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I'm currently on a lease in the United States along with my fiance. Both our names are on the lease. I will leave the United States (because of visa expiration) before my lease term is up. My fiance will continue to live there until the end of the lease.

I have no problem continuing to pay for my part, but would having my name still on the lease when I'm supposed to leave the United States (and have no legal status to be in the United States) be illegal?

Should I ask for my name to be removed from the lease and leave just my fiance's name on it?

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You should be aware, if you are not already, that it is not necessary to have a valid visa to remain in the US. The visa only needs to be valid when you enter the US, whereupon you are given a period of authorized stay by the immigration officer. That date may be written or stamped into your passport, and it will be on your I-94 form, This I-94 form is normally a database record available at the CBP site, but sometimes it is an actual piece of paper, especially if you have extended your stay by application to USCIS.

In any event, as long as you leave the US before the expiration of the authorized period of stay shown on your most recent I-94 form, there's no violation of US immigration law, since you're not actually in the US.

(You have reminded me in a comment that there is another circumstance under which it is necessary for a nonimmigrant to leave the US, which is falling out of status. The details vary depending on the specific status and the reason for falling out of it; sometimes there is a grace period and sometimes there is not.)

One tenant moving out of a jointly leased residence may have some consequences for the validity of the lease, or for its renewal, depending on the jurisdiction. To know for sure, you would need to look into the laws governing residential leases in the relevant jurisdiction. If the lease is in New York City, at least, your fiancé can continue living in the residence and can even bring in a roommate. If your fiancé wants to continue living there after the end of the lease, the landlord can probably refuse to treat it as a lease renewal, instead concluding a new lease. If the residence is a rent-regulated apartment, this can result in a greater increase in the rent than would otherwise be allowed, potentially allowing the landlord to deregulate the apartment. Other states and cities will have different rules that may be less (or more) favorable to tenants.

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  • I'm actually on a student visa, and I'm withdrawing from my program. I have 15 days to leave the country otherwise I'd start accruing unlawful presence. Thank you for the information! – denidare Dec 3 '19 at 18:57
  • @denidare thanks for confirming. It's common for people to speak of visa expiration when they really mean the expiration (or lapsing) of a period of authorized stay, so every now and again one runs into someone with a nonimmigrant visa who is needlessly concerned about leaving before the expiration date on the visa itself. Good luck with your preparations and travels. – phoog Dec 3 '19 at 19:01

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