What Happens If You Overstay Your Visa in the USA

I was on surfing the internet a few days ago, when a news headline, “Of the more than 50 million foreigners that entered the US, over 700,000 foreigners overstayed their visas in 2016, close to the population of Seattle,” instantly grabbed my attention.  This was a DHS report published by Business Insider on May 22, 2017.

When I read further, it was mentioned that the US government is becoming increasingly stringent in identifying overstays for the sake of public safety, national security and immigration enforcement, and processing applications for immigration benefits.

I started to feel anxious about those who had been identified as overstaying their US visitors visa, especially when the US is under the Trump presidency that is making every possible effort to restrict the entry of immigrants into the country.

So, I went ahead and researched, and trust me, what I found out was rather serious.

When Have You Overstayed Your Visa?

Every year, millions of foreign nationals enter the US for tourism. To be able to enter the country as a tourist or to get medical treatment, one needs to apply for a tourist visa (B-2 visa) to seek permission for entry into US borders. The B-2 visa can remain valid for as long as 10 years. But this is not the visitors authorized stay in the US. It is the Form I-94 that governs a foreign national’s authorized stay in the United States.

The date for the authorized period of stay is issued by an officer of the Customs Border Protection on the I-94 record on your entry into the US. The foreign nationals are said to have overstayed their US visa if they remain in the country longer than the period of their authorized stay.

However, not all of them can be called guilty in this case, since many foreign nationals end up overstaying because they do not understand the difference between a visa and Form I-94.

Consequences of Overstaying

Overstaying your visa can bring serious repercussions. It can even jeopardize a foreign national’s ability to return to the US in future. I have divided the impact of overstaying by the number of days a person has overstayed for more clarity.

  • Overstaying the visa for less than 180 days:
    The US government will deport you for sure. Fortunately, however, you won’t be barred from re-entry into the US in this case. However, the next time you seek permission to enter the country, the border officers will see you as someone who had overstayed their visa the last time. If you are visiting America for a few days, there will be no problem. However, if the length of the trip is more, maybe a couple of months, you’ll have a hard time getting their permission.
  • Overstaying the visa for 180 days or more:
    In case you have overstayed your visa for 6 months or more, but have not completed a year, stay prepared to be deported as well as being barred from re-entering the US for the next 3 years.
  • Overstaying the visa for 1 year or more:
    If you overstay your visitors visa for more than a year, the US government will bar you from re-entering the US borders for the next 10 years, after deporting you first.

So, whenever you visit USA, be very careful about the period of authorized stay and make sure you leave before that period expires, so that you can come back again, without any hassles.


About the author

Mani Karthik

Hi, Mani Karthik here. Having lived in USA, India & Middle East, and worked for big MNC’s to startups, I have a lot to share with you. My aim is to help people, by sharing everything I’ve learned in life. This blog is read today, by more than 150K people world over! I currently live in LA, California and visit India occasionally. Here’s my full story. Connect with me on FacebookInstagram, Twitter or WhatsApp (+001-408-489-4785). Happy to help! :)

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