My boyfriend overstayed his visa in the US without realizing (long story) and he was traveling on his British passport via ESTA. His ESTA was revoked as a result. He has now applied for a visa on his South African passport. Will he be able to enter the country if his visa is approved?

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    If he tells them he did that and they still give him a visa then I don’t see why not. – Hanky Panky Oct 31 '18 at 19:07
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    The question is IF he even gets a visa. He should have applied with the British passport. I hope he tells the truth on the forms and when interviewed else he gets a ban. – Augustine of Hippo Oct 31 '18 at 19:12
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    Very relevant travel.stackexchange.com/q/89995/4188 I can't decide whether it's a duplicate. It might be. – chx Nov 1 '18 at 2:35

Once your friend has overstayed a VWP visit once he is forever barred from entering under the VWP again, no matter which passport he is using.

The only way to be readmitted in this situation is indeed to apply for a visa in advance. It probably doesn't matter much which of the two passports he applies for the visa with; but he will need to be honest about the overstay in his application in either case.

For the best chances of success, he should be sure to append a convincing explanation of the earlier overstay to his application. Do not wait to be asked!

(Applying with the South African passport while pretending that the overstay didn't happen would probably be a quick recipe for being refused for deception, which would make it somewhere between extremely hard and impossible to get any U.S. visa afterwards).

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    Very much +1. Do not ever pretend a problem didn't exist. The fact that the border guard had to ask you before you give information is already against the law. You were suppose to volunteer all border issues up front, prepared, with letters, etc. Do not ever try to talk your way out of it "on the fly". They deal with this for 8 hours every day. They will not be impressed. – Nelson Nov 1 '18 at 1:30
  • Could you perhaps cite a source that confirms that this rule is in fact the case? – Tom W Nov 2 '18 at 0:06
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    @TomW: The lifetime bar after an overstay comes from the statute that authorizes the Visa Waiver Program, 8 U.S.C. 1187 (a)(7) – hmakholm left over Monica Nov 2 '18 at 0:09
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    Also very much +1. If there's one thing, above all else, that Immigration/Visa Officers frown upon, it's when someone attempts to deceive them. This won't just result in an administrative refusal: it will result in a near-permanent ban in any future application. Officers appreciate honesty. If you have an honest explanation for past mistakes then they will listen and make a judgement on a case-by-case basis. But don't lie to them. Ever. – Chris Melville Nov 2 '18 at 12:31

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