U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues various types of visas for many different reasons. For instance, the H1-B visa is issued to those seeking employment in fields that require highly specialized knowledge while the immigrant visa “IR1” is issued to the spouse of a U.S. citizen who might be looking to relocate and live in the U.S. with their significant other. Regardless of the type of visa an immigrant obtains, they all have certain guidelines that the visa holder must follow in order to remain in the U.S. legally.
One of the guidelines the nonimmigrant visa holder must be aware of and follow is the timeframe in which their visa remains valid. Once a visa is issued, it should have an issuance date along with a visa expiration date shown on it. The time in between this issuance date and the date it expires is called your visa validity period [Source: U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs]. This is the amount of time you have to travel to the U.S., however, the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs states that “the visa expiration date shown on your visa does not reflect how long you are authorized to stay within the United States.” Customs and Border Protection (CPB) determines the length of your authorized stay within the U.S. when entering the country.
Once you have been informed on the length of time you may reside in the U.S., it is important that you remain aware of this timeframe. The fact is, if you overstay the end date of your authorized stay, your visa will automatically be void or cancelled unless the following two conditions are met:
- You have filed an application in a timely manner for an extension of stay or a change of status, and
- That application is pending and not frivolous.
If you or a loved one has overstayed the timeframe the CPB has authorized you to remain in the U.S., you are urged to contact Kuck | Baxter Immigration Partners LLC to speak with a GA immigration attorney who can provide you with the help you will need to address the situation. Those who overstay their visa are at risk of being detained by ICE officials and placed in an immigration detention center and part of the removal proceedings process.
What should I do if I have my valid visa but want to extend my stay?
If you were admitted into the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa and are looking to extend your stay, you are required to apply with USCIS before your authorized stay has expired. Contact our firm and set up a time to come in and speak with one of our experienced Atlanta immigration lawyers. Our helpful and skilled lawyers can assist you in getting the necessary forms filed with USCIS so that you can continue to live in the U.S. and aren’t at risk of being detained by immigration officials for overstaying your visa.
Kuck | Baxter Immigration Partners LLC can be reached at:
365 Northridge Road, Suite 300
Atlanta, GA 30350