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I'm Italian and I wanted to return to the U.S. to meet some friends. The problem is that in 2011 I overstayed my visa by 4 months (so 90 days of regular visa waiver plus 4 months more for health problems). I read that this put me into a 3-year ban.

Now it's 2015 and in March I went to apply for a B2 visa (ESTA was denied), but they refused to give me a visa because I didn't have enough ties in my home country. I took all the proofs so I believe that the denial was actually for the overstay.

I want to reschedule another appointment this month, but I wanted to know if anyone has re-entered the U.S. after an overstay, or if anyone got a B2 visa after an overstay.

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    You never had a ban (the 3-year ban is for accruing 180 days of unlawful presence and then leaving). – user102008 Aug 14 '15 at 20:40
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    Any overstay is going to make them look skeptically at your application. – Loren Pechtel Jun 2 '16 at 22:35
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+50

An overstay of less than 180 days on an ESTA/VWP entry will not trigger a ban - it's only once you have overstayed by 180 days that a ban will kick in. Your total stay was over 180 days, but only the 4 months counts as an overstay, not the entire stay.

However, once you've overstayed by even a single day you are no longer able to enter the US under the Visa Waiver Program - your existing ESTA will immediately be invalid, and any future attempts to obtain an ESTA will normally be refused as you've already discovered.

Which means you need a visa to enter the US.

To answer your specific question, yes, countless people have been able to obtain a B2 visa after an overstay. And at the same time, countless people have been refused for B2 visas after an overstay.

When determining your eligibility for a US visa, the consulate staff take the approach of presuming that you WILL break the conditions of the visa, and then rely on you to provide sufficient evidence to convince them that you will not. As someone that has already broken the conditions of the VWP, it's going to take a lot more to convince the officials that you will not break the visa conditions than it would for the next person. So your previous refusal almost certainly wasn't directly due to your overstay - but due to that fact that with that in your history, you did not provide sufficient evidence that you would not overstay again.

For your next application, you need to take as much proof as possible of ties to your home country, and of the fact that you will return there within the period of the stay granted. This could include things like proof of ownership of property, a letter from your employer granting leave for a period of X weeks, proof of enrollment in a school/university/etc - or anything else that will act as some form of proof that you will return to your home country in a short period of time.

It is certainly possible that you will simply not be able to provide sufficient documentation to convince the staff, in which case your application will be refused, and there is likely nothing further you can do about it other than to try again in a few years.

  • Family ties, i.e. children, a partner or caring for a sick relative might also prove your attachment to Italy. – mts Jun 3 '16 at 8:38
  • ONE Concern in their head: Incentive/ motivations to illegally stay back in the US. YOU HAVE TO convey you have greater incentive to come back to Italy. Also, the more needy you APPEAR to get Visa the less likely you will receive; it's a perception / confidence game where you have to be 'cool' for the officer to be grant it. The subtle game vs the documents game – Alex S Jun 4 '16 at 2:35
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    OP vaguely arm-waved something medical. That's either a) a lame excuse or b) a bona-fide medical issue he's private about. I don't care because I respect his privacy. But if the medical issue was bona-fide and doctor's advice was "don't fly home", present it at the visa application, that ought to satisfy them! Still need a visa though. – Harper Apr 1 '17 at 18:17

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