I overstayed my tourist visa, but 16 years have passed (from when I left in 2005) and I know that back then their immigration tech system wasn't as sharp as now.... I think the system was implemented in 2007. In the meantime my old passport expired and I got a new one. I don't even know if I had a ban. If I had a ban is expired cause it would have been a 10 year ban, but

  1. how do I check for sure if I had a ban?
  2. If I never had a ban, suppose I file for ESTA or any other visa (DS160 for the B1, or as domestic worker), do I have to say that I overstayed illegally even though (we assume) I never had a ban?
  3. what if I didn't have a ban and I enter via bus from Mexico, just to be on the safer side? Cause I've seen stories of people who got the ESTA, but were still denied entry. And I've heard stories of people who lied about their stay on the ESTA application, got the ESTA and made it to do in/out with no prob.
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    If the question is “did you overstay” then then answer is yes, whether you had a ban or not. If you have any doubts, apply for a visa, and answer all question truthfully. It’s still not a guarantee you won’t be rejected at the border (mostly if there’s a discrepancy between your declarations and reality), but it clears out quite a few possible issues which will have already been checked. – jcaron May 2 at 12:37
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    If you overstayed for more than 180 days then you had a ban. Did you overstay for more than 180 days? – phoog May 2 at 12:50
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    "enter via bus from Mexico, just to be on the safer side?" - what makes this safer? You are checked by the same CBP whether you enter by air, sea, or land. – Midavalo May 2 at 15:50
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    @midalvo difference being, when turned away by air or sea, you are forced to spend thousands of dollars on buying a last minute air or sea trip back at gotcha prices, (and "back" may mean to your country of citizenship through a byzantine path)... plus whatever penalties they cook up. As opposed to land entry where they simply make you go back the way you came: the cost of the experiment is $0. – Harper - Reinstate Monica May 2 at 19:34
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    Judged by the question it seems like the ban is a side issue (it is irrelevant now in any case since it is expired) and what you really want to know is whether the CBP remembers that you overstayed. The only way I know of to see any of that information is to make a FOIA request for your entry and exit records. If that produces the records you'll know they have them for sure. If it doesn't, however, you'll still need to worry whether they know something your request didn't capture. – Dennis May 2 at 20:19

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