What If My Visa Expires and I am out of Status?
We were asked this question: What happens if I fall out of status? My visa expires? I’m still in the country? What do I have to do? Do I have to leave?
Well, it’s a very common question, and unfortunately, it’s a very common occurrence. For many reasons a person’s status, either visitor, or work study, expires and in Canada that could cause some serious problems as well as the United States.
What Happens if my Visa Expires in Canada?
Let me speak to the Canadian situation. If your status expires, for example, if you’re on a study permit or even a visitor’s status and you realize that, “Uh-oh, I’m out of status. Do I have to leave?” Well, not necessarily. You can apply for an extension or a reinstatement of your status depending upon the date of your document.
For example, if your study permit expired let’s say a month ago, you just didn’t realize it, there’s a mechanism where you can apply for a reinstatement of your status so long as it’s within 90 days. If it’s beyond 90 days, that is a real problem because you may not be able to get a reinstatement and you may have to apply for a new visa and that could require you to leave the country.
Now again, it depends on the circumstances. Every case is different. You definitely should speak to a lawyer if you are in that situation.
Reinstatement of Your Visa Status
The reinstatement could be approved or it could not be approved. You have to pay a special fee, by the way. If it is approved, you can proceed with remaining in Canada. If it’s not approved, typically you’re out of luck, and you’re going to have to leave the country and potentially reapply for reentry from overseas or outside the borders. It’s very important. The first thing you should always keep in mind is to know when your status document expires. Put it in your calendar; make sure you’re notified. There’s a lot of ways to do that online these days. Don’t rely on the government to tell you. That’s not their job and they’re not going to say, “Hey, Mr. Smith, your study permit is about to expire. You’d better apply for a new one.” That’s your responsibility. There are options.
What Happens if my Visa Expires in the US?
Now, in the United States it’s a little bit different. There are rules of overstay. There’s a three-year rule, a three-year bar rule. There’s a 180-day situation. It’s very different, so you have to speak to a U.S. attorney about your situation, about your overstay situation. We have U.S. attorneys who work at our office but it’s very important — the U.S. laws are different than the Canadian laws.
If your application, or I should say, your visa is out of status, you fall out of status, don’t automatically panic. There are definitely things that can be done. The first thing I would do is make sure you speak to someone who knows how to help you and can offer you options for you to get your situation resolved.
Hopefully, this has given you some insight into what to do. Pick up the phone and call a professional if you’re in that situation. But first and foremost, make sure you are aware, well in advance, when your status is going to expire because this way you can apply for an extension. It’s not a reinstatement situation and many times there shouldn’t be a problem.
Have You Overstayed your Visa in Canada or the U.S.?
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