Arrival procedures for when you enter the U.S.

Before leaving your country, confirm that your passport and nonimmigrant visa are still valid for entry into the U.S. (at least 6 months validity is required).

Check to see that your visa accurately reflects your correct visa classification.

Do not put your travel documents in your baggage; carry them on your person. As if your baggage is lost, you will not be able to show the documents to the Custom and Border Protection Officer, and they will not admit you into the U.S.

If you are ever denied entrance into the U.S. make sure the Custom and Border Protection Officer does not expeditiously remove you. This means that you will be barred from entering the U.S. for five (5) years. Ask to withdraw your visa and contact a U.S. Immigration Attorney immediately; to ensure no removal order has been placed against you.



You cannot change your status or extend your status in the U.S. if you enter the U.S. under a visa waiver. In other words you must depart the U.S. and re-enter under either a non-immigrant or immigrant visa; if you wish to stay longer.

Never overstay past the permitted 90 days – it will cause problems for your future re-entry into the U.S.

The only exception to the very strict rule above, in changing or extending one’s status is; if you are marrying a U.S. citizen (then you are permitted to adjust your status without departing the U.S.).


I-94 CARD (either white or green color) v. Visa Stamp in passport:

This gives you the time authorized to remain in the U.S.

It controls how long you can remain in the U.S. lawfully.

Do not stay past the expiration date on the I-94 card regardless of the date stamped on your visa (your visa is simply you entry document into the U.S. it does not give you legal status).

Remember the I-94 controls your authorized stay in the U.S. NOT your visa

Do not give anyone your original I-94 card (unless you are departing the U.S. and hand in at port of entry). Always make a copy of your I-94 card.

You must hand in your I-94 card when your depart the U.S. as otherwise your departure may not be recorded properly. So either contact or retain your outbound from the U.S. boarding pass


H-1B and when you are eligible to obtain the green card under this visa:

Either before, during or after you have an approved H-1B you can also file for your green card application.

Employers may deceive you into thinking you have to wait X period of time before filing the green card application; this is incorrect.

The green card application can even be made when you are outside the U.S.

As long as you have the requisite criteria, then you can file your green card application at ANY time. You must get proper legal advice on whether you have the requisite qualifications/work experience in order to file for the green card.



Some non-immigrant visas will allow you to either enter the U.S. before the permitted start date on the visa; or allow you to remain up to 30 days in the U.S. after the date the visa expires – commonly referred to as “Grace Period”.

If you enter the U.S. before the permitted start date (usually allowed 10-30 days); you CANNOT work.

If you intend to remain after the visa expiration (no longer than the 30 days); you can neither change status to a different non-immigrant visa nor work, during these 30 days. To be clear you can request a Nunc Pro Tunc change of status during the 30 day grace period as you will be deemed to be unlawfully in the States during this period; and this is a special discretion you are requesting from U.S. Immigration. The grace period is really to allow you to visit friends etc. and to then make plans to leave the U.S. it is neither for you to work an extra 30 days or to use this time to change status. You must file your change of status before the 30 day grace period commences.


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