When you entered the United States, you were given an I-94 form as proof of your status as a legal visitor – but it had an end date that you overlooked or simply couldn’t obey for one reason or another.
Since you’ve now overstayed your visa, you live in fear of being caught and barred from returning for up to 10 years, depending on the length of time you’ve been unlawfully present in this country. This can be especially painful if you’ve built a life here since you arrived, and you would like to make this country your home.
Is there any hope for your situation? Absolutely. Many people overstay their visas every year, and many still find a path forward to obtain a green card in spite of their mistake.
Do you have a valid reason for overstaying your visa?
Many times you can still qualify for forgiveness of your overstay when:
- You can demonstrate that your U.S. citizen (or lawful permanent resident) spouse or parents would be subject to extreme hardship financially or physically if you were deported.
- You were a minor when you overstayed your visa and are now attempting to correct the problem.
- Your overstay is related to domestic violence as a battered spouse or the fact that you were a victim of human trafficking.
- You had already applied for an adjustment of status or an extension on your time prior to the point your I-94 ran out.
These are not the only possible reasons that your overstay might be forgiven, either. Numerous immigrants have obtained relief from deportation by filing a Waiver for Grounds of Inadmissibility (Form I-601), including those who were found inadmissible after an interview with a consular official, those seeking Temporary Protected Status and more.
Immigration law is exceedingly complicated, and the rules are constantly shifting with the current political landscape. That makes it essential to never assume that you know your options until you’ve sought out experienced legal guidance and discussed the specifics of your situation.