Visa overstay occurs when you stay longer than your visa duration permits. All passports stamped with visas have visa expiration dates, which is indicated on a I-94 Form, it is assumed that you should have left your country of residence by the time your visa is set to expire. This is however usually not the case, as over the years, many countries have been known to battle with this challenge.
Overstaying a visa is a challenge many immigration services the world over face. While most people who eventually become classed as illegal immigrants due to the expiration of their visa think they are gaming the system when they overstay, there are however consequences for staying beyond the official date granted you irrespective of whatever country you find yourself in.
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So, what are the consequences of overstaying a visa in the UK, the United States, Canada or even Australia? Well we are going to get into that in a bit. Outlining what is classified as a visa overstay per country as well as the repercussion of staying beyond your due date starting with the United States.
Consequences Of Visa Overstay In The US
3-Year Exclusion From Entry
When a person stays in the US after his/her visa expires for a period that exceeds 180 days but less than one year, then leaves the shores of the United States before deportation proceedings is instituted. Individuals that fall under this category are excluded from reentering the US for a period of 3 years from the day of departure
10-Year Exclusion From Entry
In event that an individual stays back in the United States for a period above one year after his/her visa expires but then decides to leave before deportation proceedings is begun, this class of people are excluded from reentry to the US for a period of 10 years from the day of departure.
Inability To Change Visa Status Due To Visa Overstay
People wo stay in the United States beyond the period in which their visa permits lose the right to extend or change the status of their visa. Thus, making the change in status from nonimmigrant to immigrant impossible. Of course, this doesn’t apply to foreign individuals living within the US who have filed to extend their stay, change or make adjustments to their visa status before the permissible date allowed by their visa.
Until a decision is reached by the home office regarding either to extend a visa application or deny it, the applicant still has his/her right in place to stay behind in the US and would be seen as maintaining legal status of remaining in the country.
Voiding Of Visa
Staying beyond the period stipulated by your visa makes it null and void. Automatically making the stay of the bearer in the US illegal. Immigration services views this statue with the strictest intent possible and would not fail at the opportunity to initiate deportation proceedings. Staying beyond the period permissible by ones visa triggers this rule, even if overstay is only by an hour. If a defaulter was to leave the US, admittance back in is almost impossible unless a nonimmigrant visa is acquired while back in your home country.
US Consulate Approach Is Annulled
Usually, an individual could decide to file for an extension to his visa or a change in immigration status before his current visa expires while still in the US, this can be done by taking advantage of the United States consulate services either while state side (in the US) or in a country closer to the US.
Renewing or extending your visa while in the US is seen as the most convenient option for persons interested in staying back in the United States. In overstaying beyond the expiration of your running visa, you forego the opportunity to extend your stay by applying to consular services to get this done as this option is taken off the table.
If you decide to return to your home country, but find out that the United States doesn’t have a consular presence in your country the secretary of state may appoint a third country where individuals who fall under this category can tender their application for visa renewal.
Consequences Of Visa Overstay In Canada
It is never recommended to overstay your visa while living in Canada from a foreign country as this could jeopardize current privileges enjoyed as a legal immigrant and could go as far as preventing you from ever becoming a permanent citizen of Canada. There are unfortunately other penalties associated with overstaying on your current visa.
In event that you overstay your current visa any future visa application will be denied, also all electronic travel authorizations are sure to be turned down. This simply means that all attempts at request to enter Canada will be rejected. There are other reasons why an individual might be denied visa for entry into the country, but failure to adhere to provisions stipulated by the Immigration and refugee protection act sure takes the cake.
Staying beyond the period permitted in your visa could trigger deportation proceedings to begin, this could see the individual being forcefully sent back to his/her home country. The swiftness of deportation and timeframe to which you have to be gone from Canada depends strongly on the type of removal order issued to the individual.
Denial Of Future Visa Applications
Being forcefully removed from Canada doesn’t quite end consequences of visa overstay. However, every future visa application is sure to be rejected as background checks would easily reveal that the individual in question overstayed his/her visa in the past.
Consequence of Visa Overstay In The UK
It is important to stick to the terms of whatever visa category that keeps you in the UK. Whether short, long, work, study or tourist visa, honoring the terms of your visa cannot be overstated. Whether your visa has been curtailed (shortened) by the home office or you choose to stay beyond the due date allowed by you visa, you are classed as an overstayer.
Immigration Rules For UK Overstayers
The immigration act of 1971 stipulates in section 24 that an individual who remains in the UK beyond the period highlighted in their visa or falls short of conditions put in place to stay back in the United Kingdom could be fined for being guilty of an offence. In some cases, this is punishable by imprisonment for a period not exceeding 6 months, this of course has been reviewed under the new nationality and Borders bill in 2022, with a new extended prison time of 4 years.
In event that your current visa expires, 30 days is allotted to finalize your affairs and exit the country. This is assuming you do not activate the good reason rule, which keeps you in the UK legally for 14 more days.
Operating within the context of your visa is advised, this is particularly significant if you plan on staying back in the UK on a long-term basis. It is worthy of note that you do not get notified when you have overstayed your visa promissory period. However, if you plan on applying for a visa extension or renewal, then overstaying is definitely going to act against you. This is consequently a risk worth not taking.
Also, worth reminding that in not returning to your country when your visa expires or starting your visa renewal process on time, there is a likelihood that you could be deported if the home office is to get wind of your illegal status in the country.
Consequence Of Visa Overstay In Australia
Overstay By Less Than 28 Days
It is legally possible to apply for a visa to remain in Australia, this could be due to a number of reasons from romantic relations with a citizen to permanent residency if your visa permissible period has run out for a timeframe less than 28 days and other immigration policy requirement has been met. Status resolution services are in charge of sorting out visa status issues.
Contacting them within 28 days of visa expiration gives an applicant a chance of extending his/her visa or at least get a bridge visa while a final visa application is being processed. Like we’ll see in the next section when a foreigner stays beyond the first 28 days after their visa expires, he/she is seen to have overstayed their visa.
Overstay By More Than 28 Days
It becomes illegal to stay on beyond 28 days after your Australian visa expires as any application put forward for visa extension or renewal will be put in an excluded category which translates to a ban on future visa applications for defaulting parties for the next 3 years. Penalties apply to excluded applicants irrespective of whether they leave Australia voluntarily or they were forcefully removed.
To make it worse, at the end of the 3-year excluded period, there will be further denial of applications for visa until any accrued liabilities and debt owed to the commonwealth government of Australia is paid in full. Liabilities in this context relates to cost of deportation and other associated charges.
It has to be stressed that even though the minimum 28 days that has been legally set by the government to apply for a stay of visa has been exceeded, there are other options available to individuals interested in extending their visa in Australia. Such as a bridge visa, while a visa extension application is being processed.
Consequence Of Overstaying on A Schengen Visa In Europe
It is very tempting to overstay your Schengen visa while in Europe, but a word of caution; it never goes unnoticed. All Schengen visas issued are recorded in the database of the immigration authorities. Every overstay is noted, even if it’s by one hour.
Once an individual overstays his/her visa, a penalty is immediately incurred. One might think; “Yes, I overstayed my visa, but I wasn’t notified in writing of this shortcoming on my part”. This is indeed correct; no letter will be sent to you upon breaching immigration rules and you might think the system has been gamed. Think again as the first opportunity immigration gets, this might be due to an application for something as innocuous as filing the documents for your new car, you will get deported.
It doesn’t stop there; you could get barred from putting through any Schengen visa application for a foreseeable period. It is worth pointing out that there is no uniformity in immigration policies across all Schengen member countries as regards to penalties that accrues to overstaying a visa. Each country has different levels of punishment when this rule is breached.
So, whether your 90 days permissible period for recipients of waived visa has come to an end, the magnitude of your offence depends on the amount of days you have overstayed by as well as the country you get picked up in. It is well documented that Germany has the toughest EU immigration laws in this regard. For other countries in the Euro zone such as Greece high fines are levied on culprits who are found to overstay their visa.
Whatever the situation, one form of penalty is applied by Schengen member countries for people who overstay their visas in Europe. They usually all end in deportations, in some cases overstayers are put in trial. You could be fortunate to get picked up after a couple of days of visa expiration in a friendly European country without any penalties attached after you get deported, so you can apply for a new Schengen visa as soon as possible.
No matter your situation, there is always an option open to remedy your situation when visa overstay occurs. However, it is advisable to start this process as early as possible so as to avoid the penalty that could ensue for defaulting. The first point of call is to reach out to an immigration expert to explore your options.