Question from Tom, Does Applying for Asylum After an I-94 Expiration Result in Unlawful Status in the USA?
Answer from AI:
The question of whether you are in unlawful status after applying for asylum in the United States when your I-94 has expired is complex. It’s important to understand the difference between visa expiration and I-94 expiration, as well as the implications of applying for asylum.
Understanding Visa and I-94 Expiration
Your visa is a document that allows you to travel to a port of entry in the United States and request admission. The I-94, on the other hand, is a record of your admission and indicates how long you are allowed to stay in the country.
It’s crucial to note that overstaying the period granted on your I-94 can result in being unlawfully present in the U.S. This can have serious consequences, including being barred from reentering the country for a certain period.
Applying for Asylum and Unlawful Status
When you apply for asylum, you are essentially asking the U.S. government for protection because you fear persecution in your home country. According to U.S. law, you can apply for asylum regardless of your immigration status or how you arrived in the country.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) states that applying for asylum “stops the clock” on unlawful presence for the duration of the asylum process. This means that while your asylum application is pending, you should not accrue unlawful presence.
However, this does not mean you are in a lawful immigration status. You are in what is often referred to as a “period of authorized stay.” This is a gray area where you are not accruing unlawful presence, but you are also not in a lawful status.
Legal Advice is Crucial
Given the complexity of immigration law and the serious consequences of being in unlawful status, it’s highly recommended that you consult with an immigration attorney. They can provide personalized advice based on your specific circumstances.
Remember, this information is a general guideline and does not constitute legal advice. Always consult with a legal professional for advice tailored to your situation.