This report provides data on departures and overstays, by country, for foreign visitors to the United States who entered as nonimmigrant visitors through an air or sea Port of Entry (POE) and who were expected to depart in FY 2016 (October 1, 2015 – September 30, 2016).
DHS continues to make significant progress by enhancing its ability to identify and quantify nonimmigrants who have stayed beyond their lawful period of admission. During the past year, DHS has improved its data sharing, which made it possible to include additional nonimmigrant classes of admissions in this year’s report. The FY 2016 report covers significantly expanded classes of admission, compared with the FY 2015 DHS Entry and Exit Overstay Report.1 While the focus of last year’s report was on business or pleasure travelers to the United States, and those traveling under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP), this year’s report also includes student travelers, worker classifications, and other classes of admission (a detailed list of categories is listed in Appendix A of this report). With the addition of these classes of admission, this report accounts for 96.02 percent2 of all air and sea nonimmigrant admissions to the United States in FY 2016. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will continue to build upon this work in future reports by refining data, including more information from the land border, and adding biometric confirmation of the biographic overstays indicated in this report.
An overstay is a nonimmigrant who was lawfully admitted to the United States for an authorized period, but remained in the United States beyond his or her lawful period of admission. The lawful admission period can be a fixed period, or based on completion of a certain activity, such as a student seeking a college degree. DHS identifies two types of overstays: 1) individuals for whom no departure has been recorded (Suspected In-Country Overstays), and 2) individuals whose departure was recorded after their lawful period of admission expired (Out-of-Country Overstays).
It is important to note that determining lawful status is more complicated than solely matching entry and exit data. For example, a person may receive from CBP a six-month admission upon entry, and then he or she may subsequently receive from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) a six-month extension. Identifying extensions, changes, or adjustments of status is necessary to determine whether a person is truly an overstay.
Valid periods of admission to the United States vary; therefore, it was necessary to establish “cutoff dates” for the purposes of a written report. Unless otherwise noted, the tables accompanying this report refer to departures that were expected to occur between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016.
This report analyzes the overstay rates to provide a better understanding of those who overstay and remain in the United States beyond their period of admission with no evidence of an extension to their period of admission or adjustment to another immigration status. DHS has determined that there were 50,437,278 in-scope nonimmigrant admissions3 to the United States through air or sea POEs who were expected to depart in FY 2016, which represents the majority of annual nonimmigrant admissions. Of this number, DHS calculated a total overstay rate of 1.47 percent, or 739,478 individuals. In other words, 98.53 percent of the in-scope nonimmigrant visitors departed the United States on time and abided by the terms of their admission.
This report breaks down the overstay rates further to provide a better picture of those overstays who remain in the United States beyond their period of admission and for whom there is no identifiable evidence of a departure, an extension of period of admission, or transition to another immigration status. At the end of FY 2016, there were 628,799 Suspected In-Country Overstays. The overall Suspected In-Country Overstay rate for this scope of travelers is 1.25 percent of the expected departures.
Due to continuing departures and adjustments in status by individuals in this population, by January 10, 2017, the number of Suspected In-Country Overstays for FY 2016 decreased to 544,676, rendering the Suspected In-Country Overstay rate as 1.07 percent. In other words, as of January 10, 2017, DHS has been able to confirm the departures or adjustment in status of more than 98.90 percent of nonimmigrant visitors scheduled to depart in FY 2016 via air and sea POEs, and that number continues to grow.
This report separates VWP country overstay numbers from non-VWP country numbers. For VWP countries, the FY 2016 Suspected In-Country Overstay rate is 0.60 percent of the 21,616,034 expected departures. For non-VWP countries, the FY 2016 Suspected In-Country Overstay rate is 1.90 percent of the 13,848,480 expected departures.
Part of the nonimmigrant population in this year’s report includes visitors who entered on a student or exchange visitor visa, F, M, or J visa, respectively. DHS has determined there were 1,457,556 students and exchange visitors scheduled to complete their program in the United States. However, 5.48 percent stayed beyond their authorized window for departure at the end of their program.
For Canada, the FY 2016 Suspected In-Country Overstay rate is 1.33 percent of 9,008,496 expected departures. For Mexico, the FY 2016 Suspected In-Country Overstay rate is 1.52 percent of 3,079,524 expected departures. Consistent with the methodology for other countries, this represents only travel through air and sea POEs and does not include data on land border crossings.
DHS will continue to improve its data collection, both biographic and biometric, on travelers departing the United States, and will continue to release this report publicly, at a minimum, on an annual basis. With respect to biometric exit collection, CBP has undertaken multiple biometric exit tests since 2013 to develop a successful, comprehensive concept of operations for biometric exit. In June 2016, CBP implemented the first operational facial biometric exit field trial at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport (ATL) adding to CBP’s biometric exit verification capability that utilizes mobile devices to biometrically verify departure during targeted outbound operations.
CBP will implement biometric exit in the air environment in three phases beginning with phase one, which is represented by the recently implemented ATL solution. In phase two, CBP will build out the enterprise services and end-state biometric exit solutions. Phase three will include scaling the data infrastructure to support full biometric exit.
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