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DHS Reports Over 700,000 Visa Overstays in 2017

Posted on in Visas

New Canaan immigration visa enforcement lawyerAccording to a report issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in August 2018, more than 700,000 foreign visitors remained in the US beyond their required exit date in fiscal year 2017. This figure represents 1.3% of the 52.7 million individuals who entered the US via an airport or seaport and were expected to depart by September 30, 2017 (excluding land crossings from Canada and Mexico).

DHS defines an overstay as a nonimmigrant who was lawfully admitted to the United States for an authorized period but remained in the U.S. beyond his or her authorized period of admission. When a nonimmigrant arrives in the U.S., their allowed length of stay will be specified on their Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record.

Overstay Rates Vary Significantly by Country and Type of Visa

Countries participating in the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) had an overall overstay rate of 0.5% compared to 1.9% for non-VWP countries. 

Business/tourism visitors had an overstay rate of just 0.6% for VWP countries and 2.1% for non-VWP countries. VWP countries with the worst overstay rate for business/pleasure visitors were Hungary and Portugal  (over 2%). Among the non-VWP countries with at least 100,000 business/pleasure visitors to the U.S., countries with the highest overstay rates were Nigeria (10.6%), Haiti (6.8%), and Venezuela (5.7%).

Students are far more likely to overstay than businesspeople or tourists. 4.2% of students failed to exit the U.S. on time. Among countries sending at least 5,000 students to the U.S., those with the highest overstay rates were Nigeria (26.3%), Ukraine (11.9%), Egypt (10.6%), and the Philippines (9.0%).

How Visa Overstays Are Enforced and Prevented

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has defined screening rules that are used to prioritize individual enforcement actions. ICE focuses on individuals most likely to pose a national security or public safety concern, with the goal of locating and removing those overstayers. 

Travelers who overstay may have a three- or ten-year bar placed on their reentry to the United States. Visa overstays can also affect one’s eligibility for an immigration visa or green card

One proposed solution to prevent overstays would require visa applicants to post a substantial bond (at least several thousand dollars) that would be forfeited if the visitor remains in the U.S. after their required exit date.

DHS has also been developing better systems to collect and track biographical and biometric data on travelers to enable tighter enforcement.

Trust a Knowledgeable Darien, CT Immigration Attorney 

If you are concerned about a visa overstay or want to seek an adjustment of status, speak to an experienced Fairfield County immigration visa lawyer for advice. At Gonzalez Law Office, LLC, we are committed to helping families resolve immigration and visa problems as quickly as possible. Contact us at 203-323-1440 to arrange a consultation. 

Sources:

https://www.dhs.gov/news/2018/08/07/dhs-releases-fiscal-year-2017-entryexit-overstay-report

Fairfield County Bar Association Connecticut Bar Association American Immigration Lawyers Association Connecticut American Immigration Lawyers Association
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