A non-immigrant visa holder who is residing in the country can face severe immigration consequences if they violate their status. A violation of status can a number of things including receiving conviction for a particular crime or over-staying your visa period without filing for an extension. However, a violation of status does not automatically begin to accrue unlawful presence. Instead, the individual will be considered “out of status”, but still in a period of authorized stay. This will continue until the Department of Homeland Security or an immigration judge make a formal finding that a violation took place.
It is important to note, however, that although an individual may not be accruing unlawful presence during this time, it does not mean that they are legally residing in the United States. In fact, the term “period of authorized stay” in this context is very misleading because any foreign national who is out of status is not legally residing in the United States, and can be subject to removal proceedings and deported. That is why it is essential for an individual to use the period of authorized stay to attempt to remedy their immigration status before they begin to accrue unlawful presence and become inadmissible for future admission into the United States.