Visa Overstays to Receive New Scrutiny
The Trump Administration announced today that it will instruct the Department of Homeland Security to step up enforcement of removal proceedings for people who overstay visas. This is unwelcome news. About 700,000 travelers to the United States overstayed their visas in fiscal 2017, the most recent year for which the Department of Homeland Security has published figures. DHS estimated that, as of Sept. 30, 2017, the end of that fiscal year, more than 600,000 of those travelers were still in the U.S. Here are some additional facts about visa overstay cases:
- The largest number of overstays were in the regular short-term visitor category (B-1/B-2). This number grew by about 5 percent from 2016 to 2017.
- About 20 percent of the 302,000 B visa overstays in 2017 were from just two countries: 33,759 from Brazil and 30,424 from Venezuela.
- The category with the highest overstay rate is student and exchange visitors (F, M, and J visas). This category has twice the overstay rate of most other categories.
- About 40 percent of the student/exchange visa overstays in 2017 were from just four countries: China, Saudi Arabia, India, and South Korea.
- Eleven countries have student/exchange visa overstay rates of greater than 30 percent.
Source: Center for Immigration Studies
If you are in the same situation as hundreds of thousands of people who overstay visas, you should be concerned about how DHS’ new policy will affect your ability to stay in the United States. You may have options for adjusting status or relief from removal. It is important to know your rights to remain in the United States after a visa overstay.
Godoy Law Office’s experienced visa overstay attorneys can help you understand your rights before the government chooses to initiate proceedings against you. If you are one of the hundreds of thousands of people who have come to the United States on a valid visa, but then overstayed your visa, contact our attorneys to schedule a consult about your case. We can discuss what options you have available to you based on your personal, professional, legal and immigration history.