crowd holding American flags

When you enter the United States on a visa, which allows you to travel within the country, usually as a tourist or for business, these only last for so long. Though it may not seem like a big deal, overstaying a visa can lead to several serious consequences. If you have overstayed your visa, you may experience a number of penalties. As such, you must contact an experienced New York immigration lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.

What Are the Penalties for Overstaying a Visa?

Generally, if you overstay your visa, it can come with a number of penalties, as you are now considered an unlawful presence. One of the most common penalties is that you will be barred from entering the United States. Depending on the circumstances, this period will last three or ten years. Generally, more than 180 days but less than one year will result in a three-year ban, while remaining in the United States for over one year will result in a ten-year ban. If you try to reenter the United States without being permitted after accruing over one year as an unlawful presence, you may be permanently banned from entering the country.

However, you may also find that staying with an expired visa will lead to any active ones being revoked, and you may be unable to adjust your status in the United States, even if you are eligible.

Are There Any Valid Reasons for Overstaying?

In some instances, there are “valid reasons” one may overstay their expired visa. These generally include the following circumstances:

  • You came to the United States on a nonimmigrant visa as an abused spouse or child
  • You have a pending asylum application
  • You were under 18 when you entered the united states
  • You have applied for a green card
  • You were a trafficking victim

Though you are technically still overstaying your visa, these situations will not warrant unlawful status. As such, if you can prove these circumstances, you will not be barred from reentering the United States. However, you will need to file a Waiver of Inadmissibility.

What Should I Do if I’ve Overstayed My Visa?

If you’ve overstayed your visa, it’s imperative to retain legal assistance as soon as possible. As you can see, the consequences of this action can be severe. As such, enlisting the guidance of an experienced immigration lawyer can help you remedy any overstay issues you may experience.

At the Law Office of Jason A. Dennis, we understand how confusing this process can be. Luckily, our dedicated legal team is ready to help you navigate any visa issues you may have. Contact our firm today to learn how we can assist you through these challenging times.