My family and I have just been granted a multiple-entry tourist visa and we are planning to go to the U.S. in April 2017. I'm planning to overstay in the United States to look for a better Job but my family will go back home after a month.

My questions are:

  1. Future consequences: if they try to renew their visas, will they be denied because I didn't go back? Will the Consul find out what I did?

  2. Is there a way I can legally stay in the US for a job for more than the 6 months I'm allowed on my tourist visa?

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    I don't even know where to start. This sounds like a terrible plan. – Greg Hewgill Nov 3 '16 at 1:48
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    Once you overstay - especially if you do it whilst looking for work - you can pretty much guarantee that you're never going to work in the US ever again. – Doc Nov 3 '16 at 1:52
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    Yeah don't do this. Even if you find a job, you'll be working illegally unless you leave the country and your employer sponsors you for a work visa, a process that can require a significant amount of time and money and is often impossible if the job doesn't meet very specific legal criteria. If you work illegally, not only are there consequences if you're caught, you're working for an employer who has demonstrated that they don't care about following employment law, which puts you at risk for all kinds of scams and exploitation. – Zach Lipton Nov 3 '16 at 1:55
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    You enter with your family, they exit without you; their visas are at risk of cancellation, making it very difficult for them to return for a very long time, if ever. Your visa gets flagged and/or cancelled. Employers are required to check for work authorization or they risk criminal penalties. And the job you might 'get' will likely be a lot worse than you think. Nothing is legal about going underground. If you want to look for a job while in the US, do; exit, and return with the correct, sponsored visa, so that you can do right for yourself and your family. – Giorgio Nov 3 '16 at 2:09
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    I'm planning to overstay in america to look for a better Job haha you're done already. Don't be surprised if you get denied entry – Hanky Panky Nov 3 '16 at 7:27

Answers first, but please read the whole post:

  1. This will be one of a factors considered by the Consulate, but they will not be automatically denied visas simply because you overstayed. The consul might find out depending on what kind of "family members" you are talking about (parent? son? in-laws?), since you would be listed on some of their applications.

  2. Since you're getting a tourist visa, any kind of paid work you'd be performing for an American employer would be illegal. To stay legally and work in US you need a different (non-tourist) visa, which is usually organized by employer. Unless you're a Canadian, there is no visa which allows you to come to US and find a random job.

Now, what you are planning to do sounds like a risky gamble. While the job market in US is now good, it can only benefit people with work authorization which you don't have. If you plan to work illegally, the competition is tough, and you'd be basically limited to very few jobs with low pay and a much higher chance to be ripped off (after all, you can't really complain to police about being not paid for the work done). There's also a chance to get caught and deported, which is not fun at all. Please reconsider this plan.

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    This is a good answer, but I want to add that even people who are working illegally in the US are entitled to be paid for their work, and their employers must still comply with minimum wage and other employment laws. People working illegally are obviously afraid to go to the authorities, and employers know this, so some may take advantage of them. It's likely not a good idea to just call up the proper authorities and say "hi I'm here illegally," but there are rights organizations that assist with such cases and provide legal advice, and they've done a lot to help immigrants being mistreated. – Zach Lipton Nov 3 '16 at 2:07
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    @ZachLipton: for most illegal immigrants those organizations are of little help, because it is typically impossible to prove the fact of employment - and independent contractors are not covered under minimum wage. For those "employers" the word of mouth in immigrant community about ripping people off typically does more damage than all legal organizations combined together. Except maybe AG probes. – George Y. Nov 3 '16 at 3:59
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    While I fully agree with your answer, one must consider the fact that there are 10 million illegals in the US, so enforcement is obviously lax and the conditions are not that bad. – JonathanReez Supports Monica Nov 3 '16 at 9:11
  • FWIW even Canadians can't take a random job. The jobs that qualify for a TN visa are in fact a subset of those that might qualify for an H-1B, it is only that Canadians and Mexicans can skip the labor department certification and H-1B lottery if they can get an appropriate job offer. – Dennis Nov 3 '16 at 15:36
  • @JonathanReez: For someone who has lived here for many years, and have a network of reliable friends and employers, it is definitely much better. I know a few undocumented/unlicensed contractors who do renovations so well that they have a waiting list! However the conditions become much worse if for example they got hurt at work. And the conditions for new illegal immigrants, especially those who arrive without existing support network, are quite bad. – George Y. Nov 3 '16 at 23:47

Future consequences: if they try to renew their visas, will they be denied because I didn't go back? Will the Consul find out what I did?

Depends on your country of residence but that is entirely possible. Visa applications often require the demonstration of "family ties" that would compel visitors to go back home. Having a close relative who stays illegally in the US will certainly not help.

Will the Consul find out what I did?

Probably. You will get flagged as an illegal immigrant as soon as your tourist Visa expires. US immigration may discuss this with your embassy, but that depends on the country and the relationship.

  1. Is there a way I can legally stay in the US for a job for more than the 6 months I'm allowed on my tourist visa?

No. In order to find a job you need a legal authorization to work in the US. See https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/employment.html. There are various types of visa but they are all hard to get.

Final thought: DON'T DO THIS. It is illegal, you will be deported if you get caught and you will not be able to enter the US again for a long long time, or never.


To add to what others are saying: getting health insurance will be enormously difficult since your employer is extremely unlikely to give you one (I am not even sure there's a legal way even if they wanted to!) and then you are in serious trouble. Health care is known to be ridiculously expensive and your options will be very limited at using it.

  • One of the reasons emergency rooms in the USA are expensive and crowded is that they must treat all emergencies, regardless of immigration status. Hence illegal immigrants wait until they have become very sick. – Andrew Lazarus Nov 3 '16 at 20:59
  • OP won't manage to stay long enough for this to even become an issue. OP isn't going to have an "employer", and is going to either get deported or else run out of money. This is a really bad idea. – smci Nov 4 '16 at 12:03

Planning US Tourist Visa overstay; is this a bad idea?

I am not a Lawyer but a pre-planned overstay without any emergency is actually an illegal idea, not just bad.

Is there a way I can legally stay in america for a job for more than 6 mos since i only have a tourist visa?

Yes! there is; apply for the proper visa that fits your purpose of travel. Your purpose of travel is

I'm planning to overstay in America to look for a better Job

You've already tricked the system into believing you are a genuine tourist when your intentions are different. Might as well start worrying about getting accepted for entry at the port when you're interviewed and can't satisfy the Officer.

And nope, no points for being honest on SE when the visa application is not factual.

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