What Happens If I Overstay My Visa?
When you enter the U.S. as a non-immigrant (i.e. you are not a U.S. citizen and do not have a green card), the immigration inspector will authorize your stay in the country up to a certain date depending on the purpose of your visit.
In general, individuals who enter the U.S. as a B-1/B-2 visitor for business/pleasure are permitted to remain for up to 6 months. In other situations, such as L-1 status or TN status, your visit may be authorized for up to 3 years at a time.
It is important to determine the date which you are required to depart the U.S after you are permitted to enter. In some situations, this date will be located on the I-94 card stapled in your passport (typically only for individuals who enter on a visa). If you remain in the country beyond that date, you will trigger significant immigration consequences and will have difficulty returning to the U.S. in the future.
At a minimum, there is a three-year bar for persons who remain in the US after their authorized stay has expired for more than 180 days, and who leave the US prior to the institution of removal proceedings. If you have been in the US more than one year after your authorized stay has expired, you would be subject to a ten-year bar from re-entry. Further, overstay can hamper your ability to obtain a visa in the future or adjust your status in the U.S.
It is possible to apply for a waiver of the bar due to overstay, but this is a lengthy and difficult process.
If you have recently been denied entry due to a prior overstay, I recommend that you speak to an immigration attorney in one of our offices to discuss the details of your situation and the steps that need to be taken.
For more information, or to make an appointment with an experienced U.S. immigration lawyer, contact the immigration law offices of Millar & Pérez Immigration Lawyers, PLLC at www.usborderlaw.com.Carla Pérez