Whether you’re visiting family or enjoying a vacation in the United States, you’re going to need a visa. A US visa allows foreign nationals to enter the country legally. However, it’s quite common for some to overstay their US visa. Our staff of immigration experts at All n One Immigration Bonds gives several pointers on what happens if you overstay your US visa.

What Is A US Visa Overstay?

Basically, a US visa overstay is when you stay in the United States longer than your visa has permitted. The expiration dates of all visas are specified on the I-94 Form, and foreign nationals are expected to depart the United States by the time their visa has expired. Though, sometimes, life gets in the way and visa holders can’t leave the country by the expiration date.

Visa Bars

A US visa overstay of more than 180 days but is less than one year, and the person departs the U.S. without institutional removal proceedings is penalized with The Three-Year Bar, which prohibits foreign nationals from reentering the US for three years from their departure date. Those who remain in the U.S. for more than one year after their US visa expires and departs the U.S. without institutional removal proceedings are barred from reentering the country with The Ten-Year Bar.

Change of Status or Extension of Stay

Foreign nationals who remain in the United States past their visa’s expiration date are not eligible to extend their stay nor change to another non-immigrant status. Though, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you can file a request for a visa overstay adjustment status by filling out an Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status application before the visa’s expiration date. [1] Foreign nationals who fill out the application in a timely manner will have a maintained status until a final decision is specified on the application, despite the expiration date on the I-94 Form.

Voided Visa

Visas of foreign nationals who remain in the U.S. past the expiration date are automatically voided. With the current political climate regarding immigration, you must be vigilant in not overstaying your U.S. visa – even going one day beyond the expiration date will void the visa. Foreign nationals who’ve overstayed their US visa aren’t granted reentry into the country unless they’ve received a new nonimmigrant visa from their country of origin.

No Consulate Shopping

Federal law states that persons who’ve remained in the U.S. beyond their visa’s expiration date must return to their country of origin for a new visa. Consulate shopping within or near the U.S. is prohibited. If a consulate of your country of origin can’t be located, a third country may be assigned by the Secretary of State to apply for a new visa.