back for me in the year 1997, so basically I spent 2 years in the U.S. until I turned 5 years old. I was staying with my aunt the whole time in the U.S. She is an American citizen. Now, I am 18 years old and want to visit the U.S. again. I’m currently going to college in Trinidad. I have no documents to show that I was in the U.S. from 1995 to 1997. My grandparents passed away and I have no records. What are my chances of getting a next U.S visa?

  49. Alicia Kim says:

    Dear Rochelle,

    You should be okay because the minor is an exception to the rule which imposes a ten year penalty barring re-entry into the United States of aliens who overstay their visa for one year or more. Under the rule, no period of time in which an alien is under eighteen years of age shall be taken into account in determining the period of unlawful presence in the United States.

    Thank you.

  50. Rochelle says:


    Thank you for answering my question, but another thing is when fulling out the visa form, they asked if you have ever been granted a U.S visa i can’t lie to them i have to say yes, and after they will ask what was the date of travel and return, i have no memory of the dates since it was a long time and i have no records to show, what should i do??? i’m confused??

  51. Alicia Kim says:

    Dear Rochelle,

    You have to disclose every thing to the best of your knowledge on the form.

    Thank you.

  52. JM says:


    My father entered the U.S. in 1999 with a Work Permit, but ended up overstaying in the U.S. before he returned to his home country in 2001. He now wishes to move to Canada and live with his relatives and family members in Canada. How can he move and settle in Canada?

    Thank you.

  53. Alicia Kim says:

    Dear JM,

    If your father wishes to immigrate to Canada, he can apply for Permanent Residence. Depending on his particular background, he may choose to apply for Permanent Residence through Skilled Worker, sponsorship, or business immigration programs.

    Thank you.

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