I Entered as a Tourist and Stayed in USA. What should I do?

Many foreigners arrive as tourists, however, for various reasons, they decide to try their luck and stay longer, without fully knowing the consequences they must face when doing so.

To do this, it’s important to bear in mind that, even if there are solutions in some cases, it will not always be the same for all people, so below we are going to delve into this frequent and important topic.

What can I do if I entered the USA as a tourist and stayed in the country?

The most advisable thing, if this is your case, is that you evaluate the following 2 possible alternatives, before the term of stay in the USA expires:

  1. Qualify for an extension of stay with a tourist visa.
  2. Arrangement of status through a first degree relative who is a US

Which cases does requesting an extension of your stay apply?

This solution is the most successful and can only be applied with:

  • A medical matter.
  • An impediment to flying
  • A family mishap.
  • A study opportunity.
  • A recovery.

The most important thing is that you can demonstrate that it’s still in your plans to return to your country and that this visa extension is a necessary and temporary measure.

What to do if you have already exceeded the time of stay?

Following the following steps will help improve your chances:

  • Contact an Immigration Attorney.
  • Determine eligibility for an exemption.
  • Stay on the right side of the law.
  • Be patient

What’s an exemption?

A United States visa waiver makes it possible for a person who stays longer in American territory to request that the 3 or 10-year ban be waived, however, it’s difficult to obtain, because immigrants must comply with a set particular criteria.

Who can be eligible for a visa waiver?

Immigrants who received protection from Humanitarian Programs authorized by the U.S. Congress, such as:

  • Temporary Protected Status (TPS).
  • Refugees and asylees.
  • Migrants victims of crimes who apply for the U Visa.
  • Special Youth Program (SIJ).
  • Victims of domestic abuse, petitioners for protection under the VAWA Law.
  • Migrants victims of human trafficking who request the T Visa.
  • Aliens who entered the United States before January 1, 1972.

What are the penalties for exceeding the length of stay?

Once you stay longer than your tourist visa allows, you can face serious consequences that may include:

  • Bar to change or extend status: People who remain after their authorized period of stay cannot extend their stay in United States or change their status to non-immigrant and automatically become illegal.

  • Impossibility: The law establishes that any foreigner who has stayed longer than authorized in United States must return to his country of nationality to obtain a new visa.

  • Inadmissibility: Individuals who remain in United States after their authorized stay has expired for more than 180 days, but less than 1 year, and who leave the country before removal proceedings begin, are prohibited from re-entering the United States for 3 years from your departure date.

  • The 10-year ban: People who remain in United States after their authorized stay has expired for more than 1 year and leave the country before deportation proceedings begin, are barred from reentering for 10 years from the date of departure.

  • Cancellation of the Visa: Immigration laws are very strict in the interpretation and application of this provision, so any foreigner who exceeds the period of stay will have their visa automatically canceled.


As we have already seen, exceeding the time granted by your Tourist Visa can have serious repercussions that can be mitigated with legal help. Without the assistance of a legal expert, a person with an expired visa may face consequences that could have been avoided. Time is of the essence and the process for obtaining an exemption is crucial.

Don’t hesitate to get the legal help you need. Contact us by calling 1 (786) 776-7152 or 1 (786) 786-5088.

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