When I first went to the USA it was before fingerprinting, so I was not fingerprinted. I overstayed for 10 months. I came home and then went back to the US and got back in, and this time I was fingerprinted. I overstayed for 3 and a half years. When I left the US, I had a new passport, as if I'd lost my passport in the States.

I'm attempting to go back now for a visit. It has been 10 years since I left the States (my 10-year ban would be over). I'm told I have to apply for a non-immigrant visa, but the chances of getting approval are slim, due to the fact that I have overstayed my welcome on 2 occasions.

I'm from Northern Ireland. I can have two passports: a UK passport or an Irish passport. If I change my passport and attempt to enter, would I be denied? I honestly have no intentions of overstaying again, but I’d love to go back and see some old friends.

  • 2
    How do you manage to overstay for years? Independently wealthy? Or were you taking employ here? How did you get past the right-to-work checks? Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 2:52
  • 7
    @Harper: I don't know the answer to that question, but we are talking here about a country that has more than ten million illegal aliens. It is obviously not that hard. Commented Mar 23, 2018 at 5:06
  • Your chances of getting into the USA are slim and none whether you apply for a visa or try to enter via the VWP and last I checked Slim is already out of town. I'd say fuhgeddabout it being a two time overstayer. They will catch the second overstay, then they will dig deeper and probably find the first overstay. You're toast at that point. Commented Mar 24, 2018 at 12:44
  • I thought (and may be wrong here) that EU citizens do not require a VISA for the US (except some, Ireland should be fine AFAIK). Does that change anything?
    – bytepusher
    Commented Jan 13 at 22:52
  • 1
    @bytepusher EU citizens who do not require a visa do require ESTA authorization as a requirement to use the visa waiver program (VWP). Regardless if the administrative requirements, however, if the US is aware of the overstay then there is a good chance of being denied admission for a subsequent visit. The word visa is not an acronym (unlike ESTA) so it should not be written in all caps.
    – phoog
    Commented Jun 2 at 2:05

1 Answer 1


Your admissibility or lack thereof depends on your personal circumstances, not on your passport. Using a different country's passport to apply for a visa, for ESTA, or for admission does not change your history; it only makes it less likely that the US government will connect you to your history if you try to conceal it.

It is still quite likely that they'll connect you to it, however. First, as you note, they have your fingerprints. They'll take new ones when you apply for your visa or try to enter under the visa waiver program, and they will probably match your old ones. Even in the absence of fingerprints, your new passport will match the old one on the name, date of birth, and place of birth. They may also have a copy of the photograph from your old passport, and they may match it using facial recognition software.

If you apply to enter the US without disclosing your history and they find out, you will probably be found to be inadmissible under 8 USC 1182(a)(6)(C)(i):

(C) Misrepresentation

(i) In general

Any alien who, by fraud or willfully misrepresenting a material fact, seeks to procure (or has sought to procure or has procured) a visa, other documentation, or admission into the United States or other benefit provided under this chapter is inadmissible.

Note the parenthetical "or has sought to procure": Once you've done this, you are inadmissible for life under this part of the law. There is a waiver available, but the application costs $930 and success is not at all guaranteed.

Rather than risking that, it's probably wiser to apply for a visa and tell the whole story, along with evidence showing why you won't overstay this time, and hope for the best. You can use either passport.

  • 2
    Your probably right, although they may not even have any evidence of when I left the country, (I don’t remember them even looking at my passport), if I was asked I couldn’t lie to them. 🙈
    – Sarah
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 17:42
  • 6
    The US doesn't run emigration checks, but that doesn't mean they definitely do not know when you left (e.g. they may know from APIs). Not relevant to your situation, but may be to others: You can view the info DHS hold on your recent (within 5 years) arrivals/departures online: i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home. Whatever that may say, however, "don't commit fraud" is always sound advice. Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 18:03
  • 5
    @Sarah the US does not examine passports of departing travelers directly. That is, your memory that no US officer looked at your passport is entirely correct. the US does take passport information from airlines, however, and uses that to record departures.
    – phoog
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 18:04
  • 2
    @Sarah: "although they may not even have any evidence of when I left the country" Them not knowing when you left the country doesn't help you -- when in doubt, the presumption is you overstayed and the burden is on you to prove to them that you left on time.
    – user102008
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 20:34
  • 2
    @phoog "_ went back to the US and got back in, on this occasion I was fingerprinted_" There clearly is evidence of her visit.
    – TripeHound
    Commented Mar 22, 2018 at 22:52

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .