DHS Releases Entry / Exit Report for FY 2016

Every year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) releases a report that provides data on the entries, exits, and visa overstays that occurred in the previous fiscal year. On May 22, 2017, the DHS released the entry / exit report for fiscal year 2016 (FY16), which ran from October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016. While this report does not account for all foreign nationals in the United States, the report is more robust than those from years past, because it examines the data from a far greater array of classes of admission.

‘Overstay” and ‘In-Country Overstay’ Defined

The report defines an overstay as “a nonimmigrant who was lawfully admitted to the United States for an authorized period but stayed in the United States beyond his or her lawful admission period.” The report further clarifies how this applies to F-1 students, who are typically admitted for “duration of status” (i.e. D/S), rather than a set period of time. Those who were admitted and then timely filed for an extension or change of status, or who applied to adjust status to that of a lawful permanent resident (i.e. “green card” holder) are not considered to have overstayed.

The report also includes a sub-classification of overstays, referred to as ‘in-country overstays.’ As explained in the report, “an individual who is a suspected in-country overstay has no recorded departure, while an out-of-country overstay has a recorded departure that occurred after their lawful admission period expired.”

FY2016 Report Includes B-1/B-2, F-1, and J-1 Visa Holders Admitted in FY16 at Airports and Seaports

The report analyzes data of the entries and exits of foreign nationals into and out of the United States, and includes foreign nationals entering on visitor, student, and exchange visas, among other nonimmigrant classifications. The report from fiscal year 2015, on the other hand, examined only those who entered as B-1/B-2 visitors for business or pleasure.

The latest report is still limited in some other respects, however. The report includes only nonimmigrant visitors who travelled through an air or seaport of entry and does not take into account those who used a land or vehicular port of entry. The report also provides only the number of overstays who entered in FY16, and who were expected to depart at some time before the end of the fiscal year. The press release for the report aptly describes this as a “snapshot of time – those foreign visitors who were expected to depart in FY16, and those who did not do so.”

2016 Report Findings on Overstays

In 2016, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) admitted 50,437,278 nonimmigrants who were supposed to depart in FY16. Of that total, about 739,478 (1.47 percent) are believed to have overstayed in the United States. Of those who overstayed, approximately 628,799 are considered to be in-country overstays.

The in-country overstay rate for Canada is 1.33 percent of 9,008,496 expected departures. The rate for Mexico is a slightly higher 1.52 percent of 3,079,524 in-country overstays. Of those who entered on student or exchange visas, there is a 2.81 percent rate of suspected in-country overstays. The in-country overstays for people who entered pursuant to the visa waiver program was significantly less, at .60 percent out of more than 21.6 million visitors.

Report Emphasizes DHS Commitment to Enforcement

The DHS concluded the report with a restatement of its intent to enforce the goals set out in President Trump’s executive order regarding immigration enforcement efforts. To achieve this goal, the DHS will be extending the use of facial recognition technology to confirm the identity of departing visitors. What began as a pilot program at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, will now be extended to seven other airports in the United States.


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