An overstay of a visa means that an individual entered the US legally on a valid visa but then failed to leave the country once their visa came to an end. When you receive a temporary visa to come to the US such as Tourist Visitor Visa, its expiration date explains how long you are allowed to stay in the country. All non-immigrant visas have expiration dates and you are obliged to leave the US by that date.
Overstaying a visa in the United States can have serious consequences, as it violates U.S. immigration laws and regulations. The severity of the consequences can vary depending on the duration of the overstay and individual circumstances.
However, visitors from abroad occasionally decide to remain longer. If that takes place, individuals may experience one of the following four main repercussions for overstaying a US visa:
depending on how long they overstayed, be prohibited from returning to the US for a period of three to ten years.
not be qualified to submit an application for a stay extension, change of status, or extension of status
their current visa revoked
not be eligible to apply for another US visa in the future.
Speak with one of our knowledgeable immigration lawyers if you have overstayed your US visa and want to know what to do next.
Some of the consequences
Ineligibility for Future Visas: Individuals who overstay their visas may become ineligible for certain types of visas in the future. Overstaying can raise concerns about the individual’s intent to comply with immigration laws, making it difficult to obtain new visas.
Bar from Reentry: Individuals who overstay their visa for more than 180 days but less than one year and then leave the U.S. may be barred from reentering the country for three years. If the overstay exceeds one year, the bar increases to ten years.
A lifetime ban if you seek to return to the US illegally after staying in the country for more than a year after your visa expired or if deportation proceedings against you start.
Fortunately, a waiver of the three and ten-year limitations may be requested. You must demonstrate that your spouse or parents, who are US citizens or lawful permanent residents, will suffer physical, financial, or psychological hardship without the waiver and the visa in order to be granted one.
Deportation Proceedings: Overstaying can lead to deportation proceedings initiated by the U.S. government. Individuals who are found to be in violation of immigration laws may be subject to removal from the country.
Loss of Immigration Benefits: Overstaying can lead to the loss of certain immigration benefits, such as adjustment of status, which is the process of obtaining a Green Card while in the U.S. Additionally, individuals who overstay may lose the ability to change their immigration status.
Accrual of Unlawful Presence: Overstaying results in the accrual of unlawful presence. Accruing more than 180 days of unlawful presence can trigger a three-year bar upon departure while accruing more than one year can trigger a ten-year bar.
Difficulty in Obtaining Employment Authorization: Individuals who overstay their visa are generally not eligible to apply for employment authorization, which can impact their ability to legally work in the U.S.
Impact on Adjustment of Status: Overstaying can complicate the process of adjusting status to that of a permanent resident. An overstay can result in additional requirements and scrutiny during the adjustment process.
Negative Impact on Family Members: Overstaying can also affect family members, particularly if they are dependent on the overstaying individual’s legal status.
Difficulty in Obtaining Citizenship: Overstaying can have an impact on the eligibility requirements for obtaining U.S. citizenship. It can affect the continuous residency and physical presence requirements.
Legal Consequences: Overstaying is a violation of immigration law, and individuals who are found to have committed visa fraud or other related offenses could face legal consequences.
It’s important to address any visa overstay issues promptly and consult with an immigration attorney for guidance on the best course of action. In some cases, there may be options to address the overstay and minimize its negative impact on immigration prospects.