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I-94 Validity and Visa Status

By March 26, 2021May 14th, 2021E-2 Visa, Immigration
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Important Information Regarding I-94 Validity and Visa Status

Many clients do not realize that the I-94 governs their stay in the U.S. Instead, they think that the visa dictates the time they can spend.  The letter below is a summary of what we send to our clients after they have an E-2 visa approval.

Client Letter for E-2 Visa Approval

Dear Valued Client,

We hope you and your family are well and safe during these difficult times. You may have processed a non-immigrant visa with us, and we wanted to remind you of some very important information regarding the validity of your visa stay in the U.S.  This is very important information regarding your stay in the U.S., so please read this carefully and reach out to us should you have any questions.

Regardless of the end date of the visa, the expiration date on the most recent Form I-94 marks the end of your lawful admission to the U.S.

When you enter the U.S. using a non-immigrant visa, you enter in a status and each status has a maximum admittance period.  For example, if you enter the U.S. using an E-2 visa, you enter in E-2 status and you will normally be granted 2 years in E-2 status.   Before your status expires, you must either apply for an extension in the U.S. or leave and reenter the U.S. using a valid Visa.  An important distinction is that a visa is a document that deals with your ability to enter the country only.  As such, the visa does not have anything to do with how long you can stay once you are here.  Instead, your ability to stay in the U.S. is governed by your I-94 date.   For example, if you can have a visa that is valid for 5 years, this does not mean you can stay in the country for 5 years.  In this case, the maximum continuous period of stay in the U.S. without taking any action would be 2 years.  It is essential that you check your I-94 to see how long your lawful admission is for. The U.S. Government mandates that you are responsible for monitoring this and border officials often make errors.

It is also important to note that the end date on the I-94 may be limited to the expiration date on your passport. As such, you should make every effort to keep your passport valid for as long as possible and should always renew it so that there are no gaps in passport validity while you are in the U.S.  Again, we strongly recommend that you verify the expiration date on the Form I-94 every time you enter the U.S. and contact us immediately if any of the information is not correct. After you enter the U.S. you can find your I-94 form online at this website: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home

Please note that if you applied for an extension after entering the U.S., your most recent I-94 may be on the I-797A approval notice you received from USCIS. Finally, these rules do not apply to green card holders or citizens.

Best,

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