Labor Immigration Law

United States Labor Immigration Law News and Analysis

Archive for May, 2012

FY2013 H-1B Numbers Update – 48,400 Regular and 17,500 Masters Cap Visas Used; H-1B Quota to be Reached Soon (May 25, 2012)

The H-1B season may be still only in its second month, but we are starting to see the end of the H-1B caps for this year.   As of May 25, 2012, USCIS has received approximately 48,400 H-1B petitions counting toward the 65,000 cap, an increase of 6,400 for the past reported week.   This suggests an increased rate of filings of approximately 6,000-7,000 regular cap cases per week.   Similarly, as of May 25, there were approximately 17,500 H-1B visas filed subject to the U.S. Masters cap (which has 20,000 limit), an increase of 1,500 for the past reported week.   This suggests a rate of filings of approximately 1,200-1,500 master’s cap cases per week.

H-1B Cap Update

This report suggests an increasing rate of filings of about 6,000-7,000 per week in the regular cap and 1,500 per week in the U.S. master’s cap.   We expect that an increasing rate of weekly filings will continue for the next couple of weeks or so, until the H-1B cap closes.

Comparison to the Last H-1B Season (FY2012)

Our office keeps detailed statistics of the previous H-1B filing seasons, and we are able to make comparisons with prior H-1B years in an effort to estimate demand and when the H-1B caps may be reached.  Considering the estimated rates of filings for the regular and master’s caps, all indications are that the cap would remain open for a few (but not more than 2-3) more weeks.  Please note that historically, the rate of H-1B filings increases towards the end of the H-1B cap.

H-1B Cap Comparison

Based on this information, and anticipating notable increase in the rate of filings, we anticipate that this year’s H-1B season would extend for another 2-3 weeks, at most.

H-1B Cap to be Reached Within 1-2 Weeks – Too Late to Start New H-1Bs

It should be noted that the current (and increasing) weekly rate of filings (about 6,000-7,000 for the regular and up to 1,500 per week for the master’s cap) is likely to continue to increase dramatically once the H-1B cap is about to be reached.   Another consideration is that it takes at least 2-3 weeks to prepare and file an H-1B case (including the FEIN employer verification, if necessary, the LCA and the preparation and filing of the H-1B documents).    As a result, at this point, it may be too late to start new H-1B cap cases under this year’s cap.

Contact Us to Discuss Your Options

As discussed above, it may be already too late if you are considering filing a cap-subject H-1B petition as part of the FY2013 quota.  However, please consider contacting us as soon as possible so that we can help you evaluate your options.   We also invite our clients and readers to subscribe to our free weekly immigration newsletter to receive timely updates on this and related topics.

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New Study Tool – Preparing for the Oath of Citizenship: U.S. History and Civics for Citizenship

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History (NMAH) launched earlier today Preparing for the Oath: U.S. History and Civics for Citizenship, a Web-based learning tool designed to help immigrants prepare for the civics portion of the naturalization test.
Designed as a self-study tool, Preparing for the Oath is based on the 100 civics questions and answers from which USCIS draws when administering the naturalization test. Preparing for the Oath is organized into themes related to U.S. history, government and civics, with a short video and self-test on the content of each civics question. Many questions prompt users to explore an artifact from the NMAH collection or include accompanying interactive learning activities.
In addition to serving as a self-study tool for immigrants, a section for teachers provides materials and strategies to use Preparing for the Oath in a classroom setting. To begin using Preparing for the Oath, visit http://americanhistory.si.edu/citizenship.   Users will also be able to access Preparing for the Oath on the USCIS Citizenship Resource Center under Study Materials for the Civics Test.
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FY2013 H-1B Numbers Update – 42,000 Regular and 16,000 Masters Cap Visas Used; Last Call for Filings (May 18, 2012)

The H-1B season is not only well underway but we are starting to see the end of the quota in this seventh weekly update on the FY2013  cap-subject H-1Bs filed since April 2 for both the Vermont and California Service Centers.   As of May 18, 2012, USCIS has received approximately 42,000 H-1B petitions counting toward the 65,000 cap.   This suggests a rate of filings of approximately 4,000-5,000 regular cap cases per week.   Similarly, as of May 18, there were approximately 16,000 H-1B visas filed subject to the U.S. Masters cap (which has 20,000 limit).   This suggests a rate of filings of approximately 1,200-1,500 master’s cap cases per week.

H-1B Cap Update

This report suggests a relatively steady rate of filings of about 4,000-5,000 per week in the regular cap and 1,200-1,500 per week in the U.S. master’s cap.   We expect that an increasing rate of weekly filings will continue for the next few weeks until the H-1B cap closes.

Comparison to the Last H-1B Season (FY2012)

Our office keeps detailed statistics of the previous H-1B filing seasons, and we are able to make comparisons with prior H-1B years in an effort to estimate demand and when the H-1B caps may be reached.  Considering the estimated rates of filings for the regular and master’s caps, all indications are that the cap would remain open for a few (but not more than 3-5) more weeks.  Please note that historically, the rate of H-1B filings increases towards the end of the H-1B cap.

H-1B Cap Comparison

Based on this information, and anticipating notable increase in the rate of filings, we anticipate that this year’s H-1B season would extend for another 3-5 weeks, at most.

H-1B Cap to be Reached Within Few Weeks – Prepare and File H-1B Cases As Soon As PossibleIt should be noted that the current (and increasing) weekly rate of filings (about 5,000 for the regular and up to 1,500 per week for the master’s cap) is likely to continue to increase dramatically once the H-1B cap is about to be reached.   Another consideration is that it takes at least 2-3 weeks to prepare and file an H-1B case (including the FEIN employer verification, if necessary, the LCA and the preparation and filing of the H-1B documents).    As a result, we strongly recommend employers and employees who are considering filing under the H-1B cap this year to start the process as soon as possible to avoid being left out of this year’s H-1B cap.

Contact Us to Start Your H-1B Case

If you are considering filing a cap-subject H-1B petition as part of the FY2013 quota, please contact us as soon as possible.  We also invite our clients and readers to subscribe to our free weekly immigration newsletter to receive timely updates on this and related topics.

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DHS Expands List of STEM-designated Degree Programs

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has announced on May 11, 2012, that they have expanded the list of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) degree programs.

New STEM-Designated Programs

Until this revision, CIP degree codes ending in “99″ were not designated as STEM degree programs.   The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is now proposing that “99” codes be eligible STEM degree programs – but only those where every other degree in the immediate CIP code family qualifies as an eligible STEM field.   DHS has acknowledged that since the publication of the 2008 STEM regulation allowing for 17-month Optional Practical Training (OPT) extension, students in new and important STEM degree programs in emerging fields classified under “99” CIP codes have not been able to take advantage of the OPT extension.  This revision of the STEM-designated degree programs allows students in such emerging fields to be eligible for OPT extension.

STEM-Designation Has Great Benefits

On April 8, 2008, the Department of Homeland Security published an Interim Final Rule (IFR) titled, Extending Period of Optional Practical Training (OPT) by 17 Months for F-1 Nonimmigrant Students With STEM Degrees and Expanding Cap-Gap Relief for All F-1 Students With Pending H-1B Petitions.    As a result, a STEM degree allows for a total OPT time of 29 months, compared to only 12 months for non-STEM degrees.

Is My Degree in a STEM-Designated Degree Program?

The first step is to find the classification number of your degree.  The Classification of Educational Programs, a database provided by the Department of Education is helpful in looking up the CIP code for a specific degree.  Also, the degree and its CIP code are often listed on page 3 of a student’s SEVIS Form I-20.

Once the degree classification is determined, an F-1 or OPT holder should look at the updated list of STEM degrees which, according to DHS, entitled their holders to an additional term of 17 months.

Conclusion

We welcome ICE’s decision to add new degrees to the list of STEM-designated degree programs.   We hope that the newly released updated STEM list would benefit some of the recent graduates in these new STEM programs; or, would allow graduates of such programs who may be nearing their 12-month OPT expiration date to obtain a 17-month STEM OPT extension.   Please let us know if our office can be of any assistance.

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FY2013 H-1B Numbers Update – 36,700 Regular and 14,800 Masters Cap Visas Used (May 11, 2012)

The H-1B season is well underway and we have received the sixth update on the FY2013  cap-subject H-1Bs filed since April 2 for both the Vermont and California Service Centers.   As of May 11, 2012, USCIS has received approximately 36,700 H-1B petitions counting toward the 65,000 cap.   This suggests a rate of filings of approximately 4,000 regular cap cases per week.   Similarly, as of May 11, there were approximately 14,800 H-1B visas filed subject to the U.S. Masters cap (which has 20,000 limit).   This suggests a rate of filings of approximately 1,200-1,500 master’s cap cases per week.

H-1B Cap Update

This report suggests a relatively steady rate of filings of about 3,000-4,000 per week in the regular cap and 1,200-1,500 per week in the U.S. master’s cap.   We expect that a similar rate of weekly filings will continue for a few more weeks.

Comparison to the Last H-1B Season (FY2012)

Our office keeps detailed statistics of the previous H-1B filing seasons, and we are able to make comparisons with prior H-1B years in an effort to estimate demand and when the H-1B caps may be reached.  Considering the estimated rates of filings for the regular and master’s caps, all indications are that the cap would remain open for a few more weeks.  Please note that historically, the rate of H-1B filings increases towards the end of the H-1B cap.

H-1B Cap Comparison

Last year, during the FY2012 H-1B filing season, by May 11th, there were 11,200 regular cap H-1B petitions filed.   Last year’s May 11th count of Master’s H-1B cap filing was 7,900.   This year’s 36,700 and 14,800 filings for the regular and master’s caps, respectively, for the first six weeks of the H-1B filing season suggests that there is a very significant increase in the number of H-1Bs filed early in the H-1B season.   Based on this information, and assuming there is no significant  increase in the rate of filings, we anticipate that this year’s H-1B season would extend for another few weeks.

H-1B Quota Trends and Predictions

Throughout every H-1B cap filing season, we provide timely updates on the H-1B numbers and we draw predictions and conclusions based on the numbers and our experience.  More than halfway through the H-1B cap season, we believe that the H-1B cap will remain open for only a few more weeks.

H-1B Cap to be Reached Within Few Weeks – Prepare and File H-1B Cases As Soon As Possible

It should be noted that the current weekly rate of filings (about 4,000 for the regular and up to 1,500 per week for the master’s cap) is likely to increase dramatically once the H-1B cap is about to be reached.   Another consideration is that it takes at least 2-3 weeks to prepare and file an H-1B case (including the FEIN employer verification, if necessary, the LCA and the preparation and filing of the H-1B documents).    As a result, we strongly recommend employers and employees who are considering filing under the H-1B cap this year to start the process as soon as possible to avoid being left out of this year’s H-1B cap.

Contact Us to Start Your H-1B Case

If you are considering filing a cap-subject H-1B petition as part of the FY2013 quota, please contact us as soon as possible — it is never too early to file a cap-subject H-1B petition.  We also invite our clients and readers to subscribe to our free weekly immigration newsletter to receive timely updates on this and related topics.

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June 2012 Visa Bulletin – EB-2 India and China Unavailable; EB-1 and EB-2 ROW Cutoff Dates Possible

The U.S. State Department has just released the June 2012 Visa Bulletin which is the ninth Visa Bulletin for the FY2012 fiscal year.    The major headline in the upcoming month’s bulletin is the unavailability in the EB-2 India and China categories, the significant (four months) advancement in EB-3 China,  the continued forward movement in FB-1 and the possibility of a cutoff date for EB-1/EB-2 ROW.

Summary of the June 2012 Visa Bulletin – Employment-Based (EB)

Below is a summary of the June 2012 Visa Bulletin with respect to employment-based petitions:

  • EB-1 remains current across the board.
  • EB-2 remains current for EB-2 ROW, Mexico and Philippines.   EB-2 India and EB-2 China are unavailable.
  • EB-3 ROW and EB-3 Mexico move forward by five (5) weeks to June 8, 2006.  EB-3 Philippines moves forward by three (3) weeks to May 22, 2006, EB-3 China  moves forward by more than four (4) months to August 8, 2005, while EB-3 India  moves forward by only one (1) week to September 15, 2002.
  • The “other worker” category remains unchanged (again) at  April 22, 2003 for China.  It moves forward by five (5) weeks for ROW and Mexico, while EB-3 Philippines moves forward by three (3) weeks to May 22, 2006.  It also moves forward by one (1) week for India to September 15, 2002.

Summary of the June 2012 Visa Bulletin – Family-Based (FB)

Below is a summary of the June 2012 Visa Bulletin with respect to family-based petitions:

  • FB-1 moves forward (again, for ninth consecutive month).  FB-1 ROW, China and India all move forward by seven (7) weeks to June 22, 2005.   FB-1 Mexico remains unchanged at May 15, 1993 and FB-1 Philippines remains unchanged at July 1, 1997.
  • FB-2A moves forward by six (6) weeks to January 1, 2010 for ROW, China, India, and Philippines.  FB-2A Mexico moves forward by seven (7) weeks to December 8, 2009.
  • FB-2B ROW, China and India move forward by seven (7) weeks to April 15, 2004.  FB-2B Mexico moves forward by one (1) month to January 1, 1992 and FB-2B Philippines remains unchanged at December 8, 2001.

Unavailability in EB-2 India and China Caused by High Demand/Number of Filings; No Forward Movement (or Approvals) Expected Until at Least October 2012; Slow Movement  for EB-3; Continued Forward Movement in FB-1

One of the major headlines this month, in the ninth Visa Bulletin for the Fiscal Year 2012 is the unavailability in the EB-2 India and China categories.  This follows the dramatic retrogression in the previous, May 2012, Visa Bulletin.   Although this unavailability does not come as a surprise to our clients and readers who may have seen our repeated alerts over the past few weeks, the unavailability would certainly cause disappointment to many I-485 Indian or Chinese applicants.

As many of our clients and readers remember, the May 2012 Visa Bulletin indicated a significant retrogression for EB-2 India and China.   Despite the retrogression of the China and India Employment Second preference cut-off date to August 15, 2007, demand for numbers by applicants with priority dates earlier than that date remained excessive.  Such demand is primarily based on cases which had originally been filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for adjustment of status in the Employment Third preference category, and are now eligible to be upgraded to Employment Second preference status.   Unfortunately, the potential amount of such “upgrade” demand is not currently being reported, but, according to the Department of State,  it was evident that the continued availability of Employment Second preference numbers for countries other than China and India was being jeopardized.  Therefore, the Department of State had to make the China and India Employment Second preference category “Unavailable” in early April and is expected to remain so until October 1.

In addition to the notable EB-2 India and China columns, this Visa Bulletin also shows continued forward movement in the FB-1 category which has been moving steadily for the past several months.    We continue to see the FB-2A category move forward, although by not as much as we saw for the last few months and after the significant retrogression during the months before.

EB-2 India and China Predictions

According to the Department of State, the EB-2 India and China categories will remain unavailable for the rest of the fiscal year which ends on September 30, 2012.   The first visa bulletin for the new fiscal year, starting on October 1, should be published somewhere around September 10-15th.

All indications are that visa numbers will once again become available for EB-2 India and China.   However, the Department of State, in an explicit note in the June 2012 Visa Bulletin warns that although they will make every attempt to move the cutoff dates back to May 1, 2010, it may take until Spring of 2013 to do so.

EB-1 and EB-2 Rest of World (ROW) May Be Limited by Introducing a Cutoff Date

The Department of State has reiterated their comment from the May 2012 Visa Bulletin that it is possible that a cutoff date may be introduced for EB-1 and EB-2 ROW cases.    The reason is, not surprisingly, the heavy demand in numbers over the past few months, mainly by EB-2 India and China applicants.     Based on the current rate of demand, according to the Department of State, it may be necessary to establish a cutoff date for the EB-1 and/or EB-2 ROW categories.

Further Updates and News

We invite you to subscribe to our free weekly immigration newsletter to receive timely updates on this and related topics.  We also invite you to contact us if our office can be of any assistance in your immigration matters or you have any questions or comments about the June 2012 Visa Bulletin.  Finally, if you already haven’t, please consider our Visa Bulletin Predictions tool which provides personalized predictions and charts helping you understand when a particular priority date may become current and what are the movement patterns.

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FY2013 H-1B Numbers Update – 32,500 Regular and 13,700 Masters Cap Visas Used (May 4, 2012)

The H-1B season is well underway and we have received the fifth “official” update on the FY2013  cap-subject H-1Bs filed since April 2 for both the Vermont and California Service Centers.   As of May 4, 2012, USCIS has received approximately 32,500 H-1B petitions counting toward the 65,000 cap.   This suggests a rate of filings of approximately 3,000-4,000 regular cap cases per week.   Similarly, as of May 4, there were approximately 13,700 H-1B visas filed subject to the U.S. Masters cap (which has 20,000 limit).   This suggests a rate of filings of approximately 1,200-1,500 master’s cap cases per week.

H-1B Cap Update

This report suggests a relatively steady rate of filings of about 3,000-4,000 per week in the regular cap and 1,200-1,500 per week in the U.S. master’s cap.   We expect that a similar rate of weekly filings will continue for at least a few more weeks.

Comparison to the Last H-1B Season (FY2012)

Our office keeps detailed statistics of the previous H-1B filing seasons, and we are able to make comparisons with prior H-1B years in an effort to estimate demand and when the H-1B caps may be reached.  Considering the estimated rates of filings for the regular and master’s caps, all indications are that the cap would remain open for 3-4 months.

H-1B Cap Comparison

Last year, during the FY2012 H-1B filing season, by May 4th, there were 10,200 regular cap H-1B petitions filed.   Last year’s May 4th count of Master’s H-1B cap filing was 7,300.   This year’s 32,500 and 13,700 filings for the regular and master’s caps, respectively, for the first five weeks of the H-1B filing season suggests that there is notable increase in the number of H-1Bs filed early in the H-1B season.   Based on this information, and assuming there is no significant  increase in the rate of filings, we anticipate that this year’s H-1B season would extend for between 3-4 months.

H-1B Quota Trends and Predictions

Throughout every H-1B cap filing season, we provide timely updates on the H-1B numbers and we draw predictions and conclusions based on the numbers and our experience.  A month or so into this year’s H-1B cap season, we can draw some predictions on when the cap is expected to be reached.   If the current rate of filings remains steady, we expect that the U.S. master’s cap be reached in 3-4 weeks.   The regular cap is likely to remain open for another 6-8 weeks.

We invite our clients and readers to subscribe to our free weekly immigration newsletter to receive timely updates on this and related topics.   In the meantime, if you are considering filing a cap-subject H-1B petition as part of the FY2013 quota, please contact us as soon as possible — it is never too early to file a cap-subject H-1B petition.

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AAO Processing Times (May 1, 2012)

Our office has established a reputation as one of the leading practices for handling appeals with the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) and we often receive inquiries not only  about the procedural aspects of an AAO appeal but also about the current processing times for AAO cases.    The AAO processing times are published monthly, at the beginning of the month, and we are providing monthly updates and analysis for the benefit of our clients and readers.

About the AAO

The AAO is an appeals office which handles appeals of certain decisions made by USCIS field offices and regional processing centers.  The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires that all AAO decisions be made available to the public.  As a result, AAO decisions are accessible in reading rooms at USCIS headquarters here in Washington, DC and at field offices.  Also, some (but not all) AAO decisions are available online.

Current AAO Processing Times

USCIS has released the average processing times for cases pending at the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) as of May 1, 2012.  Read the full AAO Processing Times report.

Among the most notable AAO processing times:

  • H-1B appeal takes 18 months (decrease, or improvement, of three months compared to our last report as of March 1, 2012);
  • L-1 appeal takes 22 months (no change);
  • I-140 EB-1 Extraordinary Ability takes 14 months (improvement of one month), Multinational Manager or Executive takes 21 months (no change) while EB-1 Outstanding Professor or Researcher category is current (defined as 6 months or less);
  • I-140 EB-2 (Advanced Degree) takes 21 months (improvement by 3 months) while EB-2 (NIW) is current (improvement by two or more  months); and
  • I-140 EB-3 Skilled Worker takes 34 months (improvement by 1 month) while EB-3 Other Worker is current (6 months or less) on appeal (no change).
Conclusion
The AAO processing times for at least some of the categories (EB-2, for example) have been improving notably over the past few months.   We notice that AAO processing times remain steady across many of the other types of cases.     We hope that the notable trend of improvement in the processing times in EB-2 appeals would continue and spread to other types of cases as well.

If our office can be of any assistance regarding AAO representation or consultation, please contact us.  Also, please feel free to subscribe to our free weekly newsletter to receive updates and immigration news.

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Travel Warning: Passport Expiration Date May Affect Duration of Authorized Stay (I-94) Upon Entry into the U.S.

The summer has traditionally been a busy traveling season and as the summer start to approach and many of our clients and readers start making international travel plans, we see an increased flow of inquiries and consultations regarding travel and passport expiration dates.  Most often the question is, What should be the duration of the passport for purposes of (re)entering the U.S. after travel abroad?

At Least Six Months Passport Validity Required

As an initial matter, the Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) requires that passports be valid for six months beyond the date the traveler will exit the U.S., however, the U.S. has signed agreements with a number of countries to waive this requirement.  When such an agreement is in place, the passport must be valid for the entire period of the visitor’s intended stay, but the additional six month validity period is not required.   Please read our article on the Six-Month Club for more information.

Passport Expiration Date Before Petition Expiration Date

The question then arises for travelers who are in the U.S. pursuant to a petition with a certain expiration date, such as H-1B, L-1, etc.  For example, H-1B petitions are normally issued with a validity of three (3) years and when an H-1B worker travels to the U.S., he or she would expect that upon entering the U.S., the CBP agent would provide a Form I-94 with expiration date equal to the H-1B expiration date plus ten (10) days.  However, if the passport has an expiration date which is before the H-1B petition expiration date, CBP, by regulation, should issue a Form I-94 card with expiration date equal to the passport expiration.

However, CBP is inconsistent in the application in this rule and they often disregard the earlier passport expiration date.  This, unfortunately, creates confusion among many travelers who seem to get arbitrary Form I-94 expiration dates during different travels.

My I-94 Expiration Date Is The Same as My Passport Expiration and Earlier than My Petition Expiration — What Should I Do?

As discussed above, where the passport expiration date is before the petition (Form I-797) expiration date, CBP should issue Form I-94 with expiration date equal to the passport expiration.  As a result, the foreign national is allowed to remain in the U.S. for a period which is shorter than the period they (and their employer) expected.   In such cases, it is important to understand the options for obtaining a Form I-94 with expiration date equal to the petition expiration.

Option 1 – Form I-94 “Correction” by CBP.  Normally, CBP allows travelers who have been issued erroneous Form I-94 cards to visit a CBP office (normally at international airports) and, after obtaining a new passport, to request that they be issued a corrected I-94 card.    This approach has worked for some of our clients in the past.  However, some CBP offices refuse to issue such corrections because, technically, the  initially issued Form I-94 had the proper expiration date.

Option 2 – Application for Extension of Status.  Alternatively, an application to extend status may be filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) to request that a new Form I-94 card be issued to match the Form I-797 petition expiration date.  This option must be pursued before the Form I-94 expiration date or the extension of status application may be denied.

Note that USCIS does not require that a passport has a validity for the entire period of requested extension of stay — all USCIS needs is a passport valid at the time of filing of the application to extend status.  8 C.F.R. § 214.1(a)(3). The passport does not have to be valid for the entire period of time requested in the extension of status application as the regulations only require that the individual “agree[s] to maintain the validity of his or her passport.”

Option 3 – Leave the U.S. and Reenter with a Renewed Passport.  Finally, the foreign national may leave the U.S. and after obtaining a new passport, travel back to the U.S.   If a U.S. visa has been issued on the passport that has expired, the foreign national should carry both the new passport and the expired passport containing the valid visa. There is no need to re-apply for a new visa unless the visa term has itself expired.

Consequences of Overstaying Form I-94 Expiration

It is very important to understand that any corrections of Form I-94 card, extensions of status applications or travel abroad be attempted before the Form I-94 expiration date, as issued and determined by CBP.  Overstay of the Form I-94 expiration date starts the period of unlawful presence which has severe consequences.

First, overstaying the end date of the authorized stay, as provided by the CBP officer at a port-of-entry and noted on the Form I-94 card would automatically void or cancel the visa stamp.   In addition, filing for an extension of status after I-94 expiration has a significant chance of denial.  Finally, overstaying the I-94 expiration by more than 180 days may trigger the 3-year ban of entering the U.S. (overstaying by more than one year may result in a 10-year ban).

Travel Preparations — Ensure Passport Has Sufficient Validity

We urge our readers and clients, especially those who plan to enter the U.S. on the basis of a USCIS-approved petition, to ensure that their passport has validity which is greater than the expiration date of their petition approval notice.    Also, we always recommend that when a traveler arrives into the U.S. and during border control, to verify his or her I-94 card expiration date, as noted by the CBP officer and to address any questions or concern at that time with the CBP officer.    Addressing issued at a later time is usually complicated (and often, costly).

Conclusion

The Form I-94 expiration date is extremely important and it should be checked upon every entry into the U.S. and, ideally, while at the CBP agent station.   If you feel that you have not been issued a Form I-94 with a correct date, ask the CBP agent or ask to speak with a supervisor.  Foreign nationals should not assume that because they are entering on a visa and pursuant to a I-797 petition approval which has a certain expiration date, that the authorized period of stay in the U.S. on Form I-94 would be the same.

Our office has been able to successfully help many foreign nationals, in a variety of visa types, in either having their I-94 cards corrected or extended.  Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of any help.

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