WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENCES OF OVERSTAYING A U.S. VISA?
When you enter the United States with a temporary, non-immigrant visa, it is important to know just how long you are allowed to stay in the country. Although your visa will have an expiration date, this is not necessarily indicative of how long you will be allowed to reside in the country. A visa simply allows you to travel from your native country to a port of entry in the United States. If you are allowed to enter, you will receive a second card, Form 1-94, which will determine when you must leave the U.S.
If you stay past the expected departure date on your U.S. visa, intentionally or not, there may be consequences. Not only will your visa be voided on your expected day of departure, meaning that you will be staying in the United States illegally, but you could be barred from returning to the country for a number of years—depending on the length of your overstay. For this reason, it is highly recommended that you consult an Orlando immigration attorney immediately if you have overstayed your visa.
Have you overstayed a temporary visa? Call the Fisher Legal Group to learn more about your options. Initial consultations are free and confidential – call (407) 792-6970.
TIME BARS FOR OVERSTAYING A TEMPORARY VISA
In 1996, Congress passed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA), which imposes penalties on those who remain in the U.S. after their visa has expired. Depending on how long you overstay your visa, you could be barred from returning to the U.S. for three to ten years.
- Three-Year Ban: If you remain in the United States after your authorized stay has expired for more than 180 days, but less than one year, you will be barred from returning to the country for three years. However, this is only true if you leave before formal removal action is taken.
- Ten-Year Ban: If you remain in the country after your authorized stay has expired for more than 365 continuous days, you will be barred from returning to the U.S. for ten years. Again, this is only true if you voluntarily leave the country before removal procedures are instituted.
EXCEPTIONS TO “UNLAWFUL PRESENCE” IN THE U.S.
In some cases, you can legally remain in the U.S. even after your expected departure date without accruing “unlawful presence.”
Typically, you will not accrue unlawful presence if:
- You were a minor (i.e. under the age of 18)
- Your asylum application was pending with USCIS
- You were a beneficiary of the family unity program
- Your application for adjustment of status was pending
- You were in the U.S. as a victim of human trafficking
WILL I BE ABLE TO OBTAIN A NEW U.S. VISA?
If you have overstayed your period of authorized stay in the U.S., you must return to your country of nationality to obtain a new visa. You may no longer apply at a consulate in the United States. However, this can be avoided by filing for an extension of stay or change of status or adjustment before your visa expires. This would allow you to maintain your status until a decision is made on your application.
If you have questions about your visa status, please contact our immigration lawyers in Orlando, FL.