Can I change my status after a Visa Overstay?

In this video, we touch on a very common question: what are the possibilities of changing your status after a visa overstay?

If a person comes to the United States on a visa, whether it is a tourist visa or a student visa, there is a duration of stay that is attached to the visa. To determine the amount of time you are allowed to remain in the United States you must obtain your I-94 arrival/departure record from the CBP website.

If you entered the United States on a tourist visa you can typically stay for up to six months, and you can extend your stay for another six months. During your initial authorized stay, you may change your status to another category such as a student or investor visa. Once you have overstayed and essentially lost your legal status, it is very difficult to change to another legal status.

For example, if you have overstayed your tourist visa by even a week or two weeks, it will be very difficult to apply for a future immigration benefit like a work visa, because of your previous overstay.

Any person that overstays for more than 180 days is not only risking the possibility of denial for a change of status application but are also risking being barred from the United States the moment they depart from the United states.


Typically, once you overstay you are not able to change your status to any other legal status like a work visa or investment visa.

The only exception to the rule is if you marry a U.S. Citizen. If you marry a U.S. Citizen, your overstay will be waived at the moment of adjustment of status, provided you have not committed any other immigration violations. However, if you want to obtain any other non-immigrant status it is virtually impossible to do so once you have overstayed your visa.

If you entered the United States without a visa you are not able to change your status at all to any other visa, because you never had a U.S. visa. Even if you marry a U.S. Citizen you need to file for a special waiver to be able to obtain legal status.

If you have any questions please contact our office.

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