Summer Travel Planning and U.S. Immigration
If you are a foreign national planning to travel abroad this summer, now is the time to make sure you have the immigration documents and instructions you need to depart and re-enter the United States. Understanding your immigration obligations can help minimize travel delays.
Tips for Traveling Abroad this Summer
Before you travel abroad this summer, make sure to do the following:
Check your passport validity. In general, your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the expiration of your period of admission to the United States. This is to ensure that you will be able to leave the United States at the end of your stay and proceed to your home country or another country. There are some exceptions to this rule.
Complying with the Visa Waiver Program. If you're planning business or tourist travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program, make sure you comply with program requirements. The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens and nationals of designated countries to enter the United States for up to 90 days of business or tourist travel without a visa, provided that they meet specific registration and passport requirements.
Check your visa to make sure it is valid for reentry to the United States. When you come back to the United States after international travel, the visa stamp in your passport must reflect your current nonimmigrant visa status, it must be unexpired, and, if the visa has a limited number of entries, it must have a remaining valid entry available on the intended date of reentry to the United States.
What To Expect At U.S. Consulates And Ports Of Entry
At the U.S. port of entry, be prepared for enhanced security screening procedures. When you return to the United States, you will need to go through the Biometric Data Collection System, a check-in process where your fingerprints, photograph and travel documents are scanned against U.S. national security and police databases. You may also be subject to intensive questioning about your immigration status, travel history, the purpose of your visit, background, employment and other issues. This could include a search of your electronic devices.
It is important to remain patient during the inspection process. Before you travel, check your employer’s procedures for dealing with searches of company-owned phones, laptops and other devices. During inspection, answer questions to the best of your ability. If you don't understand a question, ask for clarification. If you are detained at the port of entry, you are generally not entitled to have a lawyer present, but you should ask for permission to call your immigration provider if the need arises. You should explain that contacting your immigration provider will allow them to contact your employer if further information is required.
Obtain your Form I-94 arrival record. Once you have been cleared by U.S. Customs and Border Protection at an air or sea port of entry, your passport will be stamped to show the date and class of admission, and the expiration date of your authorized stay. Your immigration information and duration of stay will also be entered into CBP's online I-94 arrival record system. The expiration date on the passport stamp and the I-94 record marks the expiration of your eligibility to remain in valid legal status in the United States. Overstaying this date can have serious consequences.
After your arrival in the United States, you must obtain a printout of your online I-94 here. You should send a copy to your immigration provider professional and retain one for your records. Notify your immigration provider professional as soon as possible if you note any errors in your I-94 record.
© 2019 Fragomen, Del Rey, Bernsen & Loewy, LLP, Fragomen Global LLP and affiliates. All Rights Reserved. This alert is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or give rise to an attorney-client relationship between you and Fragomen Worldwide. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen Worldwide.
Cartus Recommendations for Relocation Managers
- Plan in advance. Ensure that you have all the required immigration documents to enter your country of destination.
- Work with an expert. We recommend that you work with your immigration services provider to review your host country visa requirements.
Please contact your Cartus representative if you have any questions, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.