Integrity Legal

12th September 2009

Every year, many people from all over the world enter the United States of America and remain temporarily. As previously mentioned on this blog and on this website, there are many different types of non-immigrant visas for those who wish to go to the United States and remain for a short period of time or for a particular endeavor which has a definitive chronological endpoint.

United States Tourist visas are a prime example of a non-immigrant category visa that can grant the applicant a long duration of stay. This type of visa is meant for those entering the USA for recreational purposes who intend to leave after their vacation has ended. US Student visas are meant for those who are traveling to the United States to engage in a course of study. Finally American Exchange visitor visas are designed for those who wish to travel to America to live and/or work in a travel exchange program.

With any of the aforementioned visa categories the underlying visa’s validity has an end date. When the non-immigrant visa’s expiration date arrives, the applicant must either depart the United States or seek an extension. An US visa extension is similar to a Thai visa extension in that the applicant must apply for the extension while in the country and if granted, the applicant may remain for longer than the initial visa’s validity.

Those who do not depart or extend are considered in violation of their visa as they are overstaying its validity. In US Immigration circles, the alien is deemed to be in the United States “on overstay.” The longer a violator remains in the United States the higher the probability that the violator will be caught and either removed from the country or given the option to voluntarily depart.

After departing the United States due to overstay, the alien may be deemed inadmissible depending upon the duration of the overstay. Further, the duration of the bar on reentry depends upon how long the violator overstayed. The alien could be subjected to a 10 year bar if he remained in the US without lawful status for a long enough period of time.

In cases involving inadmissibility based upon overstay it may be possible to obtain a waiver of the inadmissibility. The applicant will need to file an I-601 waiver in order to clear up the overstay issue because if the waiver is granted the applicant will be allowed to reenter the country on either an immigrant or non-immigrant visa.

If the alien was removed from the United States because of an overstay, it may be necessary to file an I-212 application for permission to apply for reentry. That being said, either application is approved only at the discretion of the adjudicating officer at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service.


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