Penalty for overstaying a visa

Written by kristina werden
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Penalty for overstaying a visa
Overstaying a visa is a federal crime in the United States. (passport approval image by timur1970 from Fotolia.com)

A visa is a contract with a country allowing a person to enter that country to conduct certain business, which can include work, tourism and study. Most of the time, a visa is issued with an expiration date, and the visa holder must leave the country by that date to stay in accordance with U.S. law. There are several penalties that the United States can impose on those who overstay their visas.

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Arrest and Deportation

If the visa holder overstays his visa, deportation is always an option. Deportation is the expulsion from a country of a non-national/alien. Generally, if a person overstays his visa, aggressive deportation, in which United States Immigration actively seeks out the alien for deportation, will not happen. However, if the alien enacts in any additional unlawful activity, he can be detained and deported.

Overstayed Visa for Less than One Year

If the alien overstayed the visa for more than 180 days but less than one year and leaves the United States voluntarily, the punishment will be a bar from entering the United States for at least three years. The bar will begin at the date of departure and the alien will not be able to re-enter the country at any port of entry until three years after the date of departure.

Overstayed Visa for More than One Year

If the alien overstayed her visa for more than one year and she voluntarily left the United States, the bar from entering the United States will be 10 years. This bar will begin at the date of departure and will be completed at the end of 10 years from that date.

Ineligibility for Other Visas

After overstaying a visa in the United States, it will be very difficult to get another visa to enter the country. Overstaying a visa in the United States will also hinder the alien's application for a visa to enter another country. To get around this ineligibility, it may cost a lot of money in litigation and application processing fees before being issued another visa.

Criminal Record

Overstaying a visa is a crime, which means that any person who overstays a visa will now have a criminal record. This once again will be a problem for those who wish to be granted a visa to enter another country or to be allowed back into the United States.

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