An expired visa causes problems during the best of times. In the current national crisis, those problems can produce even more stress. An expired work visa in during this current immigration ban can completely uproot your life.
The ban on immigrants who present a labor market risk following the coronavirus outbreak has just been extended through 2021. This means that even if your visa was previously going to last through the ban, it may no longer make it through.
Understanding what to do if that happens will help you get through the immigration ban while remaining in the U.S.
How to Understand Your Dates
There are two important dates for the end of your visa: the expiration date and the I-94 departure date. The expiration date on your visa is the last date you are permitted to enter the U.S. The I-94 date is the last date you are allowed to remain inside the U.S.
Just because the date on your original visa has passed does not mean your visa has necessarily expired. If you are confused about your visa status, you should always reach out to a legal representative to clarify your situation.
Staying in the US after that date is considered a crime unless you:
- Are under the age of 18
- Have a pending genuine asylum application on file
- Are a beneficiary of the Family Unity program
- Have a pending application for a green card, extension of status, or change of status
- Have temporary protected status, deferred enforced departure, or deferred action.
Consequences of Remaining on an Expired Visa
The consequences of overstaying depends on how long you have overstayed. In order to identify the consequences, you need to count forward from the day of departure on your I-94 to present.
Consequences depend on whether you’ve overstayed your visa by less or more than 180 days.
If you have been in the U.S. for less than 180 days past your departure date, you are still eligible to apply for a new visa or even a green card. However, you will no longer be eligible for the US Visa Waiver program.
On the other hand, if you overstay your visa by more than 180 days, you face more significant penalties. You can face the risk of being forcibly removed from the country.
Furthermore, if you are identified as having overstayed for more than a year, you may be barred from re-entering the country for a decade. If you are forcibly removed from the country for a visa overstay, you may be barred from ever re-entering the US.
What to Do If Your Visa Expires
If your visa expires during your time in the U.S., your first step should be to get legal representation. Working with a legal representative is critical to keeping your legal status while remaining in the U.S.
A qualified attorney can help you confirm your current status and help you maintain your residence in the U.S. In particular, they may be able to help you work on applying for a new legal status such as a green card or another visa. They can also help you work to avoid the expiration of your visa in the first place.
Our attorneys have experience in working through immigration issues of all types, so they have the knowledge to help you get through this confusing time.