I-94 过期或延期被拒,在美国逾期或非法滞留的后果

【摘要】请注意逾期逗留(overstay)和非法停留(unlawful presence)的区别。

I-94 过期且延期未批复 = 灰色身份

  • I-94 到期之后,你的合法身份(legal status)自动结束,不管是否有 pending case。
  • 不过,只要延期尚未批复,USCIS 并不认为你现在是 unlawful presence,这个概念下面会讲。
  • 或者可以说,在移民局看来,你现在的身份既不合法、也不违法,处于灰色地带。
  • 因为你合法身份已经结束,即使你有 pending case,理论上来说国土安全部也可以驱逐你。

USCIS 官网这里这里对此都有说明:

What if I file for an extension of stay on time but USCIS doesn’t make a decision before my I–94 expires?

Your lawful nonimmigrant status ends, and you are out of status, when your Form I-94 expires, even if you have timely applied to extend your nonimmigrant status. Generally, as a matter of discretion, USCIS will defer any removal proceedings until after the petition is adjudicated and USCIS decides your request for extension of nonimmigrant status. Nevertheless, DHS may bring a removal proceeding against you, even if you have an application for extension of status pending.

E/H/L 等工作签证,如果延期申请还在「pending」状态,Legal Status 过期之后还可以继续工作最长 240 天。请注意,如果你等到 I-94 到期之后才申请延期,因为你提交申请时没有合法身份,你的申请会被拒绝。

在 I-94 过期之前离开美国

不管申请状态如何,你都可以在 I-94 过期之前离开美国。假如你的 I-94 是到 3 月 1 日,以下 3 种选择都合法:

  1. 移民局 2 月中旬批准了你的申请,但是你因为计划变动已经离开了美国。
  2. 移民局 2 月中旬拒绝了你的申请,你在 3 月 1 日前离开了美国。
  3. 到 2 月底你的申请还是 pending,你不想冒风险于是在 3 月 1 日前离开了美国。

简单地说,你的申请状态并不影响你之前已经批准的合法身份。

逾期逗留的后果

如果延期被拒、但是你如期离开了美国,上面已经说过了:没有关系。反之,如果你的 I-94 过期的时候延期申请还在处理、最后被拒绝了,就会麻烦一些:

  • 自 I-94 过期之后,你停留的每一天都是「逾期滞留」(overstay)。举例来说,你的 I-94 在 3 月 1 日到期,而 USCIS 直到 5 月 1 日才拒绝你的申请,你从 3 月 1 日起的每一天都是 overstay;从 5 月 1 日起的每一天都是「非法停留」(unlawful presence)。
  • 申请被拒之后需要立刻离境。当然,国际旅行不是说走就走,就算你愿意航班也不一定有座。一般来说,收到据信以后要尽快定机票安排行程,停留最好不超过 2 星期。
  • 你的签证自动失效。就算你之前拿的是 10 年多次往返签证,也需要重新申请。
  • 你以后必须回母国申请签证,不能去第三国(如加拿大)申请,参见这篇文章解释
  • 你再次申请签证可能无法免面签。你应该保留延期申请的收据和拒信,向签证官证明,你在 I-94 过期之后的大部分时间只是 overstay,并不是 unlawful presence。
  • 若你在申请被拒之后还在美国非法停留很多天,你可能还需要向签证官解释为什么。

Overstay 与 Unlawful Presence

上面提到了「逾期逗留」overstay 和「非法停留」unlawful presence 两个概念。二者的区别在于,unlawful presence 性质更严重、有明确的法律后果

  • 根据 INA section 212(a)(9)(B)(i),非法停留 180 天以上,3 年内禁止入境。
  • 非法停留 365 天以上,10 年内禁止入境(inadmissible)。
  • 然而,案件 pending 期间,即使 I-94 过期也只算 overstay,不算 unlawful presence。

以上信息可参考 INA section 212(a)(9)(B)(i) 第 13 条,Aliens Unlawfully Present。USCIS 官网这里这里的回复也明确说了:[…] you do not accrue “unlawful presence” for purposes of inadmissibility under section 212(a)(9)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, while your extension of status application is pending if it was filed prior to the expiration of your Form I-94.

USCIS 在另一处也有专门解释: As discussed in chapters 40.9.2(b)(2) and 40.9.2(b)(3) of the AFM , there are situations in which an alien who is present in an unlawful status nevertheless does not accrue unlawful presence. As a matter of prosecutorial discretion, DHS may permit an alien who is present in the United States unlawfully, but who has pending an application that stops the accrual of unlawful presence, to remain in the United States while that application is pending. In this sense, the alien’s remaining can be said to be “authorized.” However, the fact that the alien does not accrue unlawful presence does not mean that the alien’s presence in the United States is actually lawful.

USCIS 官网甚至举了两个例子来解释

Example 1

An alien is admitted as a nonimmigrant, with a Form I-94 that expires on January 1, 2009. The alien remains in the United States after the Form I-94 expires. The alien’s status becomes unlawful, and she begins to accrue unlawful presence, on January 2, 2009. On May 10, 2009, the alien properly files an application for adjustment of status.

The filing of the adjustment application stops the accrual of unlawful presence. But it does not “restore” the alien to a substantively lawful immigration status. She is still amenable to removal as a deportable alien under section 237(a)(1)(C) of the Act because she has remained after the expiration of her nonimmigrant admission.

Example 2

An alien is admitted as a nonimmigrant, with a Form I-94 that expires on January 1, 2009. On October 5, 2008, he properly files an application for adjustment of status. He does not, however, file any application to extend his nonimmigrant stay, which expires on January 1, 2009. The adjustment of status application is still pending on January 2, 2009.

On January 2, 2009, he becomes subject to removal as a deportable alien under section 237(a)(1)(C) of the Act because he has remained after the expiration of his nonimmigrant admission. For purposes of future inadmissibility, however, the pending adjustment application protects him from the accrual of unlawful presence.

因此,只要你在 I-94 过期之前及时提交了延期申请,哪怕 I-94 过期之后你的申请被拒绝了,也不用太担心:你只是 overstay 而已,赶紧买机票回国就行了,不至于 3 年内 inadmissible。举例来说:

  • 你的 I-94 在 3 月 1 日过期,你在 1 月 1 日提交了申请,希望延期到 9 月 1 日。
  • 移民局 8 月 25 日拒绝了你的申请;你收到据信之后,于 9 月 1 日离开美国。

因为你的延期申请被拒,所以你 3 月 1 日到 9 月 1 日都是 overstay;但是你的 unlawful presence 只是 8 月 25-9 月 1 日,远远不足 180 天,因此不会导致 3 年内 inadmissible。

已经回国了还没批复怎么算?

近两年来,USCIS 处理速度很慢,很多人提交申请后一直 pending、甚至申请人已经回国了还没有批复。举例来说,I-94 于 3 月 1 日到期,原定延期到 6 月 1 日;1 月 1 日提交申请之后,case 一直 pending,到 6 月 1 日申请人已经按计划回国了,case 还在 pending。这怎么算呢?

「逾期逗留签证失效」是因为 INA 222(g)

In the case of an alien who has been admitted on the basis of a nonimmigrant visa and remained in the United States beyond the period of stay authorized by the Attorney General, such visa shall be void beginning after the conclusion of such period of stay.

国务院外事手册 9 FAM 302.1-9(B)(6) 列举了哪些情形适用、或不适用该条款。

逾期逗留是否适用 INA 222 (g)
(即签证是否自动作废)

情形签证作废?
Alien admitted until specified date; maintains status; departs by date specified.不作废
Alien admitted until specified date; maintains status; departs after date specified.作废
Alien admitted until specified date; violates status; departs by date specified.不作废
Alien admitted until specified date; violates status; departs by date specified, but is found by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or the Immigration Judge (IJ) to have violated status.作废
Alien admitted until specified date; violates status; departs after date specified.作废
Alien admitted until specified date; stays beyond specified date; but granted voluntary departure (V/D).作废
Alien admitted until specified date, found by USCIS or IJ to have violated status but is granted V/D; departs prior to both date on Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record and date specified in V/D order.作废
Alien admitted for duration of status (D/S), maintains status and departs.不作废
Alien admitted for (D/S), violates status (not found in violation by USCIS or IJ).不作废
Alien admitted for (D/S), found by USCIS or IJ in violation of status.作废
Alien admitted for (D/S), found by USCIS or IJ in violation of status, granted voluntary departure.作废
Alien admitted until specified date; applies for extension or change of status within applicable time limit prior to expiration of Form I-94; remains in U.S. after date on Form I-94; and application is subsequently approved.不作废
Alien admitted until specified date; applies in timely fashion for extension or change of status, remains in U.S. after date on I-94 and application is subsequently denied.作废
Alien admitted for D/S; applies in timely fashion for extension or change of status; application is subsequently denied for reasons other than status violation.不作废
Alien admitted until specified date; submits a timely and non-frivolous application for extension or change of status; departs U.S. after expiration of Form I-94, but before a decision on the Form I-94 extension/change of status application.不作废
Alien admitted until specified date; files late application for change or extension of status; USCIS accepts late application because alien established that filing was for good cause and otherwise satisfies the requirements for retroactive application; and application is ultimately approved:不作废
Alien entered on Visa Waiver Program (VWP), on parole, without inspection, or otherwise without nonimmigrant visa, (NIV) regardless of whether alien overstays or violates status.不作废

只要你在 I-94 过期之前提交了 non-frivolous 的延期申请,并且在 case pending 期间离开,即 USCIS 尚未批准或拒绝,那么不管你离开之后 USCIS 是批准还是拒绝,都不会导致你的签证失效。但是,如果你的申请是 frivolous,则会导致签证失效。什么是 frivolous 呢?Merriam-Webster 解释:「having no sound basis」 — 无理取闹。正常、合理的延期申请应该没有这个问题。

B1/B2 签证延期申请流程与注意事项〔2022 版〕

保留 USCIS 的文件

不管是何种情形,建议申请人保留 USCIS 收据(receipt)、处理结果、以及机票等离境证明,这样不管将来是要重新面签,还是入境的时候 CBP 官员问起,你都有记录,可证明你没有 overstay、或者虽有 overstay,但是有 pending case,不属于 unlawful presence。

延期待审期间是否可以转换身份?

I-94 过期、首次延期还未批准,能申请二次延期吗?

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