I went to study my undergrad in the US from 2008 to 2012, then stayed for work from 2012 to 2016 under OPT, OPT extension and then finally an H-1B.
Unfortunately the company I worked for closed down in Dic 2015 and per the law I was supposed to leave the US the next day (since under an H-1B I must be employed at all times). When speaking to my lawyer at the time, she advised me that I could stay in the US for up to 6 months since my termination date without risking any major immigration issues - something like an unofficial grace period for me to maybe secure another job or at least get my things in order so I could leave the US properly. She further explained that an overstay of +6 months was a different story and would bring definite harsh consequences, like a 3 or 5 year ban from visiting the US.
I finally left the US in May 2016, about 5 months after my contract was terminated. My lawyer advised me that when I reapplied for a visa, I should declare that I overstayed whilst on my H-1B. Not declaring this and them finding out was also grounds for a severe ban.
I am now thinking of finally visiting my friends in the US and hence begin an application process for a B1/B2 visa, and I was hoping y'all could help me with some advice. Currently employed, with comfortable savings and this would be the first time I apply for a US visa since my H-1B.
- Is this scenario similar to anyone elses experience? If so, how did it go when you reapplied for a visa?
- Under the context I provided and in your opinion/experience, would immigration take a "slap on the wrist" kind of approach to all of this or would the 5 month overstay be seen as a hard issue?
- Part of me thinks "what happens if I don't declare that I overstayed, how can they even know I did that?". And so my question is, how can they actually know I overstayed? What kind of stuff do they check for during the visa application process?
- I'm also assuming that under a Biden administration, I'm more likely to be forgiven for my overstay period, rather than during the Trump presidency. True or untrue?
- Any other comments or tips?
Thanks in advance for all the help and any feedback is welcome.