Maintaing Status

27. Feb. 2017

During this time of increased scrutiny of immigration, and this Administration’s emphasis on border security and enforcement, all individuals authorized to work, study or live permanently in the U.S. should be mindful of their responsibilities as temporary and permanent residents.

What to Carry When Traveling

When traveling internationally, make sure that you carry all required documentation for re-entry into the U.S., including:

  • A passport valid for the intended period of stay
  • Valid visa (unless you are from Canada)
  • Original I-797 approval notice
  • Proof of current employment, such as paystubs
  • Valid I-20 endorsed for international travel within the last six months (if you are a student)

Please consult your attorney of record before you make plans to travel internationally. Individuals with pending Adjustment of Status applications may require additional travel authorization.  Further, your country of nationality may subject you to additional scrutiny or restrictions.

Carry Proof of Status while in the U.S.

Every foreign national, 18 years of age and over, must carry documentation of their status in the U.S., including:

  • A valid, unexpired I-94 admission record, accessible here on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Website, or at the bottom your latest I-797 approval notice;
  • A foreign passport with a valid admission stamp;
  • A Form I-551 permanent resident card or passport containing an I-551 stamp;
  • An EAD card; or
  • A Border Crossing Card, if you are a citizen of Canada or Mexico.

Be sure to check your I-94 admission record and admission stamp and contact your attorney of record if there are inaccuracies. Take note of the expiration date, which marks the end of your authorized period of stay in the U.S. Staying in the U.S. beyond this date could subject you to a future bar of entry and/or cancellation of your visa. Failure to carry required documentation could subject you to a fine or criminal charge.

Working Students

If you are in F-1 status and working on OPT or OPT STEM, you must keep your university’s Designated School Official (DSO) updated on changes of your name, address, and employment. If you are working on OPT STEM, you must also notify your DSO of changes in your employer’s name or address, or loss of employment within 10 days, and confirm the accuracy of your information every 6 months. During your OPT or STEM employment, make sure that you are not unemployed longer than 90 days (OPT) or 150 days total (2 year STEM).

Do Not Engage in Illegal Activity

Criminal activity, including commission or admission of criminal acts, charges or convictions at the state, federal or international level, can have a serious effect on your immigration status. Contact your attorney of record if you are arrested or charged with any crime. Consequences of criminal activity could result in deportation, inability to obtain a visa, inability to adjust status, or denial of citizenship.

Update Your Address with USCIS if You Move

All foreign nationals must notify USCIS of address changes within 10 days of moving. You can fill out a change of address Form AR-11 online or file a paper form.