Sometimes foreigners are faced with the problem of overdue visas. What to do if your American visa is overdue? It is worth noting that some people can get a green card after their visa expires. However, they must fulfill several conditions.
Firstly, it is important to determine the way your visa is overdue, because it is not as obvious as many people think.
Two ways to lose immigration status
When a foreign national stays in the United States for longer than the permitted period of stay, it is called a “visa overstay.” Delay refers to the holder of a nonimmigrant visa who legally entered the United States for the permitted period but remained in it beyond the permitted period of entry.
However, the US government will also consider non-immigrants admitted for a specified “term of validity” who cannot maintain their status. “Status duration” is the term used for foreign nationals who are admitted for the duration of a specific program or activity, which may be variable rather than for a specific period. The permitted admission period ends when the foreign national achieves the purpose for which he was admitted, or no longer participates in permitted activities related to that purpose.
Look for information on Form I-94, not visa expiration
A nonimmigrant visa can be valid for several years. However, it does not regulate the length of your permitted stay in the United States. This visa simply allows you to enter the United States during this period. Form I-94 governs your stay in the United States. The “Clearance Date By” on your I-94 record is the last day you are allowed to remain in the United States. This date may expire before the validity of the visa. You must leave the United States by the date on your Form I-94. Otherwise, your visa will be overdue.
Three- and 10-year re-entry intervals
In 1996, Congress passed legislation prohibiting certain individuals from becoming permanent residents of the United States. Unlawful presence includes any time spent in the United States by a foreign national:
- Someone who entered the United States illegally or whose legal immigration status has expired has been revoked or otherwise terminated.
Therefore, any time spent in the United States beyond that permitted by Form I-94 is a period of illegal stay. The period of illegal presence starts from the day the status expires. But these intervals are triggered only after the person leaves the United States. Three- and ten-year bans are distributed as follows:
- Individuals who have accumulated 180 days or more of illegal stays and then left the country cannot return to the United States for 3 years.
- Individuals who have been illegally in the country for one year or more and then left the country cannot return to the United States for 10 years.
Under certain circumstances, it is possible to bypass the re-entry ban.
Forgiveness for late visa: special provisions for immediate family members
Status adjustment is the process that a non-immigrant visitor uses to change status to a permanent resident of the United States. That is, changing status is the process of applying for a green card within the United States. Typically, the adjustment is available to foreign nationals who have entered lawfully and are eligible for an immigrant visa.
However, a foreign national is usually not allowed to change status if the applicant is in illegal immigration status on the date the adjustment application is filed.
But the provision of the law exempts the next of kin of US citizens from visa delays. The next of kin category includes spouses, parents and unmarried children (under 21 years of age). Thus, the law provides for some “visa pardon” for the next of kin.
Entering the United States with a valid visa is considered legal even if that visa has expired. This means that you can enter the United States on the last day of your visa. However, you can legally stay in the country for 90 days.
However, the one who crossed the border illegally does not have the right to change the status.
Application for adjustment of status after delay
Upon returning to their home country, immigrants with a significant period of illegal stay in the United States who try to obtain a green card will activate a re-entry ban. At best, this will be an expensive and time-consuming process that requires the assistance of a lawyer. At worst, the result can be disastrous for the immigration process.
But immediate family members of US citizens who are currently legally in the United States may be eligible to change status. By filling out Form I-485, a status change application and other required forms in one package, prospective immigrants provide the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) with all the documents necessary to process the case and make a decision.
A typical family status adjustment package includes the following forms:
- I-130, Petition for Alien Relative
- I-130A, Additional Information for Beneficiary Spouse (if Beneficiary is Spouse)
- I-485, Application for Registration of Permanent Residence or Change of Status
- I-864 Affidavit of Support
- I-693, Medical Examination Report and Vaccination Records
- I-765, Application for Work Permit (Optional)
- I-131, Application for Travel Document (Optional)