Thanks for your question.
The position is that it is mandatory for the UKBA to reject an application made by any person who has previously overstayed there visa and left at their own expense if they should make an application for re-entry within 1 year from the date on which they left the UK This means that whilst it would not be an application they would necessarily reject immediately upon receipt if she made one, they would certainly reject it if they considered that she were a further risk of an overstay.
It's going to be difficult with that length of overstay frankly, so she should certainly apply for a visa before she travels (whatever nationality she is - eg. USA) and the application needs to be well prepared and she explain fully why it was necessary for her to overstay in the past.
Unless she has very good reasons it is highly probable that her application would be rejected.
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They will know because the date of her exit from the UK after the overstay will be noted in her passport. They will know she overstayed when she tries to go through immigration here after her flight and will refuse her entry.
Because of this she needs to apply for a visitor's visa before she travel. noting my advice above:-
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It will be noted on the database here. She will be rejected if she travel here
She needs to make an application prior to travelling, and even then it will be very difficult because of the length of the overstay.
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