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Applying for a Green Card After a Visa Overstay in the U.S.

September 13th, 2023

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    If you are still in the United States after the expiration of the electronic I-94 issued by CBP (Customs and Border Protection Agency) upon your entry, you will have overstayed your visa status and you may be considered as unlawfully present in the U.S.  This can raise significant challenges when applying for a Green Card.

    The U.S. government does not offer many options for permanent residency after a visa overstay, and depending on the duration of the over-stay, it could prevent an individual from being eligible to apply for a Green Card at all. In most cases, visa holders who have overstayed will need to leave the U.S. and apply for a Green Card at a U.S. Consulate.  Of course, this limitation does not apply to all categories of Legal Permanent Residency (Green Card Status).  For example, beneficiaries of an “immediate relative” I-30 petition, which are spouses of a U.S. citizen, single children of a U.S. citizen who are under 21 years old, and the parents of U.S. citizens who are over 21 years old; all may obtain Green Cards in the U.S., even if they have overstayed their visa status.

    There are several other categories of individuals who are exempt from this unlawful presence restriction, which include asylees, U visa holders (victims of certain crimes), SIJs (Special Immigrant Juveniles), T visa holders (Victims of human trafficking), individuals applying for VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) benefits or those who have a VAWA petition that was granted, as well as several others.

    For a case consultation with our experienced Green Card immigration lawyers, contact the FitzGerald Law Company today at (617) 303-2600.

    Unlawful Presence and Inadmissibility after a Visa Overstay

    Unlawful presence is the period of time when you are in the United States without being admitted or paroled in addition to any time when you do not have specific authorization to stay or when you have overstayed your authorization.  If you have been in the United States unlawfully for more than 180 days but less than a year during a single stay, you will generally be found inadmissible, unless an exception applies, if you attempt to re-enter within 3 years.  Similarly, if you have been in the United States unlawfully for one year or more during a single stay, you will generally be found inadmissible if you attempt to re-enter within 10 years. If you have accrued more than one year of unlawful presence during one or more stays in the United States and try to re-enter without being admitted or paroled, you may be permanently barred from entering the country, although some exceptions may apply in certain cases.

    The Three-Year Unlawful Presence Ground of Inadmissibility

    If you are not a lawful permanent resident of the United States and you have accrued more than 180 days, but less than one year of unlawful presence during a single stay in the U.S. on or after April 1, 1997, then you may be “inadmissible” which means you are ineligible for a change of status in the U.S. or to obtain legal permanent residency, or admission to the U.S. until you have been outside the U.S. for 3 years, unless an exception applies.

    The 10-Year Unlawful Presence Ground of Inadmissibility

    If you are not a lawful permanent resident of the United States and you have accrued more than one year of unlawful presence, during a single stay in the U.S. on or after April 1, 1997, then you may be “inadmissible” which means you are ineligible for a change of status in the U.S. or to obtain legal permanent residency, or admission to the U.S. until you have been outside the U.S. for 10 years, unless an exception applies.

    If an Unlawful Presence Ground of Inadmissibility Applies to You

    Whether an unlawful presence ground of inadmissibility applies to you depends on the immigration benefit you are seeking and whether the law may exempt you from the ground of inadmissibility.

    If you are inadmissible due to an “unlawful presence” ground of inadmissibility, you generally cannot obtain a visa from the U.S. Department of State, enter the United States at a port of entry, or obtain an immigration benefit such as adjustment of status (Green Card), or change the status of a non-immigrant visa in the United States, without first obtaining a waiver of inadmissibility.

    There are several forms of waivers and relief that can be helpful. These include Form I-192, a nonimmigrant visa waiver application, Form I-601 for a waiver of grounds of inadmissibility which can be filed with USCIS, an Immigration Court, or with a USCIS office at a U.S. Consulate, and Form I-601A for a provisional unlawful presence waiver, which must be filed in the U.S.

    Applying for a Green Card Through Family After a Visa Overstay

    One of the only ways to apply for a Green Card after a visa overstay is through a family member who is a U.S. citizen, this includes spouses and in certain situations parents or children.  You may qualify for residency after overstaying your visa if your parent is a U.S. citizen and you are single and under 21 years old.

    You may also qualify if you have a child who is a citizen and who is over 21 years old.  It is important to note a stepchild qualifies as your child for immigration purposes.

    Waivers and Extreme Hardship

    Most waivers, including waivers for over-staying a visa, require that the individual have a spouse or parent with Legal Permanent Residency status or U.S. citizenship, who would suffer an extreme hardship if the waiver was not approved, and the individual could not live in the United States.

    This hardship must be more than the normal hardship that results from a deportation, like the separation from family, lower standard of living, lower wages, and educational services in a different language.  The hardship should be based on a physical health condition, a mental health issue, or educational disabilities, and should not be solely based on the individual’s immigration status.

    Our Green Card Immigration Lawyers Can Help

    Call FitzGerald Law Company today at (617) 303-2600 so our Green Card immigration attorneys can give you a legal assessment of you case.

    Client Reviews and Testimonials

    See all reviews or organize them by website!

    I really like that they speak so many languages and can help anyone!

    FitzGerald Law Company recently handled my immigration case for me and everything turned out great! The staff is excellent all the way from the secretary and assistant all the way up to the attorney. My attorney was Desmond Fitzgerald himself and he was excellent.

    Swarsatie R.

    They have been very supportive and professional

    My family and I have had an excellent experience with Desmond and his team at FitzGerald Law Company. They have been very supportive and professional, addressing our every concern. I feel fortunate to have found them and worked with them on my son's immigration case.

    Yoseph A.

    Highly recommend their services

    My husband and I reached out to FitzGerald Law Company, and we can only speak very highly of them. Very professional & reliable. I want to say big thanks to Desmond and Zrinka, who helped us throughout my immigration process. Highly recommend their services!

    Natasha A.

    They are on top of everything

    The Fitzgerald team is great and ready to help. They provide accurate information and never give a false picture of one's situation. They are on top of everything and work with you. The team are very thorough at what they do. I would highly recommend their legal services.

    Patricia M.

    They helped me with a personal injury case

    Highly recommend Mr Desmond Fitzgerald and his team. They helped me with a personal injury case. He was realistic about outcomes and professional and came through for me.

    Garo M.

    Experienced, professional, and caring

    It was a great pleasure to have Mr. FitzGerald as my attorney. He was always there when I needed him. He is experienced, professional, and caring. I would recommend his services to anyone. I greatly appreciate what he did for me and would like to take the chance to express my gratitude to his hard work. Thank you very much Mr. FitzGerald. You'r the best...

    Ahmed B.

    I really like that they speak so many languages and can help anyone!

    FitzGerald Law Company recently handled my immigration case for me and everything turned out great! The staff is excellent all the way from the secretary and assistant all the way up to the attorney. My attorney was Desmond Fitzgerald himself and he was excellent.

    Swarsatie R.

    They have been very supportive and professional

    My family and I have had an excellent experience with Desmond and his team at FitzGerald Law Company. They have been very supportive and professional, addressing our every concern. I feel fortunate to have found them and worked with them on my son's immigration case.

    Yoseph A.

    Highly recommend their services

    My husband and I reached out to FitzGerald Law Company, and we can only speak very highly of them. Very professional & reliable. I want to say big thanks to Desmond and Zrinka, who helped us throughout my immigration process. Highly recommend their services!

    Natasha A.

    They are on top of everything

    The Fitzgerald team is great and ready to help. They provide accurate information and never give a false picture of one's situation. They are on top of everything and work with you. The team are very thorough at what they do. I would highly recommend their legal services.

    Patricia M.

    A very well organized firm, experienced and professional.

    My experience was exceptionally great. A very well organized firm, experienced and professional. Customer service was excellent and the lawyer that handled my case, Desmond Fitzgerald was the best. He was very thorough and very experienced. He knows what he's talking about. All in all, I had a positive experience and I highly recommend this company, especially Desmond Fitzgerald, he's awesome.

    Mike A.

    They helped me with a personal injury case

    Highly recommend Mr Desmond Fitzgerald and his team. They helped me with a personal injury case. He was realistic about outcomes and professional and came through for me.

    Garo M.

    Experienced, professional, and caring

    It was a great pleasure to have Mr. FitzGerald as my attorney. He was always there when I needed him. He is experienced, professional, and caring. I would recommend his services to anyone. I greatly appreciate what he did for me and would like to take the chance to express my gratitude to his hard work. Thank you very much Mr. FitzGerald. You'r the best...

    Ahmed B.

    Very professional and dedicated a lot of time to my case

    Very professional and dedicated a lot of time to my case...kept me in the know throughout the whole process. I definitely recommend FitzGerald Law Company to anyone looking for representation in a court case. Thank you Desmond and the entire team.

    James K.

    He explained things in a way that was easily understandable and things went smoothly

    Mr Desmond and his team did a remarkable job in immigration for my family and I. He explained things in a way that was easily understandable and things went smoothly. Highly recommended

    Gassim F.

    They made the process very smooth and pleasant

    Desmond and his team did a great job during my husband’s green card application. Very diligent, reliable and knowledgeable. They made the process very smooth and pleasant. Highly recommended!

    Karol S.

    The team is wonderful, efficient and very helpful/ professional

    The best lawfirm in Massachusetts. The team is wonderful, efficient and very helpful/ professional.

    Zulia O.

    Very professional and dedicated a lot of time to my case

    Very professional and dedicated a lot of time to my case...kept me in the know throughout the whole process. I definitely recommend FitzGerald Law Company to anyone looking for representation in a court case. Thank you Desmond and the entire team.

    James K.

    He explained things in a way that was easily understandable and things went smoothly

    Mr Desmond and his team did a remarkable job in immigration for my family and I. He explained things in a way that was easily understandable and things went smoothly. Highly recommended

    Gassim F.

    They made the process very smooth and pleasant

    Desmond and his team did a great job during my husband’s green card application. Very diligent, reliable and knowledgeable. They made the process very smooth and pleasant. Highly recommended!

    Karol S.

    The team is wonderful, efficient and very helpful/ professional

    The best lawfirm in Massachusetts. The team is wonderful, efficient and very helpful/ professional.

    Zulia O.

    They make the process as simple as possible

    Our experience with the FitzGerald Law Company is beyond positive. They make the process as simple as possible and are there to help and support the entire time. Everyone we've been in touch from their office was nice and helpful. We won the case and we would definitely use their services again. Thank you Juan & the team!

    Anonymous for Firm

    They put in a lot of time into my case all the while keeping me informed of any and all developments

    A very professional and committed team...They put in a lot of time into my case all the while keeping me informed of any and all developments. I definitely recommend FitzGerald Law Company to anyone seeking legal representation. Thank you Desmond and the entire team.

    Anonymous for Firm

    Highly recommend their services

    My husband and I reached out to FitzGerald Law Company, and we can only speak very highly of them. Very professional & reliable. I want to say big thanks to Desmond and Zrinka, who helped us throughout my immigration process. Highly recommend their services!

    Anonymous for Firm

    They are on top of everything

    The Fitzgerald team is great and ready to help. They provide accurate information and never give a false picture of one's situation. They are on top of everything and work with you. The team are very thorough at what they do. I would highly recommend their legal services.

    Anonymous for Firm

    I was very happy working with them and will be happy to work with them again

    The lawyer did an excellent job, it was really wonderful and inspiring to have him as a lawyer, he truly handled my case and everything went as expected. They always call or sent me an email to inform me the progress of my case, I am always feel welcomed when I meet with them. I was very happy working with them and will be happy to work with them again in the future.

    Anonymous for Firm

    I would definitely recommend Desmond and FitzGerald & Company to anyone looking for a professional, trustful immigration lawyer

    Desmond FitzGerald and his staff handles the daunting immigration legal paperwork with the utmost professionalism but always keeping the experience personal and realistic. I always felt that that I mattered. FitzGerald & Company has many payment options and they work with you to set up a payment plan which is affordable. {para}I would definitely recommend Desmond and FitzGerald & Company to anyone looking for a professional, trustful immigration lawyer.

    Anonymous for Firm

    They make the process as simple as possible

    Our experience with the FitzGerald Law Company is beyond positive. They make the process as simple as possible and are there to help and support the entire time. Everyone we've been in touch from their office was nice and helpful. We won the case and we would definitely use their services again. Thank you Juan & the team!

    Anonymous for Firm

    They put in a lot of time into my case all the while keeping me informed of any and all developments

    A very professional and committed team...They put in a lot of time into my case all the while keeping me informed of any and all developments. I definitely recommend FitzGerald Law Company to anyone seeking legal representation. Thank you Desmond and the entire team.

    Anonymous for Firm

    Highly recommend their services

    My husband and I reached out to FitzGerald Law Company, and we can only speak very highly of them. Very professional & reliable. I want to say big thanks to Desmond and Zrinka, who helped us throughout my immigration process. Highly recommend their services!

    Anonymous for Firm

    They are on top of everything

    The Fitzgerald team is great and ready to help. They provide accurate information and never give a false picture of one's situation. They are on top of everything and work with you. The team are very thorough at what they do. I would highly recommend their legal services.

    Anonymous for Firm

    I was very happy working with them and will be happy to work with them again

    The lawyer did an excellent job, it was really wonderful and inspiring to have him as a lawyer, he truly handled my case and everything went as expected. They always call or sent me an email to inform me the progress of my case, I am always feel welcomed when I meet with them. I was very happy working with them and will be happy to work with them again in the future.

    Anonymous for Firm

    I would definitely recommend Desmond and FitzGerald & Company to anyone looking for a professional, trustful immigration lawyer

    Desmond FitzGerald and his staff handles the daunting immigration legal paperwork with the utmost professionalism but always keeping the experience personal and realistic. I always felt that that I mattered. FitzGerald & Company has many payment options and they work with you to set up a payment plan which is affordable. {para}I would definitely recommend Desmond and FitzGerald & Company to anyone looking for a professional, trustful immigration lawyer.

    Anonymous for Firm

    I really like that they speak so many languages and can help anyone!

    FitzGerald Law Company recently handled my immigration case for me and everything turned out great! The staff is excellent all the way from the secretary and assistant all the way up to the attorney. My attorney was Desmond Fitzgerald himself and he was excellent.

    Swarsatie R.

    They have been very supportive and professional

    My family and I have had an excellent experience with Desmond and his team at FitzGerald Law Company. They have been very supportive and professional, addressing our every concern. I feel fortunate to have found them and worked with them on my son's immigration case.

    Yoseph A.

    Highly recommend their services

    My husband and I reached out to FitzGerald Law Company, and we can only speak very highly of them. Very professional & reliable. I want to say big thanks to Desmond and Zrinka, who helped us throughout my immigration process. Highly recommend their services!

    Natasha A.

    They are on top of everything

    The Fitzgerald team is great and ready to help. They provide accurate information and never give a false picture of one's situation. They are on top of everything and work with you. The team are very thorough at what they do. I would highly recommend their legal services.

    Patricia M.

    A very well organized firm, experienced and professional.

    My experience was exceptionally great. A very well organized firm, experienced and professional. Customer service was excellent and the lawyer that handled my case, Desmond Fitzgerald was the best. He was very thorough and very experienced. He knows what he's talking about. All in all, I had a positive experience and I highly recommend this company, especially Desmond Fitzgerald, he's awesome.

    Mike A.

    They helped me with a personal injury case

    Highly recommend Mr Desmond Fitzgerald and his team. They helped me with a personal injury case. He was realistic about outcomes and professional and came through for me.

    Garo M.

    Experienced, professional, and caring

    It was a great pleasure to have Mr. FitzGerald as my attorney. He was always there when I needed him. He is experienced, professional, and caring. I would recommend his services to anyone. I greatly appreciate what he did for me and would like to take the chance to express my gratitude to his hard work. Thank you very much Mr. FitzGerald. You'r the best...

    Ahmed B.

    Very professional and dedicated a lot of time to my case

    Very professional and dedicated a lot of time to my case...kept me in the know throughout the whole process. I definitely recommend FitzGerald Law Company to anyone looking for representation in a court case. Thank you Desmond and the entire team.

    James K.

    He explained things in a way that was easily understandable and things went smoothly

    Mr Desmond and his team did a remarkable job in immigration for my family and I. He explained things in a way that was easily understandable and things went smoothly. Highly recommended

    Gassim F.

    They made the process very smooth and pleasant

    Desmond and his team did a great job during my husband’s green card application. Very diligent, reliable and knowledgeable. They made the process very smooth and pleasant. Highly recommended!

    Karol S.

    The team is wonderful, efficient and very helpful/ professional

    The best lawfirm in Massachusetts. The team is wonderful, efficient and very helpful/ professional.

    Zulia O.

    They make the process as simple as possible

    Our experience with the FitzGerald Law Company is beyond positive. They make the process as simple as possible and are there to help and support the entire time. Everyone we've been in touch from their office was nice and helpful. We won the case and we would definitely use their services again. Thank you Juan & the team!

    Anonymous for Firm

    They put in a lot of time into my case all the while keeping me informed of any and all developments

    A very professional and committed team...They put in a lot of time into my case all the while keeping me informed of any and all developments. I definitely recommend FitzGerald Law Company to anyone seeking legal representation. Thank you Desmond and the entire team.

    Anonymous for Firm

    Highly recommend their services

    My husband and I reached out to FitzGerald Law Company, and we can only speak very highly of them. Very professional & reliable. I want to say big thanks to Desmond and Zrinka, who helped us throughout my immigration process. Highly recommend their services!

    Anonymous for Firm

    They are on top of everything

    The Fitzgerald team is great and ready to help. They provide accurate information and never give a false picture of one's situation. They are on top of everything and work with you. The team are very thorough at what they do. I would highly recommend their legal services.

    Anonymous for Firm

    I was very happy working with them and will be happy to work with them again

    The lawyer did an excellent job, it was really wonderful and inspiring to have him as a lawyer, he truly handled my case and everything went as expected. They always call or sent me an email to inform me the progress of my case, I am always feel welcomed when I meet with them. I was very happy working with them and will be happy to work with them again in the future.

    Anonymous for Firm

    I would definitely recommend Desmond and FitzGerald & Company to anyone looking for a professional, trustful immigration lawyer

    Desmond FitzGerald and his staff handles the daunting immigration legal paperwork with the utmost professionalism but always keeping the experience personal and realistic. I always felt that that I mattered. FitzGerald & Company has many payment options and they work with you to set up a payment plan which is affordable. {para}I would definitely recommend Desmond and FitzGerald & Company to anyone looking for a professional, trustful immigration lawyer.

    Anonymous for Firm

    I really like that they speak so many languages and can help anyone!

    FitzGerald Law Company recently handled my immigration case for me and everything turned out great! The staff is excellent all the way from the secretary and assistant all the way up to the attorney. My attorney was Desmond Fitzgerald himself and he was excellent.

    Swarsatie R.

    They have been very supportive and professional

    My family and I have had an excellent experience with Desmond and his team at FitzGerald Law Company. They have been very supportive and professional, addressing our every concern. I feel fortunate to have found them and worked with them on my son's immigration case.

    Yoseph A.

    Highly recommend their services

    My husband and I reached out to FitzGerald Law Company, and we can only speak very highly of them. Very professional & reliable. I want to say big thanks to Desmond and Zrinka, who helped us throughout my immigration process. Highly recommend their services!

    Natasha A.

    They are on top of everything

    The Fitzgerald team is great and ready to help. They provide accurate information and never give a false picture of one's situation. They are on top of everything and work with you. The team are very thorough at what they do. I would highly recommend their legal services.

    Patricia M.

    A very well organized firm, experienced and professional.

    My experience was exceptionally great. A very well organized firm, experienced and professional. Customer service was excellent and the lawyer that handled my case, Desmond Fitzgerald was the best. He was very thorough and very experienced. He knows what he's talking about. All in all, I had a positive experience and I highly recommend this company, especially Desmond Fitzgerald, he's awesome.

    Mike A.

    They helped me with a personal injury case

    Highly recommend Mr Desmond Fitzgerald and his team. They helped me with a personal injury case. He was realistic about outcomes and professional and came through for me.

    Garo M.

    Experienced, professional, and caring

    It was a great pleasure to have Mr. FitzGerald as my attorney. He was always there when I needed him. He is experienced, professional, and caring. I would recommend his services to anyone. I greatly appreciate what he did for me and would like to take the chance to express my gratitude to his hard work. Thank you very much Mr. FitzGerald. You'r the best...

    Ahmed B.

    Very professional and dedicated a lot of time to my case

    Very professional and dedicated a lot of time to my case...kept me in the know throughout the whole process. I definitely recommend FitzGerald Law Company to anyone looking for representation in a court case. Thank you Desmond and the entire team.

    James K.

    He explained things in a way that was easily understandable and things went smoothly

    Mr Desmond and his team did a remarkable job in immigration for my family and I. He explained things in a way that was easily understandable and things went smoothly. Highly recommended

    Gassim F.

    They made the process very smooth and pleasant

    Desmond and his team did a great job during my husband’s green card application. Very diligent, reliable and knowledgeable. They made the process very smooth and pleasant. Highly recommended!

    Karol S.

    The team is wonderful, efficient and very helpful/ professional

    The best lawfirm in Massachusetts. The team is wonderful, efficient and very helpful/ professional.

    Zulia O.

    They make the process as simple as possible

    Our experience with the FitzGerald Law Company is beyond positive. They make the process as simple as possible and are there to help and support the entire time. Everyone we've been in touch from their office was nice and helpful. We won the case and we would definitely use their services again. Thank you Juan & the team!

    Anonymous for Firm

    They put in a lot of time into my case all the while keeping me informed of any and all developments

    A very professional and committed team...They put in a lot of time into my case all the while keeping me informed of any and all developments. I definitely recommend FitzGerald Law Company to anyone seeking legal representation. Thank you Desmond and the entire team.

    Anonymous for Firm

    Highly recommend their services

    My husband and I reached out to FitzGerald Law Company, and we can only speak very highly of them. Very professional & reliable. I want to say big thanks to Desmond and Zrinka, who helped us throughout my immigration process. Highly recommend their services!

    Anonymous for Firm

    They are on top of everything

    The Fitzgerald team is great and ready to help. They provide accurate information and never give a false picture of one's situation. They are on top of everything and work with you. The team are very thorough at what they do. I would highly recommend their legal services.

    Anonymous for Firm

    I was very happy working with them and will be happy to work with them again

    The lawyer did an excellent job, it was really wonderful and inspiring to have him as a lawyer, he truly handled my case and everything went as expected. They always call or sent me an email to inform me the progress of my case, I am always feel welcomed when I meet with them. I was very happy working with them and will be happy to work with them again in the future.

    Anonymous for Firm

    I would definitely recommend Desmond and FitzGerald & Company to anyone looking for a professional, trustful immigration lawyer

    Desmond FitzGerald and his staff handles the daunting immigration legal paperwork with the utmost professionalism but always keeping the experience personal and realistic. I always felt that that I mattered. FitzGerald & Company has many payment options and they work with you to set up a payment plan which is affordable. {para}I would definitely recommend Desmond and FitzGerald & Company to anyone looking for a professional, trustful immigration lawyer.

    Anonymous for Firm