I got deported because I worked illegally in the States and they banned me for 5 years. This period ends later this year and I'd like to go back and visit my friends. Will they let me? What type of visa do I need?

  • 55
    The expiry of your ban doesn’t mean you’ll be allowed to return. How will you convince the US authorities that you won’t work illegally again?
    – Traveller
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 10:16
  • 16
    If I were in your shoes I wouldn't travel to the US in the next years. I have a felling immigration officiers don't really like that you are trying to go back there the moment your ban was lifted. It would probably look better if you waited some time afterwards. Commented Feb 19, 2020 at 11:46
  • More than likely you will NOT be let in.
    – JonH
    Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 22:38

4 Answers 4


You would need to show that your life circumstances have changed such that there is no probability of you

  • overstaying your visa in the US
  • seeking employment
  • falling back onto public services (food stamps, medicaid, medi-Cal, public housing etc.)
  • committing crimes or terror here (that's an easy one)

The way to show that is a well-established life in a country where you are lawfully present, which gives you high incentive to return to your life there, and also high disincentive to stay in the US. DavidSupportsMonica has an excellent answer describing what that looks like.

If you're still an itinerant free spirit, it ain't gonna happen.


Will they let me?

This depends whether you can prove you have a good income and you don't need to work. This also depends on you proving you will stay with your friends and that you have enough funds for your trip. No-one can say yes or no certainly but if you provide the right proof and obeyed your ban you do have a chance.

What type of visa do I need?

You need a B-2 visa:

B-2 visitor visas are nonimmigrant visas for persons travelling to the United States temporarily for tourism, pleasure or visiting.

  • 15
    Violation of immigration laws is one of the major grounds for being found inadmissible nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/… After being deported for illegal working it seems unlikely the OP would be able to overcome this. See answer in travel.stackexchange.com/questions/140890/…
    – Traveller
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 10:54
  • 9
    @Traveller yes, she will likely have serious trouble getting a visa. Daniil does correctly point out what she would need to get in order to be admitted, slim though the chances of actually getting it may be.
    – jwenting
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 11:48
  • 2
    "This depends whether you can prove you have a good income and you don't need to work.", or, if you do intend to work there again, then apply for a worker visa.
    – vsz
    Commented Feb 18, 2020 at 20:29
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    I think this answer omits consideration of a significant issue — does the applicant have significant ties to the home country which will impel a return home after the US visit. While the issue isn't expressly mentioned in the US State Dept materials I've seen, it's the elephant in the room when the visa officer considers the application. Certainly decent assets and a good income will help the applicant, but money is portable, while emotional and other life connections to home are more fixed. Commented Feb 19, 2020 at 3:17
  • 1
    I recommend meeting in a third country.
    – BritishSam
    Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 15:46

US law regulating the issuance or refusal of visa applications requires the officer examining the application to presume that the applicant has immigrant intent. A successful visa application must disprove this presumption. Proving that something (here, an overstay) will not happen in the future is logically impossible, and in the real world very difficult.

The most powerful evidence is what @Harper - Reinstate Monica mentions as a well-established life. In other words, such strong ties to one's country of citizenship or residence that the applicant will not overstay in the US and will return home after the US visit. These factors can include the applicant's having ongoing, valuable, and long-term employment, owning a well-established business, the ownership or long-term lease or rental of real property where the applicant resides, and family connections such as children, parents, and a long-term spouse who rely on the applicant (both fiscally and emotionally) and to whom the applicant will thereby be compelled to return.

Personal bank accounts that reflect long-term, regular, and predictable deposits and withdrawals consistent with the applicant's claims of work, salary, and costs of living will be helpful.

Owning property in which the applicant doesn't live is much less persuasive, as is savings and other assets. All of these can be managed remotely or converted to cash and transferred internationally. They will add little or nothing to your application; given these assets' portability, they may well count against you.

Having friends or family in the US will weaken your application, as the examiner will see them as resources to support you if you overstay. Still, you must honestly answer all the questions on the visa application. If you do not and are found out by the examiner — and they have lots of resources to check on your answers — you will be banned permanently for misrepresentation.

Even if you demonstrate compelling reasons to return to your country of residence after the visit, as described in this answer, your application for a visitor visa may well be denied because of your US immigration history.

  • 1
    The idea that you can't prove a negative is a myth: link 1, link 2
    – JBentley
    Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 14:23
  • @JBentley Yes, as you note, some negatives are indeed provable. The one at issue above — demonstrating that something (overstaying) will not happen in the future — is, however, not one of them. I'll amend my statement to be less absolute. Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 15:18
  • The third paragraph says “helpful” and I won’t argue against that. But it definitely isn’t proof. I was homeless (by choice) in dozens of countries for five years without changing banks or the way I used them. I was never denied entrance even though I never had anything to imply intent to exit. But if I had a record of overstay, it might have been different.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 16:49
  • @WGroleau I think your record of not overstaying does imply intent to exit. That you obeyed the terms of your prior various entries suggests you would do so again. A clean travel history is always useful when making a new visa or entry application. Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 17:14
  • 1
    We just found out that @WGroleau is actually Jack Reacher :-)
    – jcaron
    Commented Feb 20, 2020 at 23:25

You will be eligible to apply for a visa, but you must still meet all the requirements to obtain one. For any nonimmigrant visa, such as the B-2 Visitor visa that would be appropriate in this case, one of those requirements is demonstrating nonimmigrant intent, and another is willingness to follow the immigration and criminal laws of the United States while you are there.

Although your ban period is up, you will have to convince the consular officer, who will absolutely have reviewed your removal case and past records, that you aren't going to do it again. You can make your case by showing "significant ties" to your home country such as a family and desirable job. But you will still have a hard case to make.

If you lied to immigration officials in the past (for example, if you intended to work in the US when you applied for the visa or entered the country, and they have reason to believe that is the case), you would have a lifetime ban for "material misrepresentation to obtain an immigration benefit."

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