What is the 10-year bar on re-entering the United States?
Hi, I’m Jim Hacking, immigration lawyer practicing law throughout the United States at our office here in St. Louis, Missouri.
A viewer asks about the 10-year bar, and I thought I’d make a video to explain how it works. He has a friend who overstayed their visa by more than two years and wants to come back to the United States. Generally if you come to the United States on a visa, it could be a student visa or a visit visa on some kind of non-immigrant visa, and you have an end date on when you’re supposed to leave, either that’s your graduation date or the end of your OPT date or the end of your visit if you’re on a B1B2. Everyone always knows the day that they’re supposed to leave the United States. If you overstay past that time, you’re not going to be able to come back to the United States for a while.
If you’re inside the United States for more than six months and you overstay that visa by six months past the deadline on your exit date, then you’re going to have a three-year bar. If you have stayed longer than one year, you’re going to have a 10-year bar. That means that you can’t come back to the United States for 10 years unless you get a waiver.
Now, our viewer asked an interesting side question and that is, well, if my a friend who overstayed their visa by two years is a citizen of country A and then becomes a Canadian citizen, does that overcome the 10-year bar? No, that does not overcome the 10-year bar. The 10-year bar exists, regardless of whether you get a new passport from a new country. Rather, the only way that you’re going to be able to overcome the 10-year bar or even the three-year bar is you’re going to have to ask for a waiver. Typically that’s based on hardship to US citizen relative. If you overstay your visa and you become barred from entering the United States, either for three years or 10 years, you’re going to have to stay outside the United States unless you convince USCIS that you are deserving of a waiver.
Of course, the other thing to keep in mind is that you’re going to have to have another path into the United States. Some people think, well, if I overstay and I wait my 10 years, or I wait my three years, then I’m going to be able to come back. Well, you’re going to need an independent basis on how to come back. Whatever your basis was before, that is obviously expired by the time you’ve done your three years out and 10 years out. Rather, you’re going to have to need to be sponsored by someone or by an employer or have another reason to come to the United States. The thing is that even if you “do your time”, you’re still going to have a problem with coming back to the United States because the embassy has that discretion. Even if you get a waiver, they still might not let you in. Waivers are tricky. The bar is tricky and getting or taking that three-year bar or 10-year bar or overseeing your visa, there’s a real punishment attached to that. You need to think that through.
If you have questions about whether you’ve overstayed your visa or whether you are subject to a three-year bar or a 10-year bar for overstaying your visa by more than six months or more than a year, give us a call at (314) 961-8200. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to join us in our Facebook group. That’s called Immigrant Home. We’d love to see you there. We answer a lot of immigration questions and have some good dialogues there about immigration news of the day, and if you liked this video, please be sure to subscribe so that you get alerted whenever we make videos just like this one. Thanks a lot. Have a great day.