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What happens if I overstay on a visa?

People overstaying their visas is a situation that the authorities in the Chicago area take seriously. Here at Francis Law Center, our attorneys are aware of how immigration agencies across the country are detaining and deporting foreign nationals who are in the country unlawfully after overstaying their visas. 

Many foreigners do not realize the dire consequences they face when they overstay their visas. They must keep track of the “admit until date” on their Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record to avoid complications, states FindLaw. Some visa types are ineligible for extension and renewal. Once the validity dates pass on their visas, they risk deportation and being banned from re-entry into the United States for several years. A 10-year ban is given to individuals who overstay their visas by 365 days or longer. The ban goes into effect on the expiration date of the visa. The penalty for overstaying 180 to 364 days on an expired visa is a three-year ban.

Immigrants should pay close attention to the information listed on their visas and immigration documents. If they stay beyond the departure or duration of status dates, they risk becoming an unlawful presence. Individuals who are not considered unlawful presence include: 

  • Foreigners under the age of 18
  • Applicants with pending asylum applications
  • Victims of trafficking
  • Lawfully pardoned or paroled immigrants 

There are other criteria foreign nationals can meet to avoid receiving the unlawful presence classification. It is possible for immigrants to avoid the consequences of overstaying by applying for an extension of their visas before they expire. There are stipulations that restrict eligibility to people who have not committed certain crimes and are lawful nonimmigrants. 

Immigration laws are very complex. Many foreigners are not familiar with the steps they can take to protect their immigration rights to stay in the country lawfully. For more information on this subject, please visit our web page.

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