Your visa and I-94 form have expiration dates that reflect the current approved period for your stay in the United States. Every immigrant has a responsibility to attend to those dates and either renew the visa when possible or return to their home country before the visa expires. Failure to do so results in a visa overstay.
What happens when you overstay your visa in the United States?
When you overstay your visa, immigration laws permit the government to bar you from receiving another visa to enter the United States for a period determined by the situation. An overstay that exceeds six months but is less than a year, and one that you end by returning home without legal intervention, results in a 3-year bar on your visa. Should you overstay your visa for more than a year, the government may institute a ten-year bar on your visa.
Can you extend your stay?
You may wish to request an extension for your stay or potentially change your immigration status. If so, submit the application and any necessary paperwork before your current visa expires. Doing so automatically institutes a stay on your visa until the immigration office reaches a decision on your application. The court typically will not consider an extension or status change if you apply after your visa expires.
Understanding the importance of your visa’s expiration date and your options for extension helps you protect your legal status in the country. Consider your current visa’s term and apply for an extension early if you might need it.