Although not unique to the international fashion industry, members of this fast paced industry regularly travel on brief visits around the globe.  Executives, managers and highly skilled professionals engaged in fashion must attend events, conferences, business briefings and meet with their counterparts on a regular basis.   Accordingly, even after a foreign national has obtained the much anticipated temporary U.S. work visa, the process does not end with the approval of the visa classification.

There are many rules, regulations and guidelines for fashion industry  personnel who regularly travel in and out of the USA on business.  The following summary is provided as a guide to make entry and departure from the USA smoother and hopefully less cumbersome.

  1. Entry to the USA – Visitor “B” VISA
  • You must have a passport valid for at least 6 months at the time you enter the USA.
  • If  your visa is valid but your passport is no longer valid, you will be required to travel with the old passport stamped with the valid visa to the USA and your new valid passport, or
  • You may need to obtain the visa stamp in your new passport.
  • Upon entry to the USA from a land or air border, you will be provided with a new Form I-94 for each time you enter or reenter the USA from abroad.

It is crucial that you review the Form I-94 to be sure it has the validity date of your visa stamp and the correct visa type (H-1B, L-1, E-2, O-1).  Only the individual in possession of his passport has this information.  If the Form I-94 expires while you are in the USA, you are deemed an overstay (out of status), which has serious consequences.

(Canadian nationals do not receive visa stamp)

  • Please retain your Form I-94 stapled in your passport while you are in the USA.
  1. Departure From USA
  • You must be certain to relinquish the Form I-94 every time you depart the USA – this is critical since a departure without surrender of the Form I-94 may be considered an overstay in the USA.  It is a good idea to make a copy of your Form I-94 every time you enter the USA and are issued a new Form I-94 and make note of where and when you turned it in.
  1. H-1B Visa Holders- Professionals
  • The H-1B visa stamp, if valid in your passport, will enable you to return and work in the USA.  If your H-1B visa extension is pending or if the H-1B visa stamp has expired, please contact HR for instructions on how to obtain a new H-1B visa stamp.
  1. E & L-1 Visa Holders-Executive & Transferees
  • Please check the validity stamp of your E-2 or L-1 visa to ensure it is valid and will permit you to reenter the USA in the same work visa status.  If you will require a new visa stamp, please alert HR at least 90 days prior to your departure.  The new application must be prepared to enable you to return the USA with a new visa stamp.
  1. O-1 Visas- Extraordinary Ability In The Arts, Sciences and Business
  • Often thought of as the visa for designers and the creative forces in the fashion industry, the O-1 visa may also apply to executives and managers who have pioneered marketing campaigns or who excel in the generation of successful campaigns.  The O-1 visa is stamped in the holder’s passport and does  not require any special procedures.  It is treated very much like the H-1B for professionals once issued.