I am currently in the US. I have been travelling and have only just checked my passport to find the stamp to leave says the 17th Sept. I must plead ignorance as when applying for an ESTA I did not read the 90-day maximum stay. I will overstay by 7 days.

I am stressing about whether I will be able to leave. I am supposed to be returning on a family holiday in October, less than a month after leaving and I have just read they might ban me for 3+ years.

Given that my return ticket was booked at the time of entrance, would the border guy not have seen this and known I was over staying?

  • 13
    So those extra 7 days are so important that you'd consider breaking the law (and risking your future ability to visit the US) rather than simply alter your travel plans to leave earlier? Sep 3, 2015 at 4:22
  • You've tagged this visa, but it sounds like you are visting on the Visa Waiver Program, not with a visa?
    – CMaster
    Sep 3, 2015 at 7:36
  • 1
    Why cant you apply for an extension before the deadline? If you are not granted an extension then that be it, you have to leave. At least that eliminates all the guess work Sep 3, 2015 at 8:27
  • 1
    @Hanky웃Panky: There is no extension of stay for people on VWP.
    – user102008
    Sep 3, 2015 at 8:56

2 Answers 2


As Mark Mayo says, there are no physical exit checks in the US. Nothing will stop you from leaving.

You will have no ban. A 3-year ban is only triggered after accruing 180 days of "unlawful presence" and then leaving.

However, overstaying will cause you to not be able to use VWP in the future, which means you will have to apply for visas to visit. And the overstay may be factored into whether they grant you visas.

Changing your flight or buying another flight that leaves before the VWP is up is your best option. It's not possible to apply for extension of stay for people on VWP. In a real emergency situation, it's possible for people on VWP to get something called "Satisfactory Departure", but your situation doesn't sound like something that applies.


You likely can't claim the border guard seeing it, as people do all sorts of things with fancy flights and it's up to the traveller to ensure they're doing the right thing. You could have had a return from Australia to Los Angeles, then inbetween flown to South America and back, and wouldn't have overstayed, so it's not on the border guard to check this.

As for being allowed to leave - yes, there's no exit immigration check in the US. They're unlikely to fuss or cause you problems. However, getting back in will be difficult.

From visapro:

Some of the consequences of overstaying a visa are:

  • Overstays may be barred from returning to the US for ten years or three years depending on the period of overstay
  • Overstays may be further restricted from Extension of Stay or Change of Status
  • Overstaying will void your existing visa
  • Overstays generally are unable to obtain a new visa except in their country of nationality
  • Overstays may not be able to Adjust Status in the U.S.

In addition, let's say you accidentally cause a crime in the US. Traffic accident. Involved in a robbery. You're an illegal alien at this point, and that'd likely lead to further issues. Your insurance will be void.

However, don't think that the lack of exit immigration will let you 'sneak' out - they'll still track your entry/exit flights and know when you depart. So it'll still be recorded as overstaying. Many many examples are easy to find with googling eg ' how do they know?'.

So yes, you could do these extra few days and hope all is good. Or you could apply for an emergency extension at an embassy/consulate (don't know how long this might take). Or you could, and unfortunately probably should change your plans.

Note - hopping across to Canada/Mexico won't reset your 90 days either, sorry :/

  • Doesn't the CBP also share info with other "Five Eyes" nation's immigration departments too? Meaning a likley possible consequence is also being blocked from UK/OZ/NZ/Canada?
    – CMaster
    Sep 3, 2015 at 7:34
  • @CMaster Five Eyes is a spy program, not an immigration program. But some countries do ask if you have ever overstayed anywhere... Sep 3, 2015 at 7:53
  • A quick hop to somewhere further away (say, Costa Rica) would, however, reset the clock. Changing the ticket to return earlier is likely going to be cheaper and certainly safer though. Sep 3, 2015 at 7:54

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