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I need to apply for an extension, but my passport is expiring in a few months. Will USCIS limit the length of my extension?

By August 23, 2022Immigration
a happy woman holding her passport in preparation to travel

It is easy to imagine the sense of panic that someone feels when their I-94 expiration date is fast approaching, they are preparing their application to extend their stay in the U.S., but then – they realize their passport will expire in a few months, weeks, or even days.

How will a passport with little remaining validity affect an extension of status application with USCIS?

The answer, fortunately, is that USCIS – unlike the border officers at CBP or the consular officers at the Department of State – only requires that the passport be valid at the time the extension request is filed. The relevant regulation is 8 CFR 214.1(a)(3)(i), which states:

“The passport of an alien applying for extension of stay must be valid at the time of application for extension, unless otherwise provided in this chapter, and the alien must agree to maintain the validity of his or her passport and to abide by all the terms and conditions of his extension.”

USCIS will typically not, therefore, limit the period of the extension due to the passport’s expiration date, as long as the passport is valid at the time the application is filed.

It is important to note, however, that the applicant must “maintain the validity of his or her passport,” and therefore they should renew their passport as soon as possible so as not to violate this requirement. We have posted more details on this requirement in our earlier post here.

I read somewhere that the passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the period of stay. Is that not true?

It is true that, when applying to enter the U.S., the passport must be valid for six months beyond the initial period of stay, unless the visitor is a national of one of many countries that are exempt from this requirement. This requirement actually comes from the same provision we referred to earlier, 8 CFR 214.1(a)(3)(i), which requires that “The passport of an alien applying for admission must be valid for a minimum of six months from the expiration date of the contemplated period of stay.”

But as is clear from the language in this regulation, the 6-month validity requirement applies when the visitor is “applying for admission,” and not when they are “applying for extension of stay.”

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