I was denied an extension of stay on my tourist visa on Monday. I scheduled my flight back to the Philippines immediately - this week, Thursday. I will be scheduling an interview for my student visa application as soon as I get home. I just got my Form I-20 for the LLM Program from the university and started filling up the online form.
I have one question on one item: "Have you ever been unlawfully present, overstayed the amount of time granted by an immigration official or otherwise violated the terms of a U.S. visa?"
Do I answer NO since I are departing immediately upon receipt of the denial decision. During the entire pendency of the application, I was considered in legal status.
Or YES, and just explain why? I am afraid that it may sound as if I willfully violated the terms.
If a timely filed application for extension of time is denied, either because the application is considered frivolous or the person engaged in unauthorized employment while in status, then the person is considered to have accumulated unlawful presence. Therefore, you are going to have to state "yes" on your application.
If your unlawful presence was for more than 180 days, you are barred by law from reentering for 3 years (the bar is 10 years if unlawfully present for 1 year or more). If you were unlawfully present for 180 days or less, you are not automatically barred, but it will weigh against you when the counselor officer exercise' his or her discretion with respect to the student visa.
You should consult with an immigration attorney to determine how best to approach your case.
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