Consequences of Overstaying on a Temporary US Visa
U.S. Immigration law is so strict on matters like overstaying in the U.S. while on a non-immigrant (temporary) visa. Staying in the U.S. beyond the expiry date of the authorized period of stay poses penalties and consequences to the U.S. visa bearer. Maintaining status is a lot easier than facing its impact on all future travels and facing deportation.
How long did you overstay? Depending on the period of stay, the person will accrue “unlawful presence” in the U.S which may result to inadmissibility after departing. Inadmissibility or bar from re-entering the U.S. is one of the penalties for overstaying in the U.S.
- Less than 180 days
May result to denial of visa on the next application
- More than 180 days but less than 1 year
3-year bar OR barred from reentering the U.S. for 3 years from their date of departure
- More than 365 continuous days
10-year ban OR barred from reentering the U.S. for 10 years from their date of departure
- More than 365 days combined with deportation from the U.S., and tried to re-enter the U.S. without inspection
Ban from re-entry for life
Problem in Securing a New Visa to Return
For applicants who overstayed in the U.S. previously, they might face the challenge of not being readmitted to the U.S. due to inability to obtain a new visa. Any future visa re-applications will result to refusal.
Bar to Change Status/Extension of Stay
Any visa holders who overstayed in the U.S. may be restricted from applying for Extension of Stay or Adjusting of Status (from non-immigrant to immigrant) no matter if they are eligible.
Another consequence of overstaying in the U.S. is that the visa holder will have his/her existing visa automatically revoked or cancelled. Even if you are currently holding a valid 10-year visit visa, by overstaying in the U.S. by just a day will VOID your existing visa.
No Consulate Shopping
As a visa applicant, normally one is allowed to apply visa at a U.S. consulate post located outside your home country for a reason such as the location is nearer (more convenient) to you, or the likelihood of rejection would be lower in that consulate post. By remaining in the U.S. beyond your period of authorized stay, obtaining your next visa to the U.S. would be less convenient as you cannot choose a preferred country to lodge your application. You will be required to do so at the U.S. Embassy/consulate in your country of nationality.
How to Avoid Overstaying
With the perceived consequences and penalties, it is best to get on the good side by maintaining your visa status. Below are actions to take in order to properly maintain your status:
- Check the expiration date on your I-94
Upon entry to U.S., you will have an I-94 or what we call Arrival/Departure form. Access this record and make sure you know the date when you should leave the U.S.
- Save all documents pertaining to your departure
Examine your passport and visa stamp received at the airport. Make sure you save your airline tickets, boarding pass and travel itinerary.
What Happens If I Already Overstayed My Visa?
In the event that you already overstayed, prepare to leave U.S. immediately. For non-immigrant, check if you are eligible to apply for a general waiver for most grounds of inadmissibility that will allow you back into the U.S. without having to face 3 or 10 year bar. In some cases, prepare yourself reapplying for a US visa.
On a serious note, overstaying in the U.S. results in serious consequences. Your best bet is to never overstay on a temporary visa. This way you won’t be denied from any future entry or encounter any problems on the border due to a previous negligence.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Siam Legal is a full service law firm but it has an extensive range of immigration, corporate, and real estate experience accessible to clients both domestically and internationally. It has offices strategically located throughout the major cities in Thailand including Chiang Mai, Pattaya, Hua Hin, Samui and Phuket along with international representative offices in Australia, London and Las Vegas.