Maybe someone can help. I want to enter USA for 4 days. I am Canadian now. But in the past I was in the USA illegally for a period of time as another country citizen (not canadian) and my last name is different now because of marriage. Voluntarily left the country. It was 11 years ago. May I be denied the entry at the airport or what to expect ? Thanks

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    You can be refused entry. That said any ban you had for overstay is long over, the maximum was 10 years. But changing your name doesn’t change anything. You can try and enter, you will likely not have a problem. I recommend you come by road so you don’t have to fill any forms. If you come by air you have to fill out forms. Whatever method you choose do not lie. If caught that could lead to a permanent ban. Feb 2, 2019 at 21:17
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    Thanks. What possible questions they may ask at the entry point ? And I voluntarily left USA 11 years ago.
    – Tia
    Feb 2, 2019 at 21:28
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    @HonoraryWorldCitizen Neither the landing card nor the kiosks ask about previous overstays. I would not do this by road, but at a US preclearance airport. CBP can't be nearly as aggressive at preclearance as they can at border checkpoints. Not to say they won't, but the host country does constrain them to some extent. Feb 2, 2019 at 22:36
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    Of course, in case of issues at pre-clearance, OP may have to forfeit the flight (and all arrangements after that), so better pick a cheap one.
    – jcaron
    Aug 11, 2019 at 16:23

1 Answer 1


The overstay and the ban you got for it, or would have gotten if you had tried to enter again, is for you, not for the passport you have or even the name you used.

But after 11 years the actual ban is likely to be over and it should not give you problems on entering the USA.
Having had to overstay in the past may make entry into the USA harder, as there is always suspicion that you may do it again.
Living in Canada with the Canadian nationality may make a difference, as it makes it less likely that you will overstay again. If you have proof of ties to your current home, tuck them in your hand luggage or keep them handy near you if you travel by car, do not get them out before being asked for them.

There are several opinions on what is the best way to enter the USA. If you live close to an airport with preclearance you can go there and take the risk that you will not be allowed to board the flight. Using the kiosks usually means that you will not be asked questions and people with Canadian citizenship are almost always let through with few questions if any.
If you live near a land border crossing you can drive up and use that option to get into the USA. Off course, if you are not approved for entering the USA you will have to cancel the trip and may not get anything refunded for what you have already paid. So it might be best for the first time to have a cheap plane ticket and to have your hotels in the USA booked such that you can cancel them for free, or have alike arrangements which will not cost you if you do not show up.

If you are not willing to risk either one, you can apply for a 'visa replacing' entry clearance. Your best bet for that is to go to the site of the USA embassy or consulate for your part of Canada.

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