visa waiver

What Happens if You Overstay Your Visa Waiver?

By Peek & Toland on November 2, 2017

The Visa Waiver Program allows citizens of certain countries to travel to the United States for up to 90 days, for business or tourism without obtaining a visa.

The fact no visa is required does not mean there are no consequences if you overstay your visa waiver.

A visa waiver is a 90-day privilege that most European countries have along with countries like Japan. A full list of countries that benefit from the visa waiver program can be found on the website of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Many visa waiver recipients are not aware that they must depart after 90 days. They cannot extend their period of stay unless they get married to a U.S. citizen. If someone on a visa waiver program overstays their 90-day period, they will be removed.

overstaying your visa waiver

Overstaying your visa waiver has serious consequences

While visa holders who overstay their time in the United States are permitted a hearing, this is not the case for those in the visa waiver program who must depart immediately in most cases. VWP participants cannot extend their stay or change their status to another category.

Not all countries participate in the VWP, and not all visitors from VWP countries are eligible for the program.

In some cases, people who have overstayed file for adjustment of status through marriage. At this point, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may discover the visa waiver recipient overstayed his or her time in the United States and seek removal.

If you find yourself in this situation, an immigration attorney can help. The visa waiver recipient may be allowed to stay in the United States due to prosecutorial discretion. This is a procedure that allows an immigration officer to cancel the removal proceedings because the immigrant has a pending adjustment of status petition filed with USCIS.

The removal may be canceled if an immigrant has a pending adjustment of status petition filed with USCIS before the detention. An immigration lawyer may be able to show USCIS still has jurisdiction over a client even if he or she has been placed in removal proceedings due to the pending adjustment of status case filed previously.

In such cases, removal proceedings may be canceled and the immigrant paroled back into the United States. This is a complex area and a difficult one to negotiate on your own.

Find out more about visa waivers and visas on our website. If you are facing a complicated immigration issue, please call our Austin immigration lawyers at (512) 474-4445.


Posted in Immigration, Visas

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Department of Homeland Security Steps up Social Media Monitoring of Foreign Visitors

By Peek & Toland on June 30, 2017

The new administration’s so-called “extreme vetting” policies are inherent in the recent travel bans. They extend to stepping up the monitoring of social media platforms of foreign visitors to the United States.

Recently, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confirmed it is continuing to expand the scrutiny of the social media presence of travelers from abroad and foreign nationals who are applying for U.S. immigration benefits.

John Kelly, the Secretary of Homeland Security said the Trump Administration’s “extreme vetting” policies could include requesting foreign visitors to provide details of their use of social media and other websites.

The move would represent a more intrusive approach to vetting. Currently, the DHS asks some foreign visitors to the United States to voluntary disclose this information. Last summer, the federal government announced foreign visitors would be asked to disclose their social media accounts, although the request was not compulsory.

Social media monitoring of immigrants is taking place

More social media monitoring is taking place of immigrants

Since December, visitors entering the United States from visa waiver program (VWP) countries have been asked about their social media use. The request includes asking them to name platforms and usernames via an optional question on the Electronic System for Travel Authorization form.

The U.S. Department of State and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) use publicly available information from social media information in fraud investigations and other adjudications.

However, Kelly upped the stakes in February in the wake of a travel ban affecting refugees and visa applicants from seven (now six) Muslim-majority countries. Visitors would be asked to hand over their login details for Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites as part of the standard security check

If you are traveling to the United States, you should be very careful about what you post on social media.  Anything posted online is open for potential scrutiny by immigration officials when requests for immigration benefits and admission to the United States are made.

Extreme Vetting of Foreign Visitors is Stepped Up

The Trump administration has raised the prospect of “extreme vetting.” It is yet to flesh out the details. Secretary Kelly, however, has made it clear in comments to Congress that it’s likely to including asking foreign visitors to supply passwords and user names for social media accounts. Failure to do so could result in a denial of access to the country.

Foreign visitors may already have their electronic devices such as smart phones, laptops or tablets searched by U.S. Customs and Border Control officials.

Trump has also been short on specifics about extreme vetting. In a speech during the election campaign in 2016, he referred to “extreme, extreme vetting,” intended to bar anyone who does not share “American values” from the United States,

He said until an appropriate test is ready, the U.S. should temporarily suspend immigration from countries with histories of spawning terrorists.

Two executive orders containing travel bans have been released to date, but we know little more about extreme vetting.

It’s clear that this is an uncertain time to travel. The rules are changing fast. Make sure to have the correct documents such as visas with you all the time when traveling Be cautious about what you post on social media.

If you encounter any problems, please contact an experienced Texas immigration attorneys. Call us at (512) 474-4445.

Posted in Immigration, Visas

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