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One Percent of US Visitors Overstayed Visas


A Customs and Border Protection officer checks the passport of a non-resident visitor to the United States inside immigration control at McCarran International Airport, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011, in Las Vegas.

A Customs and Border Protection officer checks the passport of a non-resident visitor to the United States inside immigration control at McCarran International Airport, Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2011, in Las Vegas.


About 1 percent of visitors to the United States who arrived by air or sea last year overstayed their visas, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said Tuesday.

About 45 million visitors came to the U.S. between October 1, 2014 and September 30, 2015. Some were business or pleasure travelers in the U.S. with visas that expired with time. Others were in the U.S. under a program that reviews them in advance.

DHS said that by September 30, 2015, about 416,500 had not left the U.S.

Another 66,500 people stayed past their leave dates, but later left the U.S.

The number of visitors who overstayed in the U.S. was lowest among 38 countries that are part of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). VWP allows some travelers into the United States for tourism or business for 90 days or less without a visa.

Countries with the highest rates of visitors who did not leave were Djibouti, Bhutan, Burkina Faso and Afghanistan.

The report did not include numbers of visitors that entered by land, especially visitors from Canada and Mexico. More than 200 million people entered the U.S. at land border crossings in 2015.

The department says it will try to include them in future reports.

The report did not include the kind of visas recorded in the survey. DHS says it would like the report to review more F, M and J visas.

An F1 visa allows non-immigrant students into the U.S. M1 visas are issued to students who are working in the U.S. or training for a job. J visas are issued to students in exchange programs.

Congress passed new rules in December that tighten the waiver program. Any citizen from Iran, Iraq, Syria or Sudan -- or anyone who traveled to one of those countries in the past five years -- is not eligible for a waiver and must get a visa to enter the U.S.

I’m Jim Dresbach.

The VOA News staff reported on this story for VOANews.com. Jim Dresbach adapted this story for Learning English. Kathleen Struck was the editor.

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Words in This Story

expired - v. ended

reviewed - v. examined; studied

advance - n. forward movement; progress in the development of something

waiver – n. an official document indicating that someone has given up or waived a right or requirement

issued - v. giving something in an official or public way

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