On entering the United States as a visitor, the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) authority stamps the travel document of each arriving nonimmigrant traveler at a Port of Entry. This information also includes the class of admission, and the date that the traveler is admitted until. In order to verify immigration status or employment authorization, the record number and other admission information, an online form called the I-94 arrival/departure record will specify the details. This dates therein are enforceable by law and defying it can have detrimental consequences ranging from being deported immediately to being denied future entries. The following precautions and consequences should be kept in mind to ensure validity of a visa period:
Unlawful Presence leading to being debarred from re-entering:
- Overstaying for more than 180 days but less than a year and exiting the country before removal proceedings have been put in action leads to being debarred from re-entering the US for three years from their date of departure.
- Overstaying for more than one year after their authorized period of stay has expired are barred from reentering the U.S. for ten years from their date of departure.
Barred from changing status:
- People who have stayed beyond their assigned time frame are unable to change, extend or even adjust their visa status to another nonimmigrant or immigrant status.
- The visa is automatically voided the day after the date stamped in the I-94. Accruing unlawful presence beyond this date. US immigration laws enforces this law very strictly.
Return to Parent-Country Consulate:
- Once the individual has overstayed the stipulated visa date, he has to return to his country of nationality to obtain a new visa. Any alternate consulate is not permissible unless consent can be granted from a third country consulate regarding ‘extraordinary circumstances’.
The penalties of staying on an expired visa can be severe and carry with it some long-term consequences. To avoid these and stay on the right side of US immigration laws, here are a few things to keep in mind –
- Exit the country on or before the date stamped on I-94
- File for a timely (minimum 45 days prior to visa expiration) application for an Extension of stay, Change or adjustment of status
- Fiancé of a US citizen or dependent of a fiancé (K nonimmigrant visa) cannot apply for an extension
- Always document your travel itinerary including dates and tickets
- If traveling by air or sea, ensure you carry all online versions of the I-94
- Since advance information is only transmitted for air and sea travelers, a paper form of I-94 is issued at land border ports of entry.
If travelers seek to extend their stay, there are procedures to be followed that can be initiated a minimum of 45 days in advance of the expiration. In order to get more information on the status of your current visa and get affordable and reliable legal advice on how to avoid accruing the penalties of overstaying your visa period, you may contact immigration attorneys at Lawbench.com.