I did not know that there was a difference between the "admitted until" date and the length of my visa.

Question:

I am citizen of the People’s Republic of China. I arrived in the United States on a one-year B2 tourist visa. At the time of my admission, the immigration officer stamped my passport with a length of stay of six (6) months, but the stamp was partially cut off. As a result, I did no know that I was only allowed to remain in the United States for up to six months and not the full length of the visa. Unfortunately, I have remained in the United States for four (4) months beyond my designated length of stay.

Is there anything I can do to correct my situation? I did not intend to remain in the United States beyond the time I was given (which I thought was one year). 

Answer:

I-94, Arrival-Departure Record

Thank you for your question. Please contact our office as soon as possible, so we can review your I-94, Arrival-Departure Record. Your I-94 provides the date that you are required to leave the United States. As you are now aware, the length of stay is different from the duration of your visa. You obtain your visa through the Department of State, however Customs and Border Protection is the agency that determines the length of your stay within the United States.

Recently, Customs and Border Protection developed a website that allows you to review and print your most recent I-94s. (If you would like to obtain information on an older or expired passport, you must conduct a inquiry on that passport). You can view your recent I-94s at the following website: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov.

Unlawful Presence

My main concern is that you may be accumulating unlawful presence. In general, a person is unlawfully present in the United States “after the expiration of the period of stay authorized by the Secretary of DHS…” Based on the amount of unlawful presence a person accumulates, he or she may be subject to certain bars that are triggered upon their departure from the United States. A person who is unlawfully present in the United States for a period of more than 180 days but less than one (1) year, who voluntarily departs before the commencement of removal proceedings, is barred from readmission for a period of three (3) years. This is referred to as the “Three-Year Bar.” Furthermore, a person who is unlawfully present in the United States for one (1) year or more consecutively and again seeks admission is barred for ten (10) years from the date of the person’s departure or removal. This is referred to as the “Ten-Year Bar.”

Please address this issue as soon as possible, as any accumulation of unlawful presence may negatively affect your ability to travel to the United States in the future, and/or your ability to remedy your situation. For example, applying for an extension of stay (“E/S”) will be considered as long as you do not work without authorization, file an untimely or frivolous application, or fail to maintain status prior to filing the application. Thus, being out of status will not allow for you to file for an extension of your stay.

It appears that your case requires immediate attention, so I strongly encourage you to contact are office of another local immigration attorney as soon as possible. Good Luck.