As you likely know, if you are a visa holder, you can stay legally within the U.S. for a certain amount of time. The allotment can differ anywhere from 1 month to 10 years. Once that time is up, you must leave the United States or apply for a new visa should you want to stay legally. It is common for people to overstay their visas and remain within the U.S. past that allotted time. So, what happens if your visa expires and you get married during that time?
Overstaying a Visa
Overstaying a visa is common, and there are certain levels of repercussions based on how long you stay post-expiration. Usually, if the overstay of your visa is less than 180 days, the consequences are less severe.
However, if you stay within the U.S. for over 180 days, you may be subject to a three-year bar of ineligibility. Anything over a year can see you facing nearly a 10-year bar of ineligibility for a green card. These bars usually trigger once you leave the U.S. and can affect your reapplication proceedings.
So, what happens if your visa expires but you marry a U.S. citizen? This is a difficult and confusing area of immigration law wherein the outcome depends on each specific case. Your visa type, overstay, and records will affect how the file for adjustment status will proceed.
That is why you must work with an immigration law attorney throughout the process. At Gahagan Law, we are happy to help you file for an adjustment status so you can live in the U.S. peacefully and legally with your partner.
Thankfully, most people with an expired visa who marry a U.S. citizen can successfully apply for their adjustment status. However, some exceptions can make your adjustment status a more challenging case. For example, if you accrued a criminal history or conducted illegal activity during your visa stay, this may affect your application.
While the application process is straightforward, it is not simple as it requires many documents; moreover, you must know how your history will affect you. That is why it is important you work with an immigration lawyer so they can guide you through the process and determine the eligibility of your adjustment status.