Integrity Legal

Posts Tagged ‘unlawful presence’

5th July 2018

It would appear that Thailand is not the only jurisdiction which is tightening immigration regulations and enforcement. In recent weeks, an announcement from the agency which oversees immigration matters is likely to have a significant impact upon future immigrants and non-immigrants alike. For example, in a recent press release from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) it was noted that certain non-immigrants such as J-1, F-1, and M-1 visa holders will no longer be granted an effective reprieve from accruing unlawful presence in the USA through use of so-called “duration of status” exemption.

What is “duration of status”? Duration of status (also referred to as “DS”, “D of S”, or D/S in certain immigration circles) refers to the status by which certain non-immigrant are admitted into the United States. In this blogger’s opinion it was designed to streamline immigration functions as certain exchange visitor programs and course curricula do not necessarily have a definite end date (this is especially the case with so-called practicum courses following after a more organized academic schedule). Due to the fact that it is somewhat difficult to nail down policymakers allowed for “duration of status” to act as a sort of floating grace period. In the past, those admitted in this status were unable to accrue unlawful presence once admitted even where a course or other reason for admission had clearly terminated. This lead to what some would describe as abuse of the system. This was simply a “loophole” in the rules that allowed such individuals to obtain later immigration benefits without the need to worry about an finding of inadmissibility for overstay since unlawful presence could not ever be determined. Pursuant to a recent announcement from USCIS this appears to be changing. To quote directly from the USCIS website:

Individuals in F, J, or M status who fail to maintain their status on or after Aug. 9, 2018, will start accruing unlawful presence on the earliest of any of the following:

  • The day after they no longer pursue the course of study or the authorized activity, or the day after they engage in an unauthorized activity;
  • The day after completing the course of study or program, including any authorized practical training plus any authorized grace period;
  • The day after the I-94 expires; or
  • The day after an immigration judge, or in certain cases, the BIA, orders them excluded, deported, or removed (whether or not the decision is appealed).

This change in policy will have a significant impact upon those who have been admitted to the USA in one of the above categories. Moreover, those previously admitted in duration of status who are no longer pursuing the program for which they were admitted are well advised to consult an immigration attorney soon in order to understand their options. Obviously, failure to remain in lawful status could harm future applications for further immigration benefits pursuant to the forthcoming rule change. It seems logical to infer that more findings of accrued unlawful presence are likely to be made in future immigration cases and in that case such matters will only be remedied through use of an I-601 waiver petition.

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8th September 2010

The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement Service (USICE or more commonly referred to by the acronym: ICE) is tasked with enforcing American Immigration and Customs law. Often ICE officers are involved in programs aimed at apprehending those in the United States illegally or those who initially came to the United States legally, but later either dropped out of lawful status or committed a criminal offense which created a legal ground for removal. For the most part, ICE seems to primarily deal with immigration violations which occur along the Southern border of the United States as this has increasingly been an area where illegal immigration occurs frequently. However, their mandate includes all immigrants and foreign nationals from countries around the globe and in a recently promulgated announcement from  the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), distributed by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), it was noted that those from Asian countries who violate US law are just as susceptible to removal. To quote directly from the aforementioned announcement:

SEATTLE – In a chartered flight that originated in Seattle on Aug. 31, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) returned 96 immigration violators to the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan and Cambodia; 66 of them had committed criminal offenses in the United States.


ICE’s Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) coordinated the flight that returned 66 Filipinos, 18 Indonesians, 5 Cambodians, 4 Malaysians, 2 Japanese, and 1 Vietnamese nationals to their respective countries. The group included 79 males and 17 females. These individuals came into ICE custody from locations throughout the United States and were housed at various detention facilities across the country before being transported to the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, Wash., shortly before the flight.


Among the 66 who had been convicted of criminal offenses while living in the United States, their crimes included homicide, felony drug trafficking and possession, rape and other sex crimes, aggravated assault, weapons possession, grand theft, and burglary.


“This year, ICE expects to remove a record number of criminal aliens from the country and charter flights like this are a big part of making that happen,” said ICE Director John Morton. “The United States welcomes law-abiding immigrants, but foreign nationals who violate our laws and commit crimes in our communities should be on notice that ICE is going to use all its resources to find you and send you home.”


ICE officers and medical staff with the Division of Immigration Health Services accompanied aliens on the flight.

Removal from the United States is a serious matter and those immigrants present in the USA on some sort of immigrant visa are well advised to adhere to US law and maintain lawful immigration status at all times. That said, those who have been deported from the US are generally not able to lawfully reenter the United States for a statutorily prescribed period of time. Those barred from the USA may be able to reenter after an approval of either an I-601 waiver or an I-212 petition for advance permission to reenter the USA. In some cases, those removed from the United States are indefinitely ineligible for readmission to the US. USICE offices overseas seem to be tasked with making certain that those removed from the United States actually return to their home country or remain abroad in an effort to prevent from them returning to the USA unlawfully.

United States Immigration law is a complex area of American jurisprudence. The existence of an American warrant on an alien’s record or prior criminal convictions in US Courts can have a serious impact upon one’s ability to immigrate to, and remain in, the United States.

Those seeking information about specific immigration issues are well advised to contact a US attorney in order to ascertain one’s options pursuant to American Immigration law.

For related information please see: Warrant For Arrest, US Visa Indonesia, or US Visa Vietnam.

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11th May 2009

Some Visas in Thailand do not confer resident status which can be beneficial for a number of reasons. Thai education visas and Thai tourist visas do not confer resident status and as a result accrual of time spent in Thailand on either of these visas will not count towards the necessary time requirements for Thai permanent residence.

Currently, Thailand is issuing visa exemptions (the right to remain in Thailand without a proper visa) for 30 days at an airport and for 15 days at a land border. However, Thai tourist visas are currently free to applicants at certain Embassies.

Thai “O” Visas or Other Visas, are issued to those who are either a family member of a Thai national, permanent resident, or visa holder, based upon a filial relationship to the visa holder. Currently, it is possible to obtain O visas for Non-Thai children, but for those children under a certain age, it is not possible to overstay in Thailand. This situation is similar in US Immigration where non-Citizen children cannot accrual unlawful presence in the United States. A child may be overstaying a visa, but the child cannot accrue time as a person present in the USA unlawfully.

At one time, Thai work permits were used as a basis for granting business visa extensions in Thailand. Before that time, a business visa extension could be obtained without obtaining a work permit, but this situation was considered unacceptable because it left many non-Thais in Thailand on business visas, some of whom were working, but without a work permit. For a period of time, the work permit was the foundation of the business visa extension application. Recently, the Thai work permit was “untied” from the business visa extension and as a result it is easier to obtain a work permit, but seemingly more difficult to obtain a Thai visa extension.

Many people forget that a Thai multiple entry visa is good until its expiration date and the visa holder will be granted a stay of 90 days upon entry. This leads to the situation where the non-Thai presents his visa to Thai Immigration one day before the visa’s expiration, but is granted entry into Thailand for nearly 90 days past the visa’s expiration.

(Please note: this post is not a substitute for personal legal advice from a licensed attorney. No lawyer-client relationship is created between author and reader.)

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