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This is general information on travel and travel requirements. Please contact your department with specific travel dates and questions.
For more information about immigration related to COVID-19 and other travel restrictions, see the updates provided by Fragomen.
A new visa stamp will be required only in the following scenarios:
- Employees who are currently abroad and looking to enter the US for the first time in non-immigrant status
- Employees who received amendment or extension approvals, are now planning to travel abroad, and whose non-immigrant visas in their passports had already expired OR will be expiring before the planned return date to the US OR who had never traveled abroad since the initial non-immigrant approval.
- You do not have to apply for the non-immigrant visa at the US Embassy/Consulate abroad unless you wish to travel and re-enter the US.
- You cannot obtain a non-immigrant visa stamp inside the US.
Process to apply for non-immigrant visa at the US Embassy/Consulate:
Each US Consulate/Embassy has their own set of requirements for processing a non-immigrant visa application. Please go to the respective U.S. Consulate/Embassy’s website for information on the requirements. Make sure to follow all of the instructions.
All non-immigrant visa applicants will need to go to https://ceac.state.gov/genniv/ and complete the online application, Form DS-160 (the application for a nonimmigrant visa).
You will need the following documents to reenter the US after traveling abroad:
- A passport valid for at least six months beyond the duration of your non-immigrant status.
- A valid non-immigrant visa stamp (except for Canadian citizens who are visa exempt)
- A valid original I-797 approval notice
- A copy of the non-immigrant petition that was filed with USCIS (you can obtain this in the Fragomen portal)
- An employment letter (optional), your department can provide you with the letter.
- 6 most recent paystubs as proof you are maintaining non-immigrant status
Form I-94 arrival record
When you enter the United States, you will be questioned by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) regarding your reason for coming to the United States. Upon clearance, you will be issued a passport admission stamp that is annotated with date and class of admission and admitted-until date. Because the I-94 is now electronic, not all ports of entry issue admission stamps.
- Visit http://www.cbp.gov/I94 in order to print a paper version of the I-94 record. To access your I-94, enter your name, date of birth, and other required information as it appears on your passport.
- The class of admission on your I-94 determines the non-immigrant status you have been admitted to the US in. You should check to make sure that you have been admitted in the correct non-immigrant status especially if you have more than one visa type in your passport.
- The expiration date on your I-94 record determines how long you are permitted to remain in the United States. You must have a valid I-94 at all times while you are in the United States.
- With every international entry, you must carefully review the I-94 and make sure that 1) your name, date of entry and classification is correct (i.e., make sure if you enter on an H-1B, that it says H-1B and not something else like B-2) and 2) the expiration date is correct and matches the expiration date on your I-797 approval notice
Upon return to U.S., you will need to send the department contact the printed electronic I-94 form, passport page entry stamp, and passport page with your visa stamp. Please note, not all Ports of Entry issue entry stamps.
When you apply for a new visa if the application is denied or delayed (e.g., pending security clearance or submission of additional documentation) you will not be able to reenter the U.S. until all security checks have been completed and the new visa has been issued.