Maintaining your F-1 Status: Visa Overstay

Visa Overstay occurs in the following situations:

  • A student has failed to complete a program of study and has allowed his/her I-20 to expire;
  • A student interrupts/ceases a program of study and fails to depart the U.S. immediately (break periods and summer vacation are not considered to be an interruption of studies;
  • A student has allowed the 60-day grace period to expire without having received a new I-20 to begin a new program of study or having submitted an application to DHS for a change of visa status.

Consequences of visa overstay

  • Student is considered to have violated legal wtatus
  • The F-1 entry visa stamp is automatically void
  • All future U.S. entry visa applications must be made in the individual‘s home country
  • It may be extremely difficult to obtain future entry visas to enter the U.S.

Regaining F-1 Legal Status

It is important that students discuss legal status issues with an ISPAdviser. There are two ways in which a student may be able to regain legal F-1 status:

  • Reinstatement of Legal Status Application to DHS;
  • Reentry into the U.S. with a new “initial admit” I-20.

DHS Declaration of Unlawful Presence

If a DHS official or an immigration judge declares an individual to be unlawfully present in the United States as a result of the visa overstay, the unlawful presence will begin on the date of the DHS decision – not the date the individual violated his/her status.

Unlawful presence will have an effect on future eligibility for entry into the United States:

  • Individuals who have been unlawfully present in the U.S. for more than 180 continuous days but less than one year are barred from admission to the U.S. (under any visa type) for a period of three years from the date of departure;
  • Individuals who have been unlawfully present in the U.S. for one year or longer are barred from admission to the U.S. (under any visa type) for a period of 10 years.



' >