In everyday conversation, it is common to use the term “visa” to refer to your ability to enter, work and reside in a country. This raises the question of what will happen if you use a visa to enter the United States and the document expires while you are still in the country.
It is easy to assume that “visa” and “status” refer to the same privileges. By understanding the different purposes of a visa and your immigration status, you can prepare yourself for what might happen next if your visa expires while you are still in the U.S.
Will you have to leave the country if your visa expires?
In reality, a visa is only an entry document that you use to legally enter the country. The U.S. Department of State explains that if your visa expires, it only means that you cannot use that same document to once again enter the country. If your visa expires while you are in the United States, you will not have to leave the country as long as your status is still valid.
What is the difference between a visa and status?
Unlike a visa, your status more specifically refers to your rights and responsibilities based on the circumstances under which you are entering the country. When you enter the United States, you receive a stamp in your passport that shows your immigration status and the expiration date of that status.
Even if your visa expires, you may continue to reside in the U.S. as long as your status is active and you continue to follow all immigration regulations. If you intend to leave and re-enter the country, however, you will need to renew your visa.