At Din Law, an immigration lawyer in Chicago, we know it is common for foreign nationals to overstay the time allotted on their visa. If this has happened to you, there are potential consequences and penalties, and it is essential to deal with this situation as soon as possible. After all, you may have options.
Staying past the time permitted on your visa, means you’re “out of status,” and there are four main consequences that may be incurred.
– This means you may be barred from reentering the U.S. for either three or ten years. Persons remaining for more than 180 days but less than a year after their visa has expired, but who left the U.S. before removal proceedings were initiated, may be barred for three years. Those staying longer than a year, but who left before removal proceedings started, may be barred for ten years.
Change of status/extension stay
– Persons who remain in the U.S. after their authorized period of stay are not able to extend their stay in the U.S. or change their status to a nonimmigrant status. Usually they are also barred from adjusting their status from nonimmigrant to immigrant.
Importantly, as long as a foreign national files for an Extension of Stay or Change of Status or Adjustment of Status before their authorized stay expires, they will be considered to be maintaining status until a decision is made on their application.
– The visa of any foreign national overstaying their allotted time, even for a day, is voided.
No consulate shopping
– The law provides that if you have stayed beyond your period of authorized stay, you must return to your country of nationality to obtain a new visa. You may no longer apply at a more convenient consulate or one closer to the U.S.
Clearly, overstaying your visa can have serious legal consequences. But these may be mitigated with expert legal assistance. An immigration lawyer in Chicago, like Din Law, can explain the steps required to remain in the U.S. legally, or if you have overstayed your visa, the alternatives to consider.