It is important to preface this article with the fact that the scenario is something we have seen only a handful of times. However, it is concerning and has potentially major repercussions and is worth making people aware of before it impacts them.
The issue we are seeing from reading CBP transcripts, and talking with individuals impacted, is that, in these specific instances, B visas are being “revoked” after there has been an overstay. While it is not uncommon for the Department of State (DoS) to revoke a visa due to an overstay when the I-94 expires, this often does not happen for nonimmigrant visas where an extension is timely filed with USCIS. However, for these specific B visas, revocation is happening even if the non-immigrant has done everything right and applied for a B visa extension through USCIS or sought to change status to another nonimmigrant status. In typical circumstances, a non-immigrant is lawfully present, although technically out status, when they file an extension of status prior to the expiration. In most nonimmigrant visa situations, this does not get viewed as an overstay, as there has been a timely extension, and thus does not result in a revoked visa. However, this is not the case for B visas. Worse yet, in this limited circumstances people are not being properly informed by DoS that their B visa has been revoked.
In recent months, our firm has seen a few people who have attempted to come into the country with a B visa that is valid on its face and the individual had not been notified of the B visa revocation, only to be turned away and put into expedited removal by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) at the port of entry. Expedited removals can include a ban of multiple years and most commonly come with a 5 year bar from entry into the United States. In at least one situation, the individual was ruled inadmissible under INA Section 212(a)(7)(A)(i)(I) for not having a valid unexpired visa. The waivers for both expedited removal and inadmissibility under INA 212(a)(7)(A)(i)(I) are limited and could be difficult to obtain.
At this time, we do not believe this is a widespread problem, however, it is something people who have “overstayed” their B visa need to be cautious of prior to coming into the US on a B visa that may have been previously revoked. If you believe you may be someone who could potentially face this issue, it may be worth applying for a new B visa to be safe.
If you believe you may be in this situation, or have already been impacted by CBP in this scenario, it is important to contact a qualified immigration attorney to discuss your options.
Steven earned his J.D. from South Texas College of Law in May 2016. Prior to joining Reddy & Neumann, Steven gained valuable litigation experience as a volunteer attorney with the Consumer Protection Division of the Texas Attorney General. Steven prides himself in being able to provide his clients with creative solutions to complex immigration problems.