I overstayed in the US for 18 years.

First 3 years of which were under H1B, which expired before I was able to apply for a green card because my employers couldn't help me move forward. There was a violation of my H1B and I was NOT at fault. Got no choice but to stay and keep working using the valid SSN I got upon approval of my H1B.
I got a driver's license and haven't failed to pay and file my taxes for 18 years.

I left the US 3 years ago on my own accord, not deported, no criminal records but unpaid credit cards.

Ignoring the advice of my American friends to not go home, now I realized what they really meant. Clouded by my sole desire to go home to my 3 kids I left as little children, now all grown-ups plus 3 grandkids, I never thought of all possible scenarios beyond my desire to finally be with my kids again, the reality of how hard life is in my country.
Now I know that going back to the US is like hoping for a miracle to happen for me.

But, nevertheless, I'd like to know any opinion, comment or advice from anyone. Please be kind and don't judge.

  • 4
    Are you hoping to go to the US for just a visit or to stay long term (or for the rest of your life?) It may make a difference in the answer and it certainly makes a difference in which part of Stack Exchange this question belongs.
    – Willeke
    Oct 30, 2021 at 9:51
  • 1
    Can you also edit in your nationality, it might not make a difference but in some cases it might.
    – Willeke
    Oct 30, 2021 at 13:13

1 Answer 1


You have a ten year bar to entry meaning you have another seven years before you will be eligible for a visa. After serving your bar your chances remain slim and none.

My advice will be to forget ever entering the USA again. An 18 year overstayer will receive no mercy. I was also an F1 and subsequently on H1B who fell out of status for a brief period of time and sympathize with your situation however it is what it is.

The 10-year Unlawful Presence Bar If you are an alien and are not a lawful permanent resident of the United States, you may be inadmissible for 10 years if:

You accrued one year or more of unlawful presence during a single stay in the United States on or after April 1, 1997; and You voluntarily departed the United States or were removed from the United States under any provision of law. The 10-year unlawful presence bar applies whether you leave before, during, or after removal proceedings.

This 10-year inadmissibility period starts when you depart or are removed from the United States. During this 10-year inadmissibility period you are not eligible to:

Receive an immigrant or a nonimmigrant visa to come to the United States; Adjust your status in the United States to that of a lawful permanent resident (Green Card holder); or Be admitted to the United States at a port of entry. If you are subject to the 3-year or the 10-year unlawful presence bars, you may receive a visa and/or be admitted to the United States if you apply for and receive a waiver of inadmissibility. The legal requirements and procedures for applying for the waiver depend on the immigration benefit you seek.


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