June 9

What to Do if You Overstay Your USA Tourist Visa

The US has a bit of an international reputation for being hard on visa overstayers. This isn’t entirely unearned, though it’s also not quite as bad as it’s often made out to be.

If you overstay your visa waiver program you my not have access to it again in the future, for example.

Visits can and often are extended, requiring little more than a little paperwork on your behalf.

visa overstay

First Steps if You Might Overstay Your USA Visa

Your first port of call should be the Citizen and Immigration Service, which can provide special extensions even after your visa or travel authorization has expired. In particular, what you’ll want to try to get is a “period of satisfactory departure”.

These are often granted to travelers in situations like flights that have been delayed for more than 24 hours, medical emergencies and other run-of-the-mill traveler woes.

They can also be issued in circumstances like being the victim of a crime, or just not being able to reach the airport due to bad weather. Whatever your reason, make sure to bring as much evidence as possible.

This can include a medical certificate, police report, or even just a news clipping proving something like bad weather.

If you’re granted a period of satisfactory departure, you’ll basically be given up to 30 days to leave the country. If you do this, then there are absolutely no further repercussions or penalties. You’re off, Scot-free!

Fines for Overstaying a USA Visa

the white house

If for some reason you don’t get a period of satisfactory departure, then the penalties can rack up quickly. Sometimes overstays of one or two days can be almost entirely ignored, though you shouldn’t rely on this.

Nonetheless, the first 180 days overall are fairly mild. If you come to the US under the visa waiver program and overstay for less than 180 days, you’ll probably be forced to apply for an actual visa next time you come.

You might also have trouble generally obtaining any US visa, and can expect a little extra scrutiny whether you interact with the Citizenship and Immigration Service.

In particular, you’ll probably have a lot of hassle trying to get a work visa, or something similar.

This is because the onus will basically be on you to convince US officials that you won’t overstay again.

Steamboat springs horses hill view

The views were truely spectacular as we were heading back to the ranch.

Things start to get really dire after 180 days. At this point, you’ll almost certainly be hit with a three year travel ban. Once you overstay for 12 months, you can then expect a 10 year ban.

You might also be forcibly deported, which is not a fun experience. Finally, overstays exceeding a year can result in a permanent travel ban. Ouch!


The lesson here is to contact the Citizenship and Immigration Service the moment you suspect you might need to overstay. Get an extension, and leave in the required period. If you don’t, your predicament will only get worse over time.


You may also like

10+ Things to Do in Tepic with Kids

10+ Things to Do in Tepic with Kids
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Presumably there is no point in trying to appeal for a right to future applications for an ESTA visa waiver after I was stopped at Newark for overstaying my visa by one day. I was issued an 'Application for Waiver of Passport and/or Visa', The fee was waived and my Passport stamped with an entry marked B2, this was repeated on the form which I signed. I was told I would not be granted any ESTA visa waivers in future. I was told to apply for B2 visas in future. My children have American Passports and live in the US. My daughter is currently pregnant and my son has two children. The Visa website states that B2 Visas can only be issued emergency travel which does not include pregnancy. It also states that a delay of 180 days should be expected before the issuing of the Visa. This would make me miss the birth of my grandchild.

    1. Hi Michael, sorry I missed your message. Well, I would appeal. 1 day is pretty much nothing, and your kids live in the US. I would start by reaching the closest US consulate to your home and try to get some empathy there. Ideally see if you can set up a meeting and speak with someone. Once you have someone on your side, they should be able to help you out. Again, I would go for it.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Subscribe to our newsletter now!