What Happens If You Need to Stay Longer Than Your Visa Allows?

When you visit the United States, it is very important that you know when you are allowed to remain. If you stay longer than your visa for any reason, you can face serious consequences. However, sometimes accidents and emergencies happen and you may be unable to leave in time. What happens if you stay longer than your visa allows?

What Is a Visa Overstay?

If you stay longer than your visa allows, you are considered to be overstaying your visa. This is true whether you have stayed one year past the date on your I-94 Form or one day after the date on the form. The United States expects you to leave before your visa expires.


One of the most common consequences if you stay longer than your visa is inadmissibility in the future. If you overstay for over 180 days but less than 365 days, you will be barred from reentry for three years. If you overstay for more than a year, you will be stopped from reentry for a decade. 

No Ability to Change Your Status

If you want to change your visa status to another type of nonimmigrant status and you stay longer than your visa, you’ll be unable to do so. You also won’t be able to change your visa status from nonimmigrant to immigrant. Providing that you are able to file an application for a Change of Status or Extension of Stay before your visa expires, you will be able to maintain your status until a decision is made on your application or petition.

Voided Visa

Once you stay longer than your visa, your visa is considered to be null and void. Even if you overstay in the United States by a single day, this consequence will be enforced. You will need to get a new visa before you are allowed to return.

What Should You Do If You Overstay Your Visa?

It is incredibly serious to stay longer than your visa, particularly if you want to receive citizenship in the future. The first thing that you should do is speak with an immigration lawyer. Next, you should work to determine whether or not you’re eligible for a waiver. While you are waiting for things to resolve and working with your lawyer, you should take extra measures to always be on the right side of the law and be patient. Visa issues can take time to resolve, so focus on following all of the rules of your visa and the United States.

Learn More About the Immigration Process from The Law Office of Elizabeth Anu Lawrence

If you or a loved one are concerned about felony charges or other convictions that might jeopardize your immigration status, choose an experienced firm like the Law Office of Elizabeth Anu Lawrence to give you the help you need.  Please give us a call at 443.352.3201. Skype and telephone consultation are both available to clients.

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    Law Office of Elizabeth Anu Lawrence, LLC.
  • Address: 90 Painters Mill Road Suite 201 Owings Mills, Maryland 21117
  • Phone: (443) 352-3201

  • Email: info@elawrencelaw.com

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