One common misstep that people make when they come to the United States is that they overstay their visa. A visa gives them permission to enter the country legally, but it does have an expiration date. Staying past this date will cause the visa to be voided, so individuals are supposed to leave on or before that date.
There are many people who remain within the country after their visas have expired. In fact, visa overstays are one of the top reasons for illegal immigration in the United States. Affected individuals did initially come to the country in a legal fashion, but overstaying their visa puts them out of status. If they do not leave or work to adjust their status, they could face the risk of being deported as an illegal immigrant.
One thing that can happen if you overstay a visa is that you could become ineligible to get another visa in the future. You could also be rendered ineligible to return to the country under another status. The United States has very strict rules regarding visas, and someone who appears to have intentionally overstayed their visa may be barred entry in the future.
But what if it was a mistake?
If you’re an immigrant, you can see how serious this situation can become. You may have come here on a tourist visa or work visa, but now you suddenly find yourself out of status and risking deportation. Not only that, this may be a serious enough offense that, once you’ve been removed from the country, you might not be allowed to return. This could have a drastic impact on your plans for the future, especially if you have a family or a career that requires coming to the United States.
There are many people who accidentally overstay their visas. They simply make a mistake. Maybe they read the dates wrong. Maybe they fundamentally did not understand the visa, believing that it allowed them to stay in the country indefinitely. All it takes is one small miscommunication or one element of confusion for a person to find themself in significant legal trouble. If you find yourself in this position, then it’s important to know about all of the legal options at your disposal. Seeking legal guidance is a good place to start.