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How can I legalize my status if I entered the U.S. with a valid visa but overstayed it?
When an alien is present in the U.S. beyond the expiration date of the I-94 card, the alien begins to accrue unlawful presence. This unlawful presence may be tolled in certain situations. If an alien has accrued between six months and one year of unlawful presence and subsequently leaves the U.S., the alien is barred from re-entering the U.S. for a period of three years. If an alien has accrued one year or more of unlawful presence and subsequently leaves the U.S., the alien is barred from re-entering the U.S. for a period of ten years. Certain waivers are available for the three and ten year bars. There are exceptions for children.
However, in cases where an alien has not accrued more than six months of unlawful presence and leaves the U.S., the alien has more alternatives to legalizing his status and receiving either a non-immigrant visa or permanent residency abroad. The key is to contact an experienced attorney at Saladze Law Firm immediately to minimize any negative consequences.
Programs such as TPS and 245(i) can also help an alien obtain a work permit or permanent residency in instances where the alien has overstayed the allotted time on his visa or I-94 card.
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