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Temporary Visas

Chinese Visitor and Student Overstays in U.S. Fewer Than Global Average

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has just published it’s FY 2016 entry/exit overstay report. It shows that the visa overstay rate for Chinese visitors and students is lower than the global average and decreasing over time.

An “overstay” is a nonimmigrant who was lawfully admitted to the United States for an authorized period, but remained in the United States beyond his or her lawful period of admission.

The DHS report shows that China’s 0.95% overstay rate for those entering with B1/B2 (visitor for business or pleasure) visas is half of the global average of 2.07% and approaching the 0.68% level for B1/B2 entrants under the Visa Waiver Program, which is designed for countries with low overstay rates.

Further, China’s 5.02% overstay rate for persons entering with F, J, and M (student or exchange visitor) visas is slightly below the global average of 5.48%. Just a decade ago, the rate was much higher, perhaps as high as 50%.

 Admission TypeExpected Departures Total Overstay Rate
B1/B2 from Visa Waiver Program Countries21,616,0340.68%
B1/B2 entering with visas13,484,4802.07%
F, J, and M (excluding Canada and Mexico)1,457,5565.48%
B1/B2 from China (including Hong Kong and Macau)2,058,3110.95%
F, J, and M from China360,3345.02%

The China B1/B2 overstay rates also appear to be trending downwards, from 1.25% in 2014, to 1.04% in 2015, and 0.95% in 2016.

According to the report, DHS maintains an overstay list, prioritizes certain cases, and then that priority list to its branch, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for enforcement.

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