Almost 4 per cent of Vincentians who visited the United States for business or pleasure in the 2016 fiscal year overstayed the time they were given in the country.

The figures were published in the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) “Fiscal Year 2016 Entry/Exit Overstay Report”, released earlier this month.

The report provides data on departures and overstays, by country, for foreign visitors to the

United States who entered as non-immigrant visitors through an air or sea port of entry, and who were expected to depart in fiscal year 2016, (Oct. 1, 2015 – Sept. 30, 2016).

An overstay is a non-immigrant 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: individuals for whom no departure has been recorded (suspected in-country overstays), and individuals whose departure was recorded after their lawful period of admission expired (out-of-country overstays).

The report shows that 362 Vincentians overstayed their time in the United States.

Of the 9,608 Vincentians who visited the United States on B1/B2 visas last year, 20 left the country after overstaying lawful period of admission.

However, the United States government says it has no record that a further 342 ever left the country, and has categorised them as suspected in-country overstays.

This figure gives SVG a Suspected In-Country Overstays rate of 3.56 per cent, while the total rate for the country was 3.77 per cent.

Compared to 2015, more Vincentians entered the United States in 2016 for business or pleasure visits. The 9,608 who visited in 2016 were 511 more than the previous year.

In 2016, however, there was a higher number of Vincentians — 29 — leaving the United States after staying longer than allowed.

There were, however, fewer suspected in-country overstays in 2015, when the total was 335, compared to 241 last year.

Overall, the number of overstay in 2015 –364– was just two more than in 2016.

In 2016, the United States admitted 50,437,278 non-immigrant visitors, 110,679 of whom left the country after overstaying their time.

A further 628,799 are suspected in-country overstays, making total overstays 739,478, or 1.47 per cent.

The report noted that determining lawful status is more complicated than solely matching entry and exit data.

It says, for example, that a person may receive from U.S. Customs and Border Protection a six-month admission upon entry, and then he or she may subsequently receive from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services a six-month extension. Identifying extensions, changes, or adjustments of status is necessary to determine whether a person is truly an overstay, the report says.