Visitor Visa ~ overstays and consequences
A recent report (Jan, 2016) from DHS to the U.S. Congress shows the number of visitors who have overstayed their visas. More than half a million aliens overstayed their visitor visas in the United States in 2015 alone, with more than 482,000 of those individuals believed to still be residing illegally in the United States, according to a separate report issued this month by DHS.
What are the consequences of overstaying a U.S. visitor visa?
Most visitors to the U.S. arrive with a basic tourist visa, B-2 visa, which often is valid for 10 years and permits multiple entries to the U.S.. Each entry is limited to 6 months or less, and is indicated on the I-94, or stamped passport, given to the visitor by BCBP at the time of admission. Exceeding the time limit on the I-94 / passport results in an overstay.
If known by DHS or the State Department, the overstay would result in that visa being cancelled, and the person forced to file a new visa application.
IS THAT ALL? ..not necessarily.
(i) If the overstay results in more than 6 months of “unlawful presence” in the U.S., then the person becomes inadmissible to the U.S. for 3 years.
(ii) If the unlawful presence is more than 1 year, the person is inadmissible for 10 years.
UNLAWFUL PRESENCE is also charged to persons who have crossed the border illegally, if DHS has the evidence to prove it.
However, not all visas are granted with a specific period of time authorized, but instead, as in the case of student visas, for “duration of status“. Student visa holders maintain lawful status by maintaining a full-time student curriculum at an authorized School. Unlawful presence for students is only commenced following a formal finding of a violation by DHS or an Immigration Judge. In most cases, students depart the U.S. or apply for “reinstatement” of student status and avoid a lengthy period of unlawful presence.