RESOURCES

Travel

Have questions about upcoming travel concerns or what documents to carry? Please review our FAQ's below.

Traveling internationally as a temporary worker or permanent resident of the U.S. can be a stressful experience. Visa applications can be delayed, and new re-entry requirements or restrictions can occur without notice. It is imperative to notify your immigration counsel and employer of your travel plans before you exit the U.S. so that we can advise you on potential issues that could impact your re-entry. Answers to common travel-related questions are below.

FAQ's

What documents should I carry for domestic travel?

Every foreign national (including, unaccompanied minors traveling by themselves) must carry documentation of his/her status in the U.S., including:

A valid, unexpired I-94 admission record, accessible on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Website, or at the bottom the 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 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.

What documents should I carry for international travel?

When traveling internationally, make sure to 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 pay stubs; and
  • 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.

May I travel to Canada, Mexico or adjacent islands without a visa?

Nonimmigrants with expired visas may re-enter the US after visits of 30 days or less to Canada or Mexico (for those in F and J status, the rule also applies to adjacent islands in the Caribbean except Cuba). This is referred to as the “contiguous territory rule.” The traveler should carry:

  • Passport valid for six months beyond the period of intended stay in the U.S. Visitors from some countries are exempt from the “six-months beyond” rule;
  • U.S. visa (expired or not, current non-immigrant classification or not);
  • Form I-94 (you should not surrender Form I-94 at departure).
  • Appropriate immigration document (valid I-797 approval notice).

You are ineligible to benefit from this rule if: (1) you applied for a U.S. visa while in a contiguous territory but were denied; (2) you have stayed or overstayed in the US unlawfully; or (3) you are from a country designated by the Department of State as state sponsors of terrorism (Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, North Korea, and Cuba).

Will international travel impact my pending cases?

International travel will not impact a pending nonimmigrant extension petition, as long as you were present in the U.S. when the petition was filed. If the extension is approved while you are abroad and its starting validity date is current, you must make arrangements to obtain the approval notice before re-entering the U.S., or travel internationally again, in order to benefit from the extended validity period.

You should not travel internationally if a change of status application has been filed on your behalf. Travel is considered abandonment of your application, and may result in an approval valid only with consular notification and international travel.

Travel during the the PERM/Labor Certification and I-140 Immigrant Petition processes is generally not an issue. However, travel while an I-485 Adjustment of Status application may result in abandonment if you have not received Advance Parole before traveling, or in possession of a valid H-1B or L-1 visa.

How can I correct my I-94 record?

If your I-94 was not stamped with a departure date or contains incorrect information, you may go to a local CBP Deferred Inspection Site or port to have it corrected.  Additionally, some sites offer I-94 correction services through email. Many sites have limited hours for operation, so call ahead to make sure there will be someone available to help you or if you need to appear in person.

For a list a CBP Deferred Inspection Sites, please click here.