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what happens when you overstay???

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My story is a long and complicated one...

I am a canadian. In 2002 i met an americian. After visiting eachother several times... I stayed with my americian boyfriend for about 5 months [the legal limit is 6 months] anyway we decided to get married [2004] during that time and he called a lawyer to get advice on what to do... The lawyer suggested that instead of doing the fiancee visa route.. we just marry and then apply for adjustment of status, perm residency etc. So we marry... however we didn't send off the paperwork for several months after the marriage [it was very intimidating]... and for some unknown reasons PA took forever to process our paperwork and in the middle of the process we decided to get divorced....

This is where things get bad.. i contact a visa cousellor to help me with figuring out what's needed to be done with the divorce and withdrewing paperwork etc. She told me that since i overstayed my visa, i will be deported. Which obviously sucks but i am okay with returning to canada.. i dont really want to stay in the states, the only reason i even did in the first place was because i loved this guy.

But... my fears are.. what will happen when i cross the border and they look at my passport and see that i have been in the states for longer than 6 months? Do people go to jail over this stuff? I tried googling it up but all i found relating to overstaying + jail was thailand so i'm hoping that i would just be banned from the states and not thrown into jail or anything? I tried contacting the visa lady to find out more about this issue but she has not replied to any of my additional emails. I am finishing up the divorce and as soon as that is done, i'l be heading to canada. It'll be good to be back home but as one would expect.. i'm horribly nervous about what could happen at the border.

does anyone have experience with this?

Edited by locatei

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I don't have experience with this but I do cross into and out of Canada quite often from NY to Ontario.

If a person overstays and leaves they cannot return is all. When going north the Canadian border guard just looks at the passport or other form of identification like drivers license to verify who you are, looks at the picture and looks at you and will ask some questions about what you are bringing with you.

Now if you attempt to head back south into the US, then the US Customs people may turn you around and send you back.

In either case no one will arrest you unless you are wanted for something.

Case in point, the US is havening problems with illegal immigrants from the south, they get sent home all the time, but not arrested.

Good luck!

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Is now a US Citizen immigration completed Jan 12, 2012.



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Overstays can be very serious to over-come of the overstay was more than a certain number of days, like 180. You might try to search for 'overstay' here on VJ, I know it has been discussed in depth over the years.


United States & Republic of the Philippines

"Life is hard; it's harder if you're stupid." John Wayne

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Relax. An overstay isn't a criminal violation of US law, and nobody will throw you in jail for it. The worst possible punishment would be deportation, but they don't deport people who are in the process of leaving the US anyway (It's analogous to the old "You're fired!", "You can't fire me, because I quit!" routine). In fact, US officials normally don't check the paperwork of people who are leaving the US.

There may be difficulties in re-entering. If you have overstayed longer than 180 days but less than a year, you're subject to a three year bar after you exit the US. If you've overstayed longer than a year, you're subject to a ten year bar. It may be useful for you to keep documentary evidence of the date of entering Canada, to establish when your bar started, and therefore when it expires. Who knows what the future may bring, and someday you may want to visit the US again.

04 Apr, 2004: Got married

05 Apr, 2004: I-130 Sent to CSC

13 Apr, 2004: I-130 NOA 1

19 Apr, 2004: I-129F Sent to MSC

29 Apr, 2004: I-129F NOA 1

13 Aug, 2004: I-130 Approved by CSC

28 Dec, 2004: I-130 Case Complete at NVC

18 Jan, 2005: Got the visa approved in Caracas

22 Jan, 2005: Flew home together! CCS->MIA->SFO

25 May, 2005: I-129F finally approved! We won't pursue it.

8 June, 2006: Our baby girl is born!

24 Oct, 2006: Window for filing I-751 opens

25 Oct, 2006: I-751 mailed to CSC

18 Nov, 2006: I-751 NOA1 received from CSC

30 Nov, 2006: I-751 Biometrics taken

05 Apr, 2007: I-751 approved, card production ordered

23 Jan, 2008: N-400 sent to CSC via certified mail

19 Feb, 2008: N-400 Biometrics taken

27 Mar, 2008: Naturalization interview notice received (NOA2 for N-400)

30 May, 2008: Naturalization interview, passed the test!

17 June, 2008: Naturalization oath notice mailed

15 July, 2008: Naturalization oath ceremony!

16 July, 2008: Registered to vote and applied for US passport

26 July, 2008: US Passport arrived.

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