If you live in or around the Philadelphia, PA area, and need an experienced law firm for representation on a visa overstay, go no further. Voloshen Law is a results-oriented full service immigration legal adviser ready to step in with help. Let’s face it, navigating the legal red tape in terms of documents and terminology isn’t easy. It’s important that you understand your options and how you should proceed. So if your visa expires, we’re ready to field your questions.
Understanding Visa Overstays
In its simplest form, a visa overstay is when a person remains in the U.S. past their visa’s expiration. This applies to individuals who are given duration stays for specific projects which may not have a set-in-stone end date. Once the activity is completed, their visa no longer applies.
To know for certain when your visa expires refer to your I-94 form. This provides your arrival and departure record, and it governs your stay in the United States (specifically look at “admit until date”). Even if the date on your visa is different, THIS is the date after which you cannot remain in the United States. Your visa date only covers the date up until which you can legally enter the US. You can look up your authorized stay information HERE.
If someone remains past their visa expiration but then leaves the US they may not be allowed to return to the country. If they overstayed by 180 days, then they cannot return to the US for three years. If they overstayed by a year or more, they cannot return for 10 years. Those involved in the Visa Waiver Program have 90 days from their date of entry before they are “overstaying” also called unlawful presence.
If you have a visa that is expiring, you can apply for an adjustment of status. Basically, you’d begin the process of applying for a green card, but it MUST occur before your overstay begins. The only exception is if you have immediate relatives (spouse, parents, children) in the United States, you’re exempt so long as you entered the country legally.
An adjustment of status application includes:
- An application for permanent residence
- A petition for the alien relative
- Affidavit of support
- Employment Authorization Application (if applicable)
- Information of spouse beneficiary (if applicable)
- Physical and vaccination records
- Travel application (if applicable)
If you overstayed your visa, but are waiting for a decision on your green card you will be able to travel outside the US only if you obtain advance parole. This is a travel document you take with you that allows your green card processing to continue moving forward, provided your sponsor is a United States citizen.
Unsure of your Status or Options?
This article barely skims the surface of all the details involved with visa overstays and what to do when you realize it’s happened to you. This is where Voloshen Law Firm near Philadelphia PA, comes into the picture. We know the legal ins and outs, and how best to represent your interest in this matter. You can reach out to us online HERE, or call our Huntingdon Valley office at 215-437-7854.