Legal Issues that Affect Visa Status
September 27, 2018
For many individuals, obtaining a valid visa is the first step toward permanently residing in the United States. The possession of a visa allows you to reside, leave, and re-enter the country, should you travel abroad. To maintain your ability to remain in the United States, it is important to be aware of the legal issues that could affect your visa status.
Entering the Country Illegally
Individuals who enter the country illegally without first acquiring a visa through the proper application process often have difficulty later obtaining a visa. Because of an unlawful entry into the country, any future visa status could be in jeopardy.
Failing to Extend a Visa
Individuals possessing F1 student visas or H1-B work visas need to remain aware of their visa expiration dates to allow enough time to apply for visa extensions. Failing to file for a visa extension in a timely matter can result in the loss of a visa, detainment, or deportation. Visa extension applications should be filed at least 45 days before their authorized stay period expires.
Providing Improper Reasons for Visa Extensions
Visa extensions are granted under the following conditions: the visa holder was lawfully admitted into the United States, the visa status has remained valid, the visa holder has not committed a crime that would make them ineligible for a visa, or the visa holder possesses a passport valid for the length of their stay. To obtain a visa extension, the individual must demonstrate intent to eventually leave the United States. If it appears the visa holder intends to permanently reside in the country, also called immigrant intent, the visa will not be extended.
Deemed Inadmissible for Entry
Another significant legal issue that can affect one’s visa status is being barred from admission due to inadmissibility criteria. Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, certain people will be barred from admission into the United States and deemed ineligible for visas. These include individuals who have been previously removed from the country or convicted of an aggravated felony during their original removal period.
Individuals who have been unlawfully present in the United States for over 180 days but less than one year may be considered inadmissible for some time, while individuals who have been unlawfully present for over a year may be deemed inadmissible for up to 10 years. There are special rules and exceptions to the bars for admission with respect to minors, asylum seekers, battered women, and children and victims of human trafficking. When a person can demonstrate that the refusal of a visa will result in extreme hardship to a U.S. citizen or a lawful resident’s spouse or parent, the Attorney General also can waive the unlawful presence bar to admission.
Philadelphia Visa Petition Lawyers at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC Assist Individuals with Visa Applications
If you or a loved one needs assistance with visa applications, the experienced Philadelphia visa petition lawyers at the Law Offices of MC Law Group, LLC are ready to assist you. Call us today to schedule a confidential initial consultation at 215-496-0690 or contact us online. Located in Philadelphia, we proudly serve clients from Pennsylvania and New Jersey.