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According to the dates written on my f1 visa paper, I did not overstay.

According to PROGRAM START/END DATE written on I-20 form, I did not overstay.

However I think F1 visa is valid as long as you are a student. As far as I remember, I had a right to stay in the us for 2 months after graduation (grace period). But I left 5 months after I graduated.

Did I overstay my visa?

I might apply for a US tourist visa and I think they ask if I overstayed previously. How should I answer this question?

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  • You mean you graduated before your I-20 end date?
    – user102008
    Sep 10 at 2:27
  • yes – user102008
    – user122904
    Sep 10 at 2:58
  • 1
    If you care about being able to return to the US in the future, I would consult an immigration lawyer to see how you should respond.
    – thesun
    Sep 10 at 13:17
15

To build on the otherwise great answer,

The actual question is: "Have you ever been unlawfully present (1), overstayed the amount of time granted by an immigration official (2) or otherwise violated the terms of a U.S. visa? (3)" I added the numbers. Does that help? The answers to the separate questions are: no -- you do not become unlawfully present on F-1 until an immigration official tells you to leave and similarly you didn't overstay the time because no such time was given. But the third is yes because the terms included you studying in the US which you were not doing. So answer yes and explain the truth in plain, simple words. "I entered on a F-1 Visa on date X, my I-20 had an end date Y, I graduated on date Z, I left on date U." Perhaps include a sentence or two but not much more about why you didn't leave when you should've. (Let's hope you were not working illegally.)

Your next question will be, what are your chances.

Depends.

If this was like five plus years ago, you have a spouse and a house and you are seeking a visa for a legit business reason like to enter for a few days to install or repair a highly complex piece of equipment? Your chances are great.

If this was like 2-3 years ago, you have practically zero ties to your country and want to be tourist for two months during COVID? Do not even bother filing because each refusal just will make the future applications harder.

Consider what the officer is going to be concerned about when you are asking for a B1/B2 visa: are you going to leave the country on time or are you going to become an illegal worker or illegal immigrant? Your credibility is lower than a person with no such history so you need to have an unusually good story on why are you entering and why can you be expected to leave. And Covid makes this a lot, lot worse: all the conferences and business meetings went virtual and it's complicated and risky being a tourist.

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  • 6
    The only thing I would change is rather than saying "my I-20 indicated I will graduate on date Y" I'd put "my I-20 had an end-date of Y" . It is both simpler and allows the student to explain later (if true and if asked) that they thought they were allowed to stay to that date.
    – Dragonel
    Sep 10 at 10:09
  • @chx What do you mean by "filing"? I don't know where you are from but US tourist visas are given for 10 years here. Embassy also doesn't require us to show them any travel plans usually before giving us a 10 year tourist visa but they can always ask documents if they want. Filing an application form usually doesn't mean we are going to be required to answer questions about our travel plans, unlike you implied Which makes me think maybe you are unfamiliar with the process or you are from a country that have different US embassy policies.
    – user122904
    Sep 10 at 14:05
  • 2
    The ten year multiple entry visa is the best you can get but a B1/B2 visa can also be given for just a single entry. (I personally had both kinds.) There's an optional section for travel plans. With your history, trying to get one without a travel plan is utterly hopeless.
    – chx
    Sep 10 at 16:27
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First of all, the visa is irrelevant. US visas are only for entry, and the visa expiration date has nothing to do with how long you can stay in the US.

As F1, you were almost certainly admitted for "D/S" on your I-94, which means your F1 status does not have a definite end date. You remain in F1 status indefinitely, as long as you comply with the rules of F1 status. This includes having a valid I-20 and remaining in good standing with your program of study. You also remain in F1 status for 60 days after successfully completing your program.

It appears from your description that you graduated much sooner than your I-20 end date, and your I-20 was not updated to reflect the new graduation date. After your graduation, even though your I-20 had not expired, you were no longer studying in the program that the I-20 was for. Therefore, you cannot remain in status on the basis of that I-20. You remained in status for 60 days after your graduation per F1 regulations. After those 60 days, you were out of status.

So, unless you had a pending OPT application or a pending Change of Status application, I think the answer should be Yes, you did "overstay". However, you did not accrue any "unlawful presence" because your I-94 had "D/S", and you thus could not have stayed past the date on your I-94.

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  • so while filling out the b1/b2 application, should i answer yes as well? i'm not sure if they are referring to unlawful presence or something else
    – user122904
    Sep 10 at 3:00
  • @user122904: Unless you specifically see the magic words "unlawful presence" on a document, you should assume that it is asking about any sort of overstaying. You have to put "yes" on your B1/B2 application, or any other visa application which asks about overstaying.
    – Kevin
    Sep 10 at 20:05

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