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Travel Advisory for the Holidays

21:40 08 November in News Updates
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Travel Information for Foreign Nationals

As the busy holiday travel season approaches, LAC wishes to provide the following information to assist our clients with international travel.

Time-Saving Travel Programs

  • Travelers Arriving at a Land Border Port of Entry Can Now Pay for I-94 Online

As a way of avoiding long lines at land borders, the I-94 website now allows travelers to submit a request for I-94 online, up to seven days prior to arriving at a land port of entry.  After submitting the application and payment online, travelers will receive a provisional I-94.  The I-94 online application will collect information that is otherwise collected in-person at the land port of entry, including biographic information (name, date of birth, country of citizenship), passport details, visa details (if applicable), and the applicant’s petition/Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVIS) number (if applicable).

Click here to pay for a provisional I-94 online.

  • Trusted Traveler Programs

CBP’s Trusted Traveler Programs (Global Entry, NEXUS, SENTRI, and FAST) provide enrollees with expedited U.S. customs screenings, dramatically reducing travel delays.  Each Trusted Traveler program requires a thorough background check and application fees.  Anyone with even minor criminal, immigration, or customs violations may be excluded from these programs.

Travel FAQs and Advisories

Travel in a non-immigrant classification

Travel with an Advance Parole (AP) Document

Travel to Canada or Mexico with an expired visa or a visa in a different classification
.  We recommend those traveling under the visa revalidation provision print out and carry CBP guidance to assist with questions at the border.

Travel pursuant to Visa Waiver/ESTA. There have been changes with regard to which individuals may travel under the 90-day Visa Waiver Program, also known as ESTA.  Eligibility criteria

For all travelers — I-94 Printout:  Please remember to print and review the I-94 admission document for yourself and each member of your family after each entry to the U.S.

Wait Times

Wait times at U.S./Canada and U.S./Mexico Border

Wait times for visa stamping appointments at U.S. Consulates abroad

Alerts/Potential Delays

  • Individuals with DUI-Related Arrests or Convictions

The U.S. Department of State will revoke the visa stamp of visa-holders with a DUI arrest that occurred within the past five years, unless that arrest has already been vetted as part of a prior visa application.

While the revocation of a visa does not affect the underlying status of a nonimmigrant while inside the U.S., the visa stamp would no longer be valid for international travel.  Therefore, after departure from the U.S. that individual must secure a new visa from a U.S. Consulate abroad prior to returning to the U.S.

Applicants for a visa who have had one alcohol related arrest in the last five years, or two or more in the last 10 years, will be referred to a panel physician for a medical examination prior to visa issuance to rule out a medical ineligibility.

Note that under Canadian law, an individual (of any nationality other than Canadian) may not enter Canada if they have a DUI.  A waiver would be required.

Any DUI-related incident should be brought to the attention of your LAC attorney for an assessment of the potential impacts on the ability to travel and obtain a visa.

  • Individuals with an arrest or conviction for any offense

An arrest or conviction for any offense may result in a visa denial or denial of admission to the U.S.  Please be sure to discuss any such incident with your LAC attorney prior to departure from the United States.  Under attorney-client privilege, this matter will be kept confidential.

  • Visa appointment availability in India

U.S. Consular Posts in India continue to experience extraordinary wait times for nonimmigrant visa (NIV) interview appointments due to increased demand for visas.

Note that Mission India requires applicants for a petition-based visa (such as H-1B or L-1) to have already obtained USCIS approval of the underlying petition before requesting an interview.  That is, the filing of the petition and receipt notice are not sufficient to schedule an appointment.

Alternative Options

Interview Waiver Drop Box option for certain renewals – Those renewing visas may be eligible of an interview waiver dramatically reducing visa renewal wait times.  Eligibility criteria

Apply outside of India – Although the consular post in one’s home country is considered the post with primary jurisdiction, individuals may have the option to apply at a U.S. consular post in another country.  Note that an entry visa to the country in which the U.S. consular post is located may be required for Indian nationals residing in the U.S.  Applicants interested in this option should review the visa application requirements of that particular post to ensure that there are no restrictions on third-country national visa applications.

  • Domestic Travel

For domestic travel we recommend presenting non-immigration related identification, such as a driver’s license, to avoid any unnecessary scrutiny and delay at security.  Although immigration status should not impact travel within the U.S., Transportation Service Agency (TSA) airport security screeners may refer individuals to Immigration authorities if they believe the traveler may be out of status.  This usually arises when an individual presents a passport containing a visa and/or I-94 as a form of identification.  Many of these agents are not adequately trained for this purpose, and many immigration documents are not self-explanatory (for example, an expired visa stamp does not mean a person is out of status).  Please note that while we recommend presenting non-immigration related identification to pass through security while traveling within the domestic U.S. to avoid confusion, all foreign nationals must still carry evidence of lawful immigration status with them at all times.

We wish everyone safe travels this Holiday season.

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