The consular officer typically annotates the H1B visa foil with the petition number and expiration date of the I-797 approval notice presented at the U.S. consular post abroad when the visa is issued (commonly referred to as a visa “stamp”). The foreign national applicant typically does not need to present a copy of the I-797 H1B approval notice to the CBP officer at the border or port of entry (POE) at the time of admission to the United States in H1B status.
Instead, the applicant can simply present the visa and a passport that has not expired, and the CBP officer will typically admit the applicant until the visa’s expiration date is noted. However, if after being issued the visa, the foreign national is granted a new I-797 approval notice with a later expiration date, which frequently happens following the approval of a petition for an H1B expansion or change of employer, failure to present the new I-797 at the POE likely will lead to being granted an I-94 with a truncated expiration date, and potentially lead to future status problems.
Visa Validity Background
As discussed the validity of the H1B visa stamp after a change of employer (21. Feb. 2019,) the H1B visa stamp may continue to be used after a change to a different H1B employer or after an H1B amendment or extension is granted as long as it is facially valid. However, the employer typically requests that the petition be approved for the maximum validity period of three years whenever an H1B amendment or change of employer is filed. If granted, the new expiration date does not appear on the passport visa stamp.
Present Latest Approval Notice at POE
The applicant for admission must present the most recent I-797 approval notice. To the officer at the POE whenever an H1B worker enters the United States. To work on a petition that differs from the one listed on the visa in the passport. This is especially critical in situations where the most recent I-797 does not match the visa’s expiration date. Otherwise, the CBP officer will almost certainly restrict the individual’s stay to the visa’s expiration date.
Potential Complications with an Incorrect I-94 Date
An unintentional overstay could occur if the H1B worker fails to notice that the I-94 expiration date has been extended. Or, a CBP officer may grant status beyond what is permitted by the most recent approval notice. If the most recent I-797 has an expiration date that is earlier than the one listed on the visa. In the latter scenario, unauthorized employment and a violation of status may result. If the employee continues to work after the latest approval notice expires.
H-4 Dependents Should Also Present Latest Approval Notice
A facially valid H-4 visa can be used after the principal H1B worker changes employers (or if an extension is granted), just like an H1B visa stamp. The H-4 dependent must present a copy of the approved I-797 form that the principal is working on. In this case to receive an I-94 with the correct expiration date.
Traveling to and from the United States can quickly become routine for many H1B workers. It is suggested that, as a feature of this daily schedule, such nonimmigrants start introducing the ongoing approval notice. To guarantee that the latest I-94 card matches the legitimacy dates of the ongoing approval.