Looking for advice. My sister in law lived in the US for 4 years, overstaying her visa. She worked, paid taxes and rent. She came back to UK a year ago due to family illness and now wants to return. She has booked a return flight via Dublin but has no intention of returning. She has convinced my husband to travel with her, assuming they get in he will return after the 2 weeks. So my question is will she get in? If she doesn’t is there implications for my husband? Could this stop him traveling to US in future?

Also, as there are immigration checks at Dublin, is this where she would be denied entry or would she get to US and be denied?

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    And they would have to be entirely asleep to not notice the four year overstay that will pop up as soon as she presents her passport. Nov 11, 2018 at 17:02
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    In answer to the second question, Dublin has preclearance so the decision about whether to admit her will be made in Dublin. If she's refused, she won't get on the plane. (I am not sure whether the airline would refund her fare in that case.) Nov 11, 2018 at 17:03
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    @NateEldredge I cannot imagine that the airline would refund the money unless the ticket were a refundable ticket. Airlines generally disclaim responsibility for immigration matters.
    – phoog
    Nov 11, 2018 at 17:45
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    We seriously need to know whether she lied to get the ESTA. In general, the whole things seem badly conceived. Maybe if she pulls the brake now she'll get a chance later of entering the US. Nov 11, 2018 at 19:56
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    She's booked a return ticket to fool the authorities into thinking she'll be in-country temporarily when in reality she fully intends to overstay yet again? This is ... not encouraging behaviour. I really think you should have a word with your family members. Nov 12, 2018 at 2:01

3 Answers 3


If he travels with her, it is going to be very difficult for your husband to give her much support without lying. For example, if asked about the purpose of the trip is he really going to say "To see if my sister can get back into the US to resume her overstay and work there.", or will he say something that supports her case at the risk of lying and being banned?

It would be much safer for him to go to Dublin airport and wait outside the secure area until either she calls to say she is on the plane or she is denied entry. He can provide emotional support and help getting home if she is not allowed to fly.

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    I agree, I was waiting for something like that across the answers. he can be supportive on the way to Dublin airport, then during the 8 hours of the flight but then he is useless. Either he is admitted to the US and she is on her own, or he is dragged a way or another into her interrogation - in which case he is not there to provide comfort but to answer questions.
    – WoJ
    Nov 12, 2018 at 13:11
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    In America, lying to immigration is a ban for life. My reading of OP was that their idea of "support" means he's there to lie for her. Nov 12, 2018 at 16:43
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    @phoog Suppose he claims to be entering for some legitimate visit purpose, such as sightseeing, but is really entering to assist his sister in overstaying and working in the US. Has he lied for himself, because they would certainly not admit him if he told the truth? Nov 12, 2018 at 20:09
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    @PatriciaShanahan probably. But if he just lies about his sister then it's not clear to me whether he would trigger the ban under 8 USC 1182(a)(6)(C). I don't know whether there's any precedent one way or the other. 18 USC 1001 would clearly apply, however, though a prosecution is unlikely, and he might be inadmissible under 8 USC 1182(a)(6)(E) for helping another "to enter or to try to enter the United States in violation of law."
    – phoog
    Nov 12, 2018 at 20:28
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    @phoog You may well be right in theory. In practice, he would have to lie about himself. A person trying to enter the US under the visa waiver program is very likely to be asked the purpose of their travel. Nov 13, 2018 at 19:35

Her paying rent and taxes doesn’t give her any brownie points with US immigration.

So my question is will she get in?

Her chances are slim to none although not zero. People get admitted mistakenly. If found out on a subsequent interaction with immigration the hammer will come down, hard.

If she doesn’t is there implications for my husband?

She’s an adult so minuscule to no implications for him - unless he somehow gets drawn in during the questioning and tells a material lie to US Immigration which is found out. In which case he will be banned, for life.

Could this stop him traveling to US in future?

See response to previous question.

Also, as there are immigration checks at Dublin, is this where she would be denied entry or would she get to US and be denied?

Whether it unfolds at preclearance in Dublin or in the USA does not change anything. The same conditions and penalties remain.


Looking for advice

Don’t do it. However, I don’t know her life circumstance that compels her to attempt this in this time of increased immigration scrutiny. Sometimes a human being is compelled to break the law. Over here, we judge no man.

My advice to her would have been to purchase the ticket at the last minute at the airport (or refundable ticket) in which case when she is denied as I expect she will, she can get a refund of the airfare under the 24 hour free cancellation policy.

Finally she absolutely should not lie to immigration if caught out and questioned about her overstay. That way she only incurs the ten year ban for overstay, instead of a permanent ban for misrepresentation. Ten years seems far off, but at least the window to return remains open.

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    One should double check whether 24 hour free cancellation would apply to a last minute ticket. In the US, the law is just that airlines must allow 24 hour cancellation with full refund, but only if the ticket is purchased at least 7 days before the flight, and most airlines don't allow anything more than that. Nov 11, 2018 at 17:58
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    I disagree that the husband has no risk unless he tells a lie. If the sister-in-law is denied entry then I think there is a risk they will deny him entry just for travelling with her. Remember they don't need proof. Then he has to explain his denial every time he travels to the US. Nov 11, 2018 at 19:44
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    @HonoraryWorldCitizen Why wouldn't he be "drawn into her questioning" if they're traveling together? Or do you propose they'd lie and each claim to be traveling alone and hope CBP doesn't realize. Nov 11, 2018 at 20:42
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    @ZachLipton She's an adult and so is he. These are not minors depending on one party. Her immigration history has no bearing on his. They are not joined at the hip. Let's not become scaremongers. So far as he does not lie, he has virtually no problem. There are several incidents of people traveling together and one person refused entry and the other let in. You can watch episodes of US Border Patrol on YouTube. Nov 11, 2018 at 20:57
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    I agree he has low risk. I just don't think it's no risk. Nov 11, 2018 at 21:23

I would echo the answer of Honorary World Citizen, but I would add the following legal considerations:

If when she overstayed previously she entered using the visa waiver program, she is legally ineligible to use the visa waiver program again. If she lies about that on the ESTA application or at the border, she will be permanently inadmissible.

Depending on the circumstances of her previous overstay, she may have a three- or ten-year ban, counting from the date of her departure from the US. Based on the facts you have described so far, it is likely that she has nine years remaining in a ten-year ban.

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    We should not forget your previous answer: travel.stackexchange.com/questions/64200/… the US does not know for sure who's overstaying, so she might be flying under the radar. Nov 11, 2018 at 20:12
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    @QuoraFeans these days, the chance that the overstay of someone who flew into and out of the US has gone undetected is very low indeed.
    – phoog
    Nov 12, 2018 at 0:48
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    +1. This will work out to a very bad idea if she ever intends on trying to legally stay in the US. Misrepresentation is a permanent ban without a mechanism to lift it. Also you can never apply for permanent residence while in the country illegally (unless laws get changed at some point).
    – xyious
    Nov 12, 2018 at 18:57
  • @xyious spouses of US citizens (maybe immediate relatives generally; I don't remember) can apply to adjust status even if they are out of status. In other cases, you are correct.
    – phoog
    Nov 12, 2018 at 19:27
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    @xyious You are wrong on both counts. There is a waiver for misrepresentation/fraud and second so far as you are inspected and admitted (including erroneously), you can adjust status in the USA. uscis.gov/policymanual/HTML/PolicyManual-Volume9-PartG.html Being admitted erroneously is not the same as sneaking in without inspection in which case you have to leave before returning. Nov 13, 2018 at 12:10

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