Understanding Your Legal Status in the US: A Comprehensive Guide

Legal status is a term that refers to the legal standing of an individual or entity as determined by law. It encompasses a set of rights, duties, powers, and restrictions that are declared or contemplated by law. In the context of immigration law, it is the name of the category of visa that has been assigned to a person and the group of privileges received when becoming a permanent resident or non-immigrant (holder of a temporary visa). It is essential to comprehend and adhere to the terms of your visa during your stay in the United States.

A violation of immigration regulations (for example, unauthorized work) could have serious repercussions. This page provides general guidance on how to maintain your legal status in the US. You can find specific visa guidance on our specific visa pages. When your UW-sponsored visa status ends, you should plan to depart from the US unless you have changed to another visa status.

Some visas sponsored by the University of Washington may have a grace period that allows you to stay in the US beyond the end date of your visa status; see your visa type page for that information. At the end of your visa, the status of your visa can have serious legal consequences, such as deportation, a ban on returning, and ineligibility for some immigration benefits. It is important to be aware of these potential consequences and plan accordingly.

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