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When you obtain a visa, it can be a dream come true. Whether you’re coming to the United States to pursue the American dream, get an education, or visit family, it can be an exciting time. However, if you overstay the date on your visa, it can have significant consequences. If your visa’s expiration has passed or the date you must leave is approaching, this blog explores what can happen if you overstay your visa and how a New York immigration lawyer can assist you during these complex legal matters.

What Is a Visa, and How Long Does It Last?

A visa is essentially a document that allows you to enter the United States if you are not a citizen. Once you gain entry, you can obtain a different visa that allows you to remain in the country. The duration of time you can spend in the country will depend on what kind of visa you receive. In general, most last between one and six months, though some can be issued for extended periods of time. Your visa will have the exact length of your stay based on your circumstances and the date you must depart the country.

What Will Happen if I Overstay the Visa?

If you overstay your visa, you can face severe consequences as a result. Most commonly, you will be classified as out-of-status. When you are caught in the country after your visa has expired, you will likely have to go before a judge who determines whether or not you should be deported. Additionally, you could be barred from receiving visas in the future and getting your eligibility for the visa waiver program revoked. Finally, you will likely be prohibited from ever re-entering the country.

What Should I Do if I Need Legal Help?

If your visa is going to expire, you can connect with an attorney who can help you apply for an extension. However, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USICS) recommends you submit your application at least 45 days before your current visa is set to expire, as this process can take a while. An attorney can help ensure that you meet the criteria to be eligible for a visa extension and ensure you file the necessary paperwork correctly and on time.

In the event you’ve overstayed your visa, it is even more critical to meet with an attorney. They can help you explore your options to ensure your rights are protected in these instances.

At the Law Office of Jason A. Dennis, we understand how complex it can be to navigate visa issues on your own. That’s why our team is dedicated to providing peace of mind. We will work with you to help you make the best choices possible for your circumstances. Contact us today to learn how we can help you through this complex matter.