Overstaying Your Visa
Visitors to the United States come to the US for a variety of reasons such as to work, to explore, to visit family or to get married. Many non-citizens wish to remain in the US beyond their visa time limit, but rather than take the proper legal steps or leave and return to the US, they will take the riskier step of overstaying their visa and staying below the radar of the United States Citizen and Immigration Services (formerly the INS). However, no matter what the reason, if you are here under a visa and overstay your authorized time, the consequences may be severe.
Overstaying your visa is never a reasonable option and should be avoided if at all possible. It is best to seek the advice of an immigration law attorney if you wish to extend your stay or if you have overstayed your visa. An attorney can properly advise you on the best path to avoid expulsion from the country and other severe repercussions. For example, if you were planning to overstay your visa to find a job and found an employer to sponsor you during your overstay, in the end you would still almost certainly be deported.
Typically, if you overstay your visa for more than 180 days you will face removal proceedings to be deported from the United States. Additionally, if you overstay for more than 180 days but less than one year then you will be inadmissible to the US for three years beyond that time and if you overstay for one year or greater you will be inadmissible for ten years. If you overstay but not more than 180 days you must leave the US but you can apply for a visa to return immediately. There are a few exceptions but they are found in only a small number of extreme situations.
Filing for an Extension of My Stay
If you would like to extend your stay in the US, filing should begin a substantial amount of time before your stay expires. If your stay has already expired, exceptions for filing will be allowed only if you can prove that:
The delay was due to extraordinary circumstances beyond your control;
The length of the delay was reasonable;
You have not done anything else to violate your nonimmigrant status (such as work without USCIS approval);
You are still a nonimmigrant (meaning you are not trying to become a permanent resident of the United States, but there are some exceptions); and
You are not in formal proceedings to be removed from the country.
The most ideal situation would be to enter the United States, stay for your allowed number of days and leave. If you would like to extend that stay, begin proceedings with substantial time to complete the process before your authorized stay expires. Consult an immigration attorney before any major decisions or actions are made so he can advise you of any repercussions that may result from those actions.
Additional Immigration Law Articles
- How do I become a U.S. citizen?
- The Widow's Penalty
- Do I Need a Visa to Travel Abroad?
- Workplace Injuries do not Discriminate Between Legals and Illegals
- How to Get Immigration Assistance for Little or No Cost
- How do I become a lawful permanent resident of the United States?
- What Happens When You Divorce a U.S. Citizen Prior to Becoming a U.S. Citizen?
- Can I work in the U.S. if I am not a U.S. citizen?
- How can I help my fiance(e) become a U.S. resident?
- How can I help my relative become a U.S. resident?
- How can I help my employee become a U.S. resident?
- Hiring Foreign Workers
- Fiancé Visas
- Family Based Visas
- What to do if Detained by Immigration (Infographic)
- What is a motion to reopen?
- How long can I stay in the U.S. as a student?
- Can I use a motion to reopen to stay in the United States?
- How Can I Obtain An Immigrant Visa So That I May Live Here Permanently?
- Who can file a motion to reopen?
- How do I know if my Immigration problem involves the Department of State, USCIS, or the Department of Labor?
- How long do I have to file a motion to reopen?
- What is a Port of Entry?
- Can I file a motion to reopen if I’m outside the United States?
- What Are Some Of The Responsibilities Of A U.S. Citizen?
- Do I need a licensed attorney to help me fill out my immigration forms?
- How Do I Obtain Refugee Status?
- Can an immigration lawyer speed up my case?
- How do I apply to study in the U.S.?
- What is a Non-Immigrant Visa?
- Who Is Eligible For Asylum And How Might I Apply?
- What is the Visa Waiver Program?
- What Are The Prerequisites To Obtaining U.S. Citizenship?
- I want to study in the United States. What do I need to do to obtain a student visa?
- What Is Temporary Protected Status (TPS)?
- What are the ways of obtaining permanent residence?
- I want to become a permanent resident of the United States, what do I need to do?
- What is an Immigrant Visa?
- I was issued a temporary visa to enter the United States legally, can I stay in the United States as a permanent resident?
- Do I Really Need To Divulge All Details About My Criminal History, Even If A Charge Has Been Expunged? What Are The Consequences If I Do Not?
- What doesn't permanent residency give me?
- How Do I Apply For Immigrant Status Based On Employment?
- Do I have to disclose all my criminal history on my immigration application?
- What Requirements Must A Foreign National Who Wants To Visit The U.S. Satisfy?
- Can I really obtain permanent residence (green card) in the U.S. with a diversity lottery system?
- What if I would like to live and work in the U.S. and I have family already living there?
- What are the requirements to enter the diversity lottery system?
- What are the conditions for TPS status?
- What are the TPS eligibility requirements?