Can I travel to the US from Canada if I was out of status?

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Can I travel to the US from Canada if I was out of status?

I have entered the US legally. I am currently on a student F1 OPT program that will expire this month. I am waiting to be approved for a Permanent Resident of Canada. If I stay for another 6 months (which is about 6 months after the expiration date of my OPT), would I be still allowed to come back to the US from Canada on vacation later on or I will be banned for 10 years? Also, I would like to know if I am banned to enter the US for 10 years. When I take my Canadian passport, would I be allowed to enter the US?

Asked on February 8, 2012 under Immigration Law, Illinois

Answers:

SB, Member, California / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you are barred from reentry because of accrued unlawful presence, then you are barred from reentry, regardless of the country of your citizenship. If you overstay the expiration date of your OPT, you will fall out of status but you will not be accruing unlawful presence since your F-1 I-94 does not have a definitive expiration date but, rather, has D/S (duration of status).  But I would say that a better solution for you, if you know that you will need to stay beyond the expiration date of your OPT is to apply for a B-2 change of status.  That will enable you to have time to finish up all your business in the US prior to immigrating to Canada.


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