Consequences of Visa Overstay and Unlawful Presence in the U.S.
A brief explanation of detrimental results of overstaying a non-immigrant visa or unlawful presence in the U.S.
IntroductionThe "Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act" (IIRIRA) imposes penalties on those who stay in the United States beyond the period authorized by the Attorney General. The provisions of the act defining the consequences of such actions are generally INA Section 222(g) "Visa Overstays" (nonimmigrant) and INA Section 212(a)(9)(B) "Aliens Unlawfully Present"
Penalties and ExceptionsWhen INA Section 222(g) and Section 212(a)(9)(B) are triggered, penalties range from Cancellation of the nonimmigrant visa used by an alien to enter the United States, Alien becoming permanently restricted to apply for future nonimmigrant visas at a consular office in country of nationality (unless extraordinary circumstances exist), to 3-year bar to readmission to the United States if alien voluntarily departs the United States after being unlawfully present for more than 180 consecutive days, but less than 1 year or 10-year bar to readmission to the United States if the alien departs (voluntarily or involuntarily) after being unlawfully present for 1 consecutive year or more. ? 222(g) extraordinary circumstances may be found where compelling humanitarian or national interests exist or where necessary for the effective administration of the immigration laws. But such circumstances shall not be found upon the basis of convenience or financial burden to the alien, the alien's relative, or the alien's employer. U.S. Department of State has defined "Blanket Exceptions" applicable to certain individuals. Under some circumstances, waiver could be obtained reducing harsh consequences of the act to an individual, but in most cases, such person would still have to leave the U.S. For example, beginning [ . . . March 4, 2013, certain immigrant visa applicants who are immediate relatives (spouses, children and parents) of U.S. citizens can apply for provisional unlawful presence waivers before they leave the United States for their consular interview.] The law in this area is extremely complex and subject to numerous interpretations by the DHS and the Department of State. Viewers should not rely on this short note and should consult an immigration attorney for a case evaluation.