740,000 Foreign Visitors Stayed Illegally in Fiscal Year 2016

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released its FY 2016 overstay report revealing that 739,478 foreigners who were admitted for temporary stays and were required to depart during the year failed to do so. This was the second overstay report, and it provided more data than the 2015 report although it still does not include overstay data related to travelers arriving by land from Canada or Mexico. The number of overstayers represented about 1.5 percent of all foreign travelers.

The report divides the travelers into several categories:

Category Due to Leave Non-Departure Rate
– Visa waiver countries 21.6 million 0.60%
– Other tourist or business 13.8 million 1.90%
– Canada & Mexico by air 12.1 million 1.30%
– Long-term (e.g. students)   1.5 million 2.80%
– Others   1.4 million 2.10%


These data indicate that the short-term visitors from mostly Western European countries who benefit from being able to enter without visas for tourism or business represent the fewest overstays as well as the greatest number of visitors. On the other hand, the students and others who come for longer stays represent a greater overstay problem. They require a visa regardless of the country. The data in the report identify visitors from several Third World countries as sources of the higher rate of visa violation. Most of the high overstay rates below are for travelers entering with short-term tourism or business visas (B-1/B-2). Omitted are some countries with high overstay rates but with fewer than 1,000 persons who overstayed.

CountryCategoryOverstaysNon-Departure Rate
- BangladeshB-1/B-21,0823.60%
- BarbadosB-1/B-21,6952.70%
- BrazilStudents2,8813.10%
- Burkina F.B-1/B-21,17325.50%
- China18,0752.10%
- ColombiaB-1/B-219,4662.10%
- ColombiaStudents1,2073.10%
- Dominican R.B-1/B-29,6532.70%
- Dominican R.Other visa1,14012.10%
- EgyptB-1/B-21,9162.10%
- El SalvadorB-1/B-25,0792.60%
- GeorgiaB-1/B-21,05613.90%
- GhanaB-1/B-21,0674.50%
- GuatemalaB-1/B-25,8042.20%
- GuyanaB-1/B-21,9248.50%
- HaitiB-1/B-25.6693.90%
- IndiaStudents4,5753.10%
- IraqB-1/B-21,04010.80%
- JamaicaB-1/B-29,6213.30%
- JamaicaOther visa2,7286.70%
- JordanB-1/B-22,5286.00%
- KoreaStudents5,1112.10%
- LebanonB-1/B-21,0282.40%
- NicaraguaB-1/B-21,4442.00%
- NigeriaB-1/B-212,0436.00%
- NigeriaStudents2,09422.70%
- PakistanB-1/B-22,6412.80%
- PhilippinesOther visa6,52324.60%
- ThailandB-1/B-22,1222.30%
- ThailandStudents1,3584.70%
- TurkeyStudents1,2482.50%
- UkraineB-1/B-22,9503.30%
- UkraineStudents1,20312.90%
- VenezuelaB-1/B-223,8214.20%
- VietnamB-1/B-23,0823.40%
- VietnamStudents1,8608.20%
The overstay rates for students and other longer program visitors from Brazil and China also merit close scrutiny. Both countries account for large numbers of overstayers (2,881 and 18,075 respectively). The Obama administration specifically called for expanding the issuance of visas in those two countries and the consular officers may thereby have been pressured to lower their vigilance against the entry of intending visa violators.This DHS report is useful in identifying weaknesses in the visa screening process and the visa waiver program. Most of the tourists from the 38 visa waiver countries have low overstay rates. The only ones with higher than a 1.0% rate were Austria (1.3%), Chile (1.5%), Czech Repub. (1.1%), Greece (1.7%), Hungary (2.2%), Italy (1.2%), Latvia (1.8%), Lithuania (2.0%), Portugal (2.4%), San Marino (2.0%), Slovakia (1.9%), and Spain (1.5%). These countries collectively accounted for about 50,000 overstayers and should all be considered for elimination from the visa waiver program – especially those with rates over 2.0%.


About Author


Jack, who joined FAIR’s National Board of Advisors in 2017, is a retired U.S. diplomat with consular experience. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and has authored studies of immigration issues. His national and international print, TV, and talk radio experience is extensive (including in Spanish).


  1. avatar

    Remaining in the USA
    after one’s visa has expired
    might become the major means
    of do-it-yourself immigration.

    The total number of unauthorized foreigners deported
    each year is much less than these visa-overstayers.

    In other words, there is a NET INCREASE
    in visitors without permission
    due to lax enforcement of visa.

  2. avatar
    George R. Fuller on

    What is the penalty for overstaying a visa and is it being enforced?
    Would mandating E-verify help deter over stayers?
    Would requiring one parent to be a parent of a child born in the country eliminating any child born here is a citizen?
    Is there a country in the world that controls the over stay problem and what do they do?

  3. avatar

    So DHS can compile statics of visa violators to an exact percentage, but they can’t find and force the detractors of over-stayed visa’s to be deported?

    Do they not have information on these foreigners employment including IRS taxes,school/college attendance, and /or place of residency? Are they receiving any form of government assistance such as student grants/scholarships , housing, food, medical,etc?

    If the answer is “yes” to any of the above, then there is the solution to the burden! Cut them off, freeze accounts, block the grant, disqualify the benefits that entice them to be here in the first place! Place them on a travel ban and authorize detainment and confinement until ICE collects and proceed with deportation.

    Enough of the excuses!

  4. avatar

    It’s not one elected official it’s ashitload doing the very same things the Clintons have done for years, sell the Country out from under is for the simple reason of lining their pockets. If a guilty verdict would lean to a certain side it’s absolutely Dem,Libs,Socailists period. The middle WORKING class does not endorse amnesty or more laws that only need to be inforced. If you believe this bleeding heart **** about letting them stay and keep sending more out of empathy then why are the Arab Nations sending over a %85 males ratio ? And the learned trades Americans are carrying the main load of damage that is going on with the flood of illegals as they are good paying jobs that dont require a college education just years of hard work,*** kissing and commitment that they have put in over the years just to be under cut but the piece of shots that hire them, rent to them and a fucking worthless Government that only sees more revenue not compassion. Illegals all day long in California can get a fake SS card and a driver’s license on any corner for $100 . So you arrest the so called piece of **** leaders in all the safe haven States first. You put laws in that if you hire them then you lose your business, if you rent to them then you lose your property. PERIOD. If you can’t work and you can’t rent then they would leave. Pretty fucking easy. But all you fucking Liberals don’t have a mind even collectively. Assclowns at best.

  5. avatar

    3/4 of a million , forgot to go home, once those NON AMERICAN feet it the USA soil, it is a FREE GAME.

  6. avatar

    These 3rd world’ er’s haven’t turned the country into a cesspool yet.I would say that it will be another 10-20 years.

    • avatar

      SWE you crack me up hahahahahaha!! It shows you have no understanding of what’s going on……the criminal illegals are hidden…..you won’t find them easily……same as any other criminal

      So if no good abused illegal s …we would still have those criminal s sneaking in…..

      Why immigration reform?….to fix what has gone bad n to put in place new law enforcement to enforce the law…..otherwise you great will be descendant’s of illegals at this pace n Maeve mine…

      Clear your mind n think what I just have said after all you are an Engineer

      • avatar

        Hidden my ***, go get a drug charge go get any felony as an American citizen and i guarantee they will find you under any fucking rock in this Country. So I call B.S

        • avatar

          I can go to any construction site in any city and hand you tens of thousands of them ,everyday all day. Nebraska small towns are exploding. Towns that had like 25,000 for the last 35 years are in just the last 5 yrs at 60,000 and they are all Mexicans. Pretty hard to find. Smfh

  7. avatar

    This is another area where we need to have consequences for not following the law, which has not been the case. If you don’t depart on time, then you shouldn’t be able to come back for five years. If you don’t voluntarily depart and are caught then it should be 10 years.

    It’s really disheartening to see the parents of children and teens killed in the Manchester bombing. But it’s also true that a lot of this is the refusal to vote for the politicians who say enough is enough. Instead, Europe seems to prefer those leaders who say why worry, we just have to accept these things will happen. Was it Isis? Who knows, but it hardly matters. The problem is Islam. Of course, Hillary adamantly insists differently.

    I was watching a European security expert today and he was saying that Belgium has 18,000 people who are suspected of radicalization. But they are hardly the biggest problem, which is the larger group that gives their tacit approval. When one of the gunmen who killed 150 at a Paris concert fled to Belgium, he avoided detection for weeks because, as the authorities admitted, the neighborhood hid him.

    Some people in this country say they don’t want their grandchildren asking what did you do about Trump. The better question, here also but mainly in Europe, is why you stayed mute while people with a bloodthirsty 15th century mentality took over your country. They might ask in this country why we allowed our population to grow to a half billion because we didn’t want to cut back on immigration.

    • avatar

      You keep on forgetting who we are and our way of life. Yes no to those people to be here….but it appears you want to destroy this land with you fascist methods…….and forget to preserve Freedom instead like Lincoln did to preserver the Union. I do not expect you to understand what I said.

      Simply put, the issue of immigration is our fault, your fault why?…..because of the people we voted for are doing nothing AND The People who gives them jobs and abused them ( the good ones ) and now we are stuck with them…Leland do you have a brain?????

      Don’t you realize if immigration reform is not done to finally fix this once and for all as per Jack’s article as well, we will lose all of our freedoms?

      How? well you tell me….

      I realize you are not that smart but at least I expect you to understand that we are not the EU……you can move to a different land if you do not like it. I still believe this can be fixed. We have our crazy people like the Oklahoma and fanatics……etc

      what do you mean what did you do about him…you voted for him…so not even good luck to your grandchildren will save them…..you did it……..if indeed any of the issue the media brings out were not true, then nothing would be said….so there it goes again your fault…….but Trump is better than Pence or Ryan……what choices!!!…if there would be no collusion then why the general is being supeona….why all those lies….why Kushner now is being investigated……at least the forefathers designed the system of check and balances but we screwed up after 300 years no Constitution changes…… so you approve to give our intelligence away…..spend all the money on the military and none for us. not to do what was promised…….that reflects who you are Leland…..it seems you belong to a cult….

      • avatar

        The “quickest way to lose our freedoms” is to keep allowing in more and more people who do not share those values. That’s what Europe has done and all the people like you who insist that it’s no problem, helped in that process. The UK has been on heightened alert for a couple years. People don’t know when their loved one leaves the house if they are going to come back.

        If there is anybody that’s guilty of facism, it’s Islam. When they teach that someone should die for the mere fact of leaving that religion, you have to be a real hypocrite to defend them while talking about “freedoms”. Nor is it some minority view. Pew Research did polls in Muslim countries in 2009 and in the largest of those countries a majority supported that idea. Why do continue to excuse those beliefs?

        • avatar

          As expected you did not grasp what I meant, I never said accept everybody n especially those guys. .read again, break my feedback into pieces n reason things out….you will see….

          • avatar

            So don’t accept “those guys” because they don’t share our values? I think Trump said that.

          • avatar

            Leland how are you going to tell who you accept that is not going to commit a crime…..?

      • avatar

        The only reasons the Libtards are getting closer and closer to taking this Government over for good is because you are letting in people that are radical,socialistic and marxist to the point they are going to rule in years to come and then theres no turning back to a democracy. All the Democrats care about is votes period. You bash Trump but I’ll bet you sat on your hands with earmuffs on as Obimmer was selling us out and the Clintons were lining their pockets. Moral of the story is Democrats and Libtards will be the ruin of this Nation it’s obvious to everyone but the dense.

    • avatar

      Leland the “Einstein”……..if enforcement never worked, even on the H1B right now, what does that tell you?……..

  8. avatar

    Jack finally we get technical with with substance … It is rather complex … It is all about business…….n money…..a big mess

    We need immigration reform badly. to fix all this in a way that the statement itself enforces it…. otherwise it will never happen…..

      • avatar

        The never-ending and nebulous call for “immigration reform”. Does that include amnesty for people here illegally or would it require them to leave? No speeches, just an answer to that.

          • avatar

            You said we “need immigration reform badly to fix all this”. How does amnesty “fix” this problem? It only makes it worse. I know you’re clueless, but when you reward people for their law breaking, which is what amnesty does by it’s very definition, then they will continue to do it. Border crossings are dropping precipitously because Trump has announced they won’t be allowed to stay. So they are not going to try. And “our American way of life” is about obeying the law.

          • avatar

            Leland I hate to break it to you but you area a complete FLINSTONES…..impossible to reason with you cannot even see beyond the tip of your nose…

            I have tried to educate you for a couple of years but your gray matter is fossilized……

          • avatar

            Immigration reform = amnesty, it always has and it always will, these people that overstay or enter illegally should NEVER be rewarded. Enforce the laws that exist without all the left wing whining and crying. NO amnesty at all to law breakers, and peter save me your long winded BS answer, I don’t care about your progressive idea, in other words STFU.

          • avatar

            Richar who cares about that, you probably have an illegal boyrfriend!! hahahahaha!!!