The penalties for overstaying

| 31/01/2019 | 3 Comments

Do you know what the consequences are for tourists who overstay one or two days?


Auntie’s answer: Generally speaking, staying beyond the limit on a visa is a serious offence. However, there are clearly varying degrees and reasons for staying for longer than you are legally allowed to be here.

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A Department of Immigration official explained that according to Section 78(1) of the Immigration Law (2015 Revision), “a person who remains in the islands, where such remaining is in contravention of this law, commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of twenty thousand dollars and to imprisonment for five years”.

But there is room for immigration officers to use common sense and their judgement when faced with a tourist who may have stayed a touch too long. “If a tourist finds himself overstaying his authorisation for a very short period of time, a reviewing officer may use reasonable discretion in such cases,” the official added.

There are several options open to officers when faced with someone who has overstayed for a short amount of time. They can take no action, issue a verbal warning, issue a written warning, issue an administrative fine or, in the worst-case scenario, arrest and prosecute the overstayer.

Before you panic, the immigration representative pointed out, “The first scenario is more common whilst the last scenario is usually reserved for persons who intentionally commit serious breaches of the law.”

Officers handle each matter on a case-by-case basis, so I would venture that in this particular example, the tourist should be OK, since we are talking about a day or two; though I hope next time they take very careful notice of the end date of their visa.

The law mentioned above can be found on the CNS Library

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Comments (3)

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  1. iindie says:

    I would recommend getting to the Immigration office before your visa expires its date , take a quick hop there and get your visa extended … best practice would be to drop a visit 1 week / 10 calendar days before expiry (Immigration queuing and waiting areas can be daunting at the best of times on the Island) , Always stay on the safe side !

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Auntie.
    The Immigration official’s response seems very reasonable.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Good luck Sharon. Immigration have created a lot of WORC for you.

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