I have a friend who's applying for a F1 visa. His parents brought him to the US when he was little (8.5 years old), but he left once he turned 18 with his parents and hasn't attempted to re-enter the US since. (Actual age at departure 18 years and 20 days). He's now 26 and he wants to attend a graduate program in the US.

  • How old was he (in years and months) when he left the US. I am pretty sure that leaving before 18 doesn't count against him; there may be some some leeway after he turns 18, but I don't think it's very long. – Martin Bonner Nov 7 at 10:00
  • He was 18 years and 20 days old when he left the U.S. – user57623 Nov 9 at 14:06
  • I've edited that information into the question (comments are ephemeral, questions should stand on their own). I've also fixed a typo. Please either approve my edit, or enter the information in your own wording. – Martin Bonner Nov 10 at 11:48
  • My friend just thought of something: when his family was still in the U.S. On a tourist visa (before becoming out of status), his family filed for permanent residency (green card) and it was denied. This happened when he was young. Given this , I suppose the consulate might view his student visa application with suspicion and think he might still have immigrant intent? – user57623 Nov 12 at 9:53
  • That's not helpful, but on the other hand the immigration service may decide not to hold the decisions of your friends parents against him. – Martin Bonner Nov 12 at 13:40

Your friend started accruing "unlawful presence" on his 18th birthday. As he left within 180 days, he didn't acquire a ban. If he had left after 180 days, but left before a year, he would have acquired a three year ban which would now lapsed. If he had left on or after his 19th birthday, he would have acquired a ten year ban which would still be in force.

The real problem is:

What’s more, an overstay on one’s record can make it difficult to obtain many other nonimmigrant visas or immigration benefits, since the immigration authorities will have to first be convinced that you will abide by the terms of your next visa.

The quotation is from: https://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/us-immigration/visa-overstay-minor.html

It is vitally important that your friend is very careful to be completely truthful when he fills in the application form. If he is found to have not told the truth (even if it was, in fact, by accident), he is unlikely to ever be able to get a US visa.

  • Do you think the chances are quite low since it may look like he'll be tempted to overstay in the U.S. Since he grew up there? – user57623 Nov 9 at 14:08
  • @user57623 Very hard to say. He should certainly be prepared for failure, but it's probably worth applying. – Martin Bonner Nov 10 at 11:51

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