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How Does a Visitor Visa Overstay Affect Future Immigration?

Posted on in Visas

How Does a Visitor Visa Overstay Affect Future Immigration?Most U.S. immigrants have family members who come to the U.S. on temporary visas for vacation or to attend school. However, if those family members overstay their required departure date, they could find themselves in trouble with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Some visa overstays can render a person legally inadmissible to the U.S. for several years and unable to qualify for an immigration visa, although a waiver of inadmissibility may be possible in some cases. 

How Do I Know If I Overstayed a Visitor or Student Visa?

If you arrive in the U.S. by airplane or ship, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official will stamp your passport with your admission date and required departure date, shown as the “admitted until” date. If you arrive by land, Customs will issue you a paper Form I-94/Arrival/Departure Record showing your required departure date. You can also look up your arrival/departure information online by your passport number, name, and birthdate.

Students with F1 visas will see “D/S” — duration of status — on their passport or I-94 form instead of a date. This means you can stay in the U.S. as long as you remain enrolled as a full-time student in an approved school that has submitted the required documents to Customs. When you graduate or otherwise complete your program of study, you must depart the U.S. within 60 days.

Over 52 million foreign visitors arrive in the U.S. each year by sea or air. Just over one percent of them stay beyond their required departure date. Students have the highest rate of visa overstays at roughly four percent.

What are the Consequences of Overstaying a Visitor Visa?

The consequences of a visa overstay depend on how long you stay past your required departure date:

  1. If your overstay is less than 180 consecutive days (six months), then you remain legally admissible to the U.S. However, the next time you apply for a temporary visa, you may have difficulty convincing the U.S. official issuing your visa that you intend to leave the U.S. as required. Because entry and departure information is increasingly available online, you could be denied a visa the next time you want to visit the U.S.
  2. If you overstay by more than 180 days (six months) but less than 365 days (one year), and you voluntarily leave before formal deportation proceedings are initiated against you, you will be barred from reentering the U.S. for three years. This means you are legally inadmissible to the U.S. for any purpose for three years.
  3. If you overstay by more than 365 consecutive days (one year), you will be subject to a 10-year bar. It does not matter if you left voluntarily or were deported.

In some cases where you are subject to a three-year or 10-year bar, it is possible to obtain a waiver of inadmissibility. 

A New Canaan Family Immigration Lawyer Can Help

If you or a family member has overstayed a temporary visa in the U.S., it could affect their future immigration options. Check with a Fairfield County immigration lawyer to understand what mistakes can affect a person’s admissibility to the U.S. and how to obtain a waiver of inadmissibility if needed. Call Gonzalez Law Office, LLC, at 203-323-1440. 





Fairfield County Bar Association Connecticut Bar Association American Immigration Lawyers Association Connecticut American Immigration Lawyers Association
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