Last Tuesday, my niece of 51 y.o. was denied a tourist visa at the local US Consulate.
The reason for the denial?: she overstayed on her previous visa in 1992!
Even though she explained to the consular officer that the reason was that she met there an Argie expat, fell in love with
him, married him and had a child in Santa Ana , California. She then moved back here when the baby was months old.
The kid is 26 now, a bright student of architecture of UBA. All to no avail. I can not believe that the US gov can be so vindictive.
I'm very, very sorry to hear this, Henry, It's probably no consolation to know that it is happening to thousands of other people too. It's not just the USA and Great Britain: the governments of other countries like Italy, Hungary etc are also turning inwards and shunning people from the rest of the world.
I am sorry that she can't get a Visa but the problem is that so may people overstay their tourist visa. That's why they are reluctant to look the other way or forgive.
Immigration will get tougher and tougher in next 10 years. Even simple things like tourist visas

At sams time, citizenships and residencies will become easier for people with money. Money tops everything.


I can not believe that the US gov can be so vindictive.
Very sorry for the situation.
I am just evaluating the situation out loud and looking for other factors besides the vindictiveness of the consul.

Prior to being granted an interview, when the lady in question filled out the online questionnaire for her visa application, there was a very important question about any previous overstays.

I wonder how she answered that question. There are 2 possibilities:

1. She may have answered >NO<, meaning to say that she has not overstayed in the past (and hoped that the consular interviewer would not find out). If this is the case, and the consul did find out, then her current visa denial is a result of an attempted misrepresentation (or worse, fraud) rather than vindictiveness of the consul. This is a very unfortunate situation to be in because the person in question may be flagged in the system as "inadmissible to the United States", making it very hard to get US visa in the future.

2. She may have answered >YES<, meaning to say that she has indeed overstayed in the past. The online system would have asked her to give details and she would have typed up the details of her situation. If this is the case, and she did admit on her application that she was at one time unlawfully present in the US, the the interviewing officer applies one of the 2 methods in determining the outcome of her visa application:
(a) If her overstay was for one year or more, then she is barred from reentering the U.S.for ten years from her last date of exit
(b) If her overstay was for less than 180 days, then this will not trigger any bars to her reentry, she is not flagged as inadmissible in the future and may certainly be granted the US tourist visa.

In other words, previous overstay does not result in an automatic denial/rejection. Not being honest about it (and hoping that the consular officer will not find out or care about it) has much harsher consequences. I am hoping that this may help someone who may be in the same situation and is considering applying for the US B1/2 (or other) visa.
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A totally different case: My friend overstayed his tourist visa, remained in the US and a few years later he married a US citizen in California. Then he applied for resident alien status through marriage. At that point he was requested to wait for an outcome from Homeland Security OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES. He stayed in Argentina for one or two years waiting for a decision, while his wife was in the USA, running the risk of loosing everything he had left in the USA. Then, while waiting in Buenos Aires, he received a letter saying that he had been "pardoned" and eventually got his green card and returned to the USA. However, they could have turned him down if they wanted to as well.