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I am an Australian citizen and was studying in the US for four years, then applied for Optional Practical Training. I went to visit Canada, and when I tried to return, in 2014, they denied me entry saying I had overstayed my visa. The period from graduation to my visit to Canada was only five months.

Currently, I am living in Canada, married to an American who is working in Canada, and I would like to revisit the US to attend my friend’s wedding and visit extended family.

Can I just apply for a B-2 visa, or what is my best option?

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Yes you can and must just apply for a visa. Because you have been designated a previous overstayer, you cannot use the Visa Waiver Program.

Per 8 U.S. Code § 1187

If the alien previously was admitted without a visa under this section, the alien must not have failed to comply with the conditions of any previous admission as such a nonimmigrant

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If by your self admission, your overstay was less than 180 days, you do not have a bar against entering the USA. Actually since you were a student and student are admitted D/S, you never accumulated any illegal presence although you fell out of status.

However make sure you are fully prepared for your visa interview and answer everything truthfully and in addition to the standard visa application supporting documents, have copies of documents of your students visa, entry and exit, graduation dates, etc which will show clearly you exited.

  • Or just apply for an ESTA, answer truthfully, and if it's approved then you're good. Odds are it won't be approved, but it would be $14 well spent either way... – Doc Feb 4 '17 at 0:19
  • What does admitted D/S mean? – cpast Feb 4 '17 at 2:05
  • @cpast Duration of Status – Giorgio Feb 4 '17 at 2:36
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    "Because you have been designated a previous overstayer, you cannot use the Visa Waiver Program." That's not supported by the text of the statute. The section says that you must not have previously overstayed on the Visa Waiver Program, not that you have not previously overstayed in general. – user102008 Feb 8 '17 at 1:44

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