A visa overstay can happen when a person with a temporary visa fails to depart the U.S. or renew their visa after it has expired.  This is a very unfavorable situation that can lead to legal consequences for the visa holder.  Some visa overstays are accidental, as in when the person fails to remember expiration deadlines.  However, some cases of overstaying a visa are intentional. 

What are Legal Penalties for a Visa Overstay?

Legal consequences for overstaying a visa can include:

  • Loss of current immigration status and privileges
  • Loss of opportunity to file for permanent resident status
  • Negative effects on chances for obtaining U.S. Citizenship
  • In serious cases, or cases involving criminal activity, removal or deportation may occur

Also, overstaying a visa can affect a person’s chances at re-applying for entry into the U.S.  This is especially true if the person was removed (deported) from the country due to the overstay.

How Can a Visa Overstay be Avoided?

Overstaying a visa can always be avoided through careful planning and foresight.  Some tips for avoiding a visa overstay may include:

  • Always double check your expiration dates, passport deadlines, etc.
  • Plan and budget ahead of time; failing to make preparations can cause delays in travel or communication
  • Keep abreast of immigration laws and policies- these can change frequently, even yearly

Do I Need a Lawyer for Help With Visa Overstay Issues?

Overstaying a visa can created a complicated dilemma for the visa holder and other people.  You may need to hire a lawyer if you need help with any visa or immigration issues.  A qualified immigration attorney will be able to assist you when it comes to any matters that need legal attention.  Also your lawyer can provide representation if you need to make an appearance in an immigration court.