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What Is the Visa Validity Automatic Extension Rule?

The visa validity automatic extension rule is a state department regulation listed at 22 CFR § 41.112(d). This regulation provides that a person who is lawfully in the U.S. with a valid I-94 document may return to the U.S. from a short trip to Canada or Mexico, as long as the trip did not last for more than 30 days, even if the visa stamp in their passport has expired or even if it was initially issued in a different classification than the one the person now holds. Although there are some important exceptions to this rule, it can be convenient for many as it allows an applicant with a valid I-94 document to take short trips to Canada or Mexico without having to visit a consulate to renew their visa stamp.

This rule can be especially helpful for citizens of Mexico. Based on the reciprocity table, many of the visas issued to Mexican citizens are issued just for a one-year term. However, many of these same visa categories also provide for the issuance of a two or three year I-94 document. Thus, even though the applicant’s visa stamp may be expired, the applicant may be able to travel back and forth for a couple of years for business or to visit family, and not necessarily have to check in with the U.S. consulate every year to obtain a new visa stamp.

What Is The Deferred Inspection Process?

Deferred inspection is usually a facility separate from the port of entry. Sometimes even after going through primary or secondary inspection, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will still have more questions regarding a case. In these situations, an interview can be schedule at the deferred inspection office. This is rare, but it does occasionally happen.

Also, mistakes made on a person’s papers in the primary or secondary inspection process can be corrected through the deferred inspection process. At deferred inspection stations, officers are able to review the record and correct typos or any kind of administrative error. Common mistakes include being granted an incorrect length of stay, name misspellings or inaccurately written dates — all of which can be corrected through the deferred inspection process.

How Are Travel Options Different for Temporary Visa Holders than Green Card Holders?

Temporary visa holders are normally required to present a valid passport and a valid visa stamp when applying for admission to the U.S., unless exempt under a specific limited exception. In entering, the applicant should be issued an I-94 record to confirm their lawful status. For lawful permanent residents, the only requirement is that they have the valid lawful permanent residence card in hand.

Is Travel Permitted During The Lawful Permanent Residence Process?

Persons who are lawfully in the U.S. and are moving to adjust their status to lawful permanent residence usually need to stay here through the completion of that process, unless special travel permission called “advance parole” is obtained prior to departing the U.S. While it should be possible to leave and come back on advanced parole, it is something that a person would want to coordinate with their attorney in order to make sure that this does not create any new problems unique to their case. There are some situations in which it would be better for a person to remain in the U.S. despite having an option under the law to travel.

There are also certain temporary visas that normally allow persons to leave and come back while pursuing an adjustment of status application, including the H-1B, H-4, L-1, L-2, and a few others. An applicant should coordinate with their attorney on these matters before traveling. If the applicant does not have correct travel papers in hand before departing, they can be barred from re-entering and their adjustment of status application may be deemed abandoned. This is why it is so important to make sure that one has the correct travel papers in hand before leaving the U.S.

For more information on Automatic Visa Extension Rule, a consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (619) 234-8875 today.

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