Overstaying one’s visa is a big problem in the US, challenging Homeland Security officials to be ever-vigilant. We are not talking of a vast majority of travelers who did comply and leave when they were supposed to. We are talking about those people who arrive legally and then overstay their visas, which is the main source of illegal immigration into the United States.
The seriousness of visa overstays can be well understood by news published by ABC News, which stated that of the more than 50 million foreigners who entered the US in 2016, 739,478 people overstayed their US visas during that fiscal year, close to the population of Seattle. This figure includes people who overstayed their US visa only for a day as well as those for whom leaving America was never the plan, since there were 1.25% people who had no record of departure till the end of the year.
Related: How to extend your visit visa in US
Although some people did so it intentionally, some of the reasons were as complicated as missed flights or unexpected childbirth. These experiences resulted in one or several extenuating circumstances which restricted even some genuine candidates from leaving the US. Click on the link to read the complete story.
The news was in accordance to a report released by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which believes that such non-permitted stay is a challenge for the US immigration system.
But, don’t do make the mistake of thinking that the Department of Homeland Security isn’t doing anything about it. Once suspected of visa overstay, a non-immigrant has to face severe consequences. Let us take a look at them.
Consequences of Overstaying Your Visa
- Inadmissibility to the US in Future: Look at the image below. The circled date is the time before which a non-immigrant is supposed to leave the US.
- Non-immigrants who are found guilty of remaining in the country beyond this date is considered “unlawful presence.” Such people are usually barred from returning to the US for at least three years and up to ten years, depending on the period of overstay or “unlawful presence.”
- Three Year Bar: A person is not allowed to re-enter the US for the next three years if they had overstayed in US for more than 180 days, but not more than a year, after their authorized stay in the US has expired.
- The Ten Year Bar: If the non-immigrant has been lucky enough to have managed to stay in the US for more than a year and is arrested afterwards due to overstay, they will be barred from re-entering America for the next 10 years from their date of departure.
- Bar to Change Status: If the US visa has expired, but the non-immigrant has remained in the country, no matter how hard they try, they will not be able to extend their stay in the US, change their status to any other visa status or adjust their status from non-immigrant to immigrant.
If they still need to remain in the US, they will not be left with any other option than to leave US as soon as possible and return to their home country to obtain a new visa.