Overstaying a
United States Visa


Immigration Law is Serious

In the United States, overstaying a visa can have great ramifications on an individual. In September 1996, the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act (IIRIRA) passed, which introduced punishments against those who overstayed past their visas. These punishments are all meant to dissuade those from overstaying on their visas and punish those who do.

Consequences of Overstaying a Visa

There are a number of consequences against those who are caught overstaying on a United States visa. The first is that they will immediately have their visas revoked, and they could be barred from re-entering the United States for anywhere from three years up to ten years. The ban range depends on how long they resided in the United States illegally, with those who were here between 180 days to one year being banned for three years, but anybody who was here for more than one year illegally being barred for ten years.

Overstay Exceptions

Visa overstayers may be restricted from applying for an Extension of Stay or a Change of Status, but there are exceptions to this rule. If they are deemed to have stayed due to ‘extraordinary circumstances,’ they may be allowed to reapply for a new visa in a country that is not their country of nationality nor the United States. As long as they try to apply for an Extension of Stay or a Change of Status before the expiration date, the visa applicant will be allowed to stay in the country, even if the visa expires while the application is being considered.

Immigration Attorneys Can Help

Issues with a visa will always emerge. It is best to always consult a legal professional to discuss possible issues. If you have accidentally overstayed your visa or have questions about how an expired visa could affect your traveling abilities in the United States, consult with an immigration attorney in order to see the best solution for you. It should be noted, however, that an immigration attorney is limited in the scope of his or her duties and can only help individuals from being deported and cannot be consulted for other criminal acts.

Get the Right Information

Some have argued that the consequences of overstaying a visa are too harsh, while others have argued that they are not harsh enough. Regardless, it is important to know the consequences so that a healthy debate can develop. A lack of information about this subject could have an adverse effect on the perception of immigration law and how they are implemented.