When I started getting into trouble I became pretty acclimated to legal procedures. Calling my attorney and working out bail was just another way to spend a Saturday night. Unfortunately, the stiffer the charges, the more difficult it was to talk my way out of a bad situation. After so many charges, I found myself slapped with a long jail sentence, and I realized that I wanted to turn things around. Fortunately, my lawyer was able to walk me through yet another process, so that I could make the right changes. My blog discusses how to emotionally cope with legal issues so that you can start living a good life.
If you originally arrived in the United States on a non-immigrant visa, but you want to stay longer than you were originally allowed, then you should know about the consequences of overstaying your visa. If you overstay your visa, then you are at serious risk of not only being deported, but also being barred from re-entry for several years. However, there are things you can do to either extend your stay on a non-immigrant visa, or increase the chance that you can re-enter as soon and as often as possible.
What Are Non-Immigrant Visas?
Non-immigrant visas are issued to people whose purpose in the country is only temporary. If you arrived with a tourist, student, or temporary work visa, then you are considered a non-immigrant and are expected to go back to your home country when your purpose in the United States is over.
What Is Considered a Visa Overstay?
When you first arrived in the United States, you should have received an I-94 card with a departure date. If you stay even one day over that date, then you are considered in violation of the law and are considered to be unlawfully present. This may cause you trouble if you are contacted by immigration enforcement; and you will need to go to court and have a judge determine if you should be deported and are subject to other penalties.
What Are the Penalties of Overstaying a Visa?
There are a wide range of penalties for overstaying a visa. These penalties are based on how long you overstayed and your reasons for overstaying. If you overstayed more than 180 days, then you could be barred from re-entry for three years. But if you stayed more than a year, then you could be barred for up to 10 years.
Exceptions to Overstay Penalties
Fortunately, there are exceptions to the three-year/10-year penalty rules. If you had special circumstances, such as you were a child when you entered the country, are an asylum-seeker, or were brought here against your will, then you could be allowed to stay. You may also be allowed to stay if you legally filed for an extension before the departure date on your I-94.
For the best outcome, you should try to apply for a change of status before your visa expires. However, if that is not possible, then you may still be able to reduce your penalties or change your status. Since immigration laws are extremely complicated, you should contact an immigration attorney for advice before filling out any paperwork or going to court.Share