If you plan to travel outside the United States during the holidays in December, you should ensure that you have all documents necessary to re-enter the U.S. after your trip abroad. The key items to check are:

  • Do you have a passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of intended U.S. re-entry? If not, you must apply for either a renewal of your current passport or a new passport. If you obtain a new passport and your current passport contains your valid U.S. visa, you will present to U.S. immigration both your new passport and your “old” passport containing the unexpired visa. Otherwise, U.S. immigration may shorten your authorized stay or refuse to allow you to enter altogether.
  • Do you have a valid visa in your passport? If not, you will need to schedule an advance appointment with a U.S. Consulate abroad to apply for a new visa. You can find information about applying for a new visa at our website – please click here. Our team also can assist you with planning and implementing this;
  • Has your job title or any other important component of your U.S. employment -- such as work location -- changed since you were approved for your current work visa status? If so, it is possible that either an amended petition might need to be filed or that a letter explaining why an amended petition is not necessary might need to be prepared before you leave the U.S.;
  • Do you have additional documents with you to present to U.S. immigration, if needed? Even if you have a valid passport and visa, you also should be able to show the U.S. immigration officer your latest earnings statement if you are asked for proof that you still work for the authorized employer. If you need to apply for a U.S. visa while you are abroad, you will need a number of documents, which can vary from U.S. consulate to U.S. consulate.

If you do need to apply for a new visa during your trip, in addition to scheduling an appointment now if you have not already done so, you should connect with our team about where you can apply. There have been some rule changes about where an applicant can apply for a new U.S. visa. Some applicants choose to apply at a U.S. consulate in Canada or Mexico rather than at the U.S. consulate in their home country. The U.S. consulates in Mexico have implemented new policies that limit who can apply for visas at U.S. visa posts in Mexico.

When you leave the U.S., you should surrender to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or the airline your white I-94 card and any machine-produced, tear-off I-94 cards . When you return to the U.S. you should present to U.S. immigration your passport plus the new white I-94 card given to you in-flight. If you have a Form I-797 Approval Notice that expires on a date than the visa in your passport (for example, your visa expires on July 1, 2009 but the I-797 Approval Notice expires on January 1, 2010), you should affirmatively present to U.S. immigration your I-797 Approval Notice to ensure your I-94 Departure Record card bears an expiration date of January 1, 2010. Taking this step will help avoid your being improperly admitted.