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Urgent Reminder: Check Your I-94!

It is critical for nonimmigrants to check the “admit until” date on their I-94s after each entry to the United States, which can be accessed here.  

In some cases, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has been issuing I-94s with “admit until” dates earlier than visa or petition expiration dates.  The shortened dates are usually tied to the passport expiration date. Some of our clients have not noticed, and therefore accrued unlawful presence starting the day after their I-94 expiration date.  This is a particular problem for visas falling under the June 2020 travel ban, including H-1B workers.

 Normally, individuals with less than 180 days of unlawful presence have the option to exit the country, apply for a new visa stamp, and re-enter the US to receive a new I-94.  However, the visa travel ban has made this impossible for H-1B holders at least until December. 

 A nonimmigrant with even a day of unlawful presence who seeks a status extension from within the U.S. must ask the USCIS for “discretion,” which we are unsure the agency will grant under current circumstances.  If denied, the worker must depart the U.S. immediately – and will be subject to the three-year bar on re-entry if the period of unlawful presence has exceeded 180 days (the bar extends to 10 years if the unlawful presence exceeds 1 year).

 So it is extremely important for nonimmigrants to check the expiration date of their I-94 following each entry to the United States to make sure an extension is timely filed to prevent accrual of unlawful presence and problems that may raise in the future.

 Do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions, or discover that your I-94 has expired. 

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