What to do when your visitor/working visa is expired

Spending time in a foreign country like the US requires you to have either a working or a traveling visa. Naturally, this visa needs to be completely valid since it signifies a document which officially grants you access to this country. Therefore, once a visa expires, you lose you right to spend time in this country. Before this happens, you should come back to your native country and apply for a new visa, or extend the current one in the US embassy. Visas are stamped in the passports so that the customs officers can see them. Nevertheless, having a visa does not immediately grant you access to a foreign country since there might be other requirements for you to meet. But, what if you prolong your stay in the US and find out that your visa has expired?

First and foremost, some visas can be renewed in the US, meaning that one does not have to come back to his/her country in order to apply for it and undergo the entire process again. People who are in possession of A and G visas have this opportunity. With your visa, you will also have the I-94, which is a document which says how long your are allowed to stay in the country. You need to leave the country before this date expires in order to have it extended. Otherwise, you will be persecuted by the immigration police.

Overstaying is a very serious offense and you should do your best to avoid it by planning ahead and taking care of the documentation on time, prolonging your stay in a legal way. If the immigration service tracks you and finds out that you are staying in the country illegally, you might lose the chance of ever being granted a vise again, having it permanently canceled. Moreover, you might face years of legal persecution.

Nevertheless, if you find yourself in this situation, there might be a couple of things you can do in order to get the most out of it. As soon as you notice that your visa is about to expire, contact your immigration lawyer or attorney. Alternatively, you can contact a qualified community agency and learn all you can about your problem.

There are documents you need to have with you at all times in order to be prepared when the immigration police reaches you. These, of course, are your state ID and your driver’s license. These documents do not have your immigration status listed and are thereby safe to be carried as an identification. Make sure you write the number of your immigration advocate or attorney and carry it with you at all times. You might find it extremely useful in situations like the above mentioned one.

Finally, the most important thing about being an immigrant is knowing your rights. So, feel free to contact the experts and learn how you can protect yourself the best way.

Spending time in the US can sometimes be easier said than done. Yet, if you plan ahead and prepare yourself well legally, you can become a citizen soon enough.

Derek Finegan

Derek Finegan

Derek is a freelance journalist with over five years experience in writing, editing and researching legal topics. At the moment he's speccially interested in immigration law since his wife is an immigrant.
Derek Finegan
Derek Finegan

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