Every year, millions of people come to the U.S. on nonimmigrant visas. Such visas have time limits on them. Staying in the U.S. after a visa expires puts a foreign national in a very precarious situation.
It is a situation hundreds of thousands of individuals ended up in last year. According to federal data, overstaying a visa was something over half a million people did here in the U.S. that year.
Just as there are a great many things that can lead to a foreign national coming to the U.S., there are a range of situations that might lead such an individual to decide to overstay a visa. This could include circumstances involving their home country or their family. A recent PRI article noted how complicated and varied the circumstances surrounding a visa overstay can be.
When a person overstays a U.S. visa, they could end up facing some very impactful things. For example, there could be the potential to end up in immigration detention and face deportation proceedings.
Now, when a person’s visa is nearing expiration, depending on their circumstances, there may be ways they could keep legal status in the U.S., and thus be able to stay in the country without being in the precarious situation of overstaying a visa. For example, for some, there may be routes for getting a visa extension. Another option some might have available is to pursue being switched to a different legal status than the one they are currently in the U.S. on. So, when a person’s visa is nearing its expiration and circumstances have made it so they feel they need to stay in the U.S., they may want to promptly discuss their circumstances with an experienced immigration attorney to understand if such options for staying in the U.S. legally are available to them.
Another situation in which individual circumstances can matter greatly is when a foreign national ends up in deportation proceedings in connection to overstaying a visa. Such circumstances could impact what routes the foreign national could take for fighting deportation. So, this is another instance in which a person may want tailored guidance from an experienced lawyer.
Source: PRI, “The complicated reasons why some people overstay their US visas,” Ashley Cleek, Oct. 25, 2017