Q:

What happens to someone who overstays their visa in the U.S.?

A:

The consequences of overstaying a visa in the United States include a three year or 10 year bar from the country, a restriction from extension of stays or change of status, deportation and the person's existing visa is voided. The laws changed in 1996, when consequences for those people overstaying their visa were increased.

An overstay could be a B-2 visitor, F-1 student, visa waiver tourist or H-4 spouse that stayed longer than the authorized time dictated on their visa when they entered the U.S.

Anyone who overstays their visa by 180 days in the U.S. is barred from the country for a specific amount of time. Generally, anyone who stays longer than 180 days but less than a year is barred from the U.S. for three years. Anyone who overstays their visa by more than a year is barred for 10 years from reentering the U.S.

A waiver can be applied for to reduce or eliminate the barred time for immigrants that have parents or a spouse in the U.S. that are citizens and proof that they would suffer severe hardship without the individual there to help support them would be needed on the form.

In order to avoid overstaying a visa in the United States, there are expiration dates clearly stated on the documents given at the time of entry. The visa holder is expected to leave before the expiration date and a stamped passport and dated airline tickets help offer proof if there is ever a question about departure time.

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