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So, I lived in the United States from when I was 5 until I was 18. My family and I overstayed our visa for about 4 years. I graduated high school in 2017 and moved back to my home country 3 months later.

For summer vacation I want to go back to the States for only 2 weeks to visit. But because I left after a few months after my 18th birthday, I am wondering if I will have a ban..

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    How long after your 18th birthday did you overstay? How many days? – cHiEf Immigration vIoLaTer Feb 4 at 12:48
  • i overstayed for three months after my 18th birthday unfortunately :// – Ash111 Feb 4 at 14:36
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    Do mention the overstay on visa applications, but also mention your age and the dates. – Harper Feb 4 at 18:41
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The US statutory ban for overstaying, or "unlawful presence" as it is called, is codified at 8 USC 1182(a)(9)(B):

(B) Aliens unlawfully present

(i) In general Any alien (other than an alien lawfully admitted for permanent residence) who—

(I) was unlawfully present in the United States for a period of more than 180 days but less than 1 year, voluntarily departed the United States (whether or not pursuant to section 1254a(e) [3] of this title) prior to the commencement of proceedings under section 1225(b)(1) of this title or section 1229a of this title, and again seeks admission within 3 years of the date of such alien’s departure or removal, or

(II) has been unlawfully present in the United States for one year or more, and who again seeks admission within 10 years of the date of such alien’s departure or removal from the United States,

 is inadmissible.

Note that there is no ban for those whose unlawful presence totals less than 180 days. Furthermore, unlawful presence does not accrue for minors: at (a)(9)(B)(iii)(I), there is an exception excluding time before the 18th birthday:

(iii) Exceptions

(I) Minors

No period of time in which an alien is under 18 years of age shall be taken into account in determining the period of unlawful presence in the United States under clause (i).

Therefore, the number of days you have accumulated is the period between your 18th birthday and your day of departure. If you left three months after your birthday, this number is well below 180, so you do not trigger the provisions of (a)(B)(i).

Of course, the fact that you do not have a statutory ban does not mean that it will be easy for you to enter the US. But if you find sympathetic visa and immigration officers, the fact that you left fairly promptly after turning 18 could work in your favor.

The chance of being granted admission will of course increase as you remain outside the US for longer periods. If you left the US recently, the chance that they'll suspect you're trying to return to resume your life in the US will be stronger. Regardless of how long ago you left, your application to enter the US will be much more likely to succeed if you include (in your visa application) or are prepared to show (at the border) good evidence of strong ties to your country of residence, particularly compelling plans for what you intend to do there after the end of your summer vacation.

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    Yes, OP did exactly what they're supposed to do. Obviously, a solitary child has no legal authority to sign contracts, so he can't be expected to contractually commit to international airflight nor go to his citizenship country and sign a lease on an apartment, nor be expected to step over the international border at exactly 12:01 a.m. on their birthday. Allowing a newly coined adult a little slack to get his/her affairs in order and obey immigration law is entirely fair. And voila: you did that. You respected our law and deserve the privileges of those who do. – Harper Feb 4 at 18:39
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    Yes, all agreed - except I worry that finding a sympathetic visa/immigration officer given the family's history may not be as easy as you guys make it sound. Was the overstay the child's fault? Probably not. But not being at fault is, to some degree, irrelevant - there is a reasonable doubt with this family. I might encourage the OP to try anyway... but there are plenty of other wonderful places they could go instead. – Lightness Races in Orbit Feb 5 at 11:06
  • @LightnessRacesinOrbit indeed, the chance of finding an unsympathetic reception is significant. – phoog Feb 5 at 13:33
  • @Harper "deserve the privileges": unfortunately for OP, the privilege does not go very far, and it could indeed be difficult in this case to overcome the presumption of immigrant intent. – phoog Feb 5 at 13:34
  • @Harper: There is no general rule that you cannot get a ban from things you did as a minor. For example, if you accrued more than 1 year of unlawful presence (even if under 18) and then enter the US illegally again (even if under 18), you get the lifetime 9C ban. Or if you were deported, and then enter the US illegally again (even if under 18), you get the lifetime 9C ban. It's just that for this particular ban (9B ban), time under 18 does not count for unlawful presence. – user102008 Apr 4 at 16:47

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