I am a foreign medical graduate, who studied Doctor of Medicine in the Philippines with my wife. Upon our graduation, we secured a hospital in the country for our postgraduate internship. However, the immigration liaison officer at the hospital that supposed to extend my visa traveled out of the country. Eventually, my visa had already expired by the time she filed it for extension.

As a result, the immigration fined me huge amount of money for overstaying. However, the hospital refused to take responsibility for my expired visa. Instead, they laid me off in order to secure their operational license. The whole thing lingered until the pandemic started. My wife's visa also expired during the pandemic.

Now, we want to exit the country on our own, to return to our home country. In processing for our exit from the Philippines, the immigration is charging both of us around  $2,500 as penalties for overstay. We appealed to them that we had no such money. Instead, they advised us to secure CERTIFICATE OF INDIGENCY from Nigerian embassy in the Philippines, stating that we are unable to pay the penalties. Having secured the CERTIFICATE OF INDIGENCY from our embassy, the immigration said that our names will be blacklisted for 10years for overstay, or we pay the penalties.

But my major concern now is that I just secured admission for masters in a US university for Fall 2021. With this, I will be applying for F1 visa and F2 for my wife next month. We plan to take USMLE while in the US, and match into the US medical residency program. But with our names being blacklisted in the Philippines, will it affect our chances of getting student visas at the US embassy? Will it also affect our future plans to practice medicine in the US as medical doctors?

In filling out the online DS-160 forms, what do we answer to the question that says, "Have you ever been removed or deported from any country?" Is blacklisting a form removal or deportation?

One of my friends in the UK advised me to answer NO to the DS-160 question of "Have you ever been removed or deported from any country?" He gave the reason that since I was the person  who opted to exit the country that I should answer NO to the question. But because my friend is not a lawyer, I decided to seek your professional advice.

My concern is: if I answer YES to the DS-160 question with the explanation as INDIGENCY, won't the consular at the US embassy deny me visa and also doubt my financial capacity for my master's program in the US, even though I have two sponsors for my US study. Again, if I answer NO to the DS-160 question, will it backfire against my US visa and my future medical career in the US? I am just confused.

Please, kindly use your professional experience to advise us on what to do.

Thank you

  • 8
    This website does not provide professional advice; rather, it is mostly frequented by anonymous amateurs. Given the complexity of your problem and the consequences of making a wrong move, I would strongly advise you to consult an immigration lawyer (ideally one licensed in the US and experienced in US immigration law).
    – ajd
    Apr 23 '21 at 10:01
  • The overstay will be obvious, I imagine. It does not sound as if you were removed or deported, you overstayed and are/have exited voluntarily having paid the required fine. Is there a separate question in the US visa application about overstaying? I agree with @ajd that your situation looks complex and warrants professional advice.
    – Traveller
    Apr 23 '21 at 11:08
  • 2
    You are the sole responsible of the overstaying. You knew the dates, and you should not assume the hospital can/will correct it. You should have push strong pressure to get the extension, but failing that you had to leave (regardless promise of others). OTOH if your story is true, I see you were "naive" (and it is not bad for young people) so you didn't overstay for malice. This can help, but get as much as documents as you can about the hospital wanted to extend your visa. But as a US consular officer is saying: have a plan B (it is super important).
    – Giacomo Catenazzi
    Apr 23 '21 at 12:07

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