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Visa rules all over the world are extremely stringent in nature, especially when it comes to United States which sees overwhelming numbers of misuse every year. So, how does one abuse this government issued document which incidentally offers a legal way to enter into a particular country.

The answer is over stay!

Every visa typically limits a foreigner's stay within the country period. It is a category of non-immigrant conditional authorization which has specific entry and exit dates. Visa holders are then free to travel within the mentioned timeframe. Many individuals with an American visa generally tend to overstay after arrival. This happens due to four reasons -

  • Due to emergencies such as fatal accident, loss of passport or vital documents or death within the visiting family / friends.
  • Extreme hardship faced by permanent resident’s spouse or parents due to emotional connection and the subsequent separation.
  • To exploit career / better lifestyle options.
  • Out of ignorance.

Let us examine each of these reasons one by one. Emergencies can be addressed through legal channels which in turn may prevent you from getting a three to ten-year ban. Moreover, extending the stay legally or returning after a certain period can spare you from the inability to apply for a new visa at any consulate outside of your home country.

Extreme hardship faced by parents or spouse if separated can offer legal respite if proved convincingly. On the other hand entering United States with the sole aim to exploit its booming economy or make a permanent home can land you into trouble. Although, you may not be caught immediately but the fact is the immigration authorities may one day knock on your door and then you are doomed.

While the visa mentions the validity or the period of your stay, form I-94 is an arrival / departure record which clearly mentions the exact dates. As a visitor you need to refer this document to validate your visit. This will prevent overstaying out of ignorance.

Does overstaying result in serious repercussions?

Yes, of course. Overstaying could result in three to ten year ban, and depending on how long you overstayed you will not be able to apply for a new visa. Moreover, your visa will be instantly voided the moment you fail to leave on the stipulated date which can cause further legal trouble.

So, what is the solution?

Possible apply for a waiver. However, there is a catch. A Waiver denied for nonimmigrants is not possible which simply means such individuals continue to face three to ten year ban. However, they can still apply for a general waiver which can offer respite from several inadmissibility grounds. For immigrants, a waiver can really make a big difference. As mentioned above, spouse and parents of a permanent resident of United States can apply for a waiver and seek relief on humanitarian grounds such as extreme hardship due to emotional attachment or health reasons.

Either way, you need to seek professional help. US Immigration Law Intelligence Analysts can ease some of your worries by preparing the groundwork, in terms of collecting relevant documents, filing and filling forms and arranging interviews at an appropriate time. Note that these waivers can face more scrutiny than if you are inadmissible due to having a criminal records.