Home » US Immigration - Visas » US Visa vs Status Difference ? Visa Expired, I-94 Valid – Legal Stay ?

US Visa vs Status Difference ? Visa Expired, I-94 Valid – Legal Stay ?

Many users are not sure, if they need valid US visa to continue to stay in us or if they can continue to stay in even, if their visa has expired. Below are some of the common questions.

  • My H1B Visa expired, but my I-94 is valid. Am I in legal status in US ?
  • My F1 Visa expired, but my I-20 is valid and I am enrolled. Is my F1 status valid ?
  • I am on OPT, my F1 visa is expiring in a month, can I stay in US and work ?
  • L1B Visa expired, but I-94 still valid, Can I stay in US Legally ?
  • H1B visa has expired and I have to travel for India ? What should I do ?
  • H1B is expiring and I should travel for business. What are my options ?

This article will focus on clarifying the differences between US visa and Status. Also, we will address some of the common questions around the visa expiry.

What is US Visa ?

In general, Visa is basically an entry document that you need to show when you enter any country.  In terms of US visa, it is a piece of paper glued in your passport by the US Consulate Office, with your name and details like the type of US visa, expiry date,  photo, etc.  This piece of paper (Visa) stamped/glued in your passport should be produced at the US Port of entry (POE) as part of the POE Procedures , when you enter United States either by land, sea or Air. The key thing is, it has to be valid for you to enter United States. If you leave the country for some reason and would like to come back or re-enter, this Visa has to be valid for the visa type or status you are entering USA.

How do you get US Visa ?  F1, H1B, L1 Visas ?

To get US Visa, you will need to apply for it in your home country at any US Consulate General offices. If you are in US in some other visa and expiring, you can visit other countries that allow stamping for third country nationals like Mexico or Canada and get stamping there as well. In all these cases, you will need to carry all the supporting documents for a visa interview based on the type of visa you are applying it.

US Visa stamping documents include documents sent by your employer for H1B or L1 visa, documents sent by school in America for F1 or J1 visa, your personal documents related to your financial status and eligibility, etc. The Visa Officer at US consulate general would review your documents and information provided and grant US visa based on his discretion. He has the sole authority to give you or deny your visa.

What is ‘Status’ or Lawful immigration Status mean in US Immigration ?

When you enter America by showing your valid US Visa in passport and other documents, as needed, the CBP officer at Port of entry stamps your passport and I-94 ( if by sea or air no physical I-94 card)  with Admission Stamp and annotation indicating your Immigration Status in US and Validity of the same.  Below are some examples

  • If your admission stamp says F1, it means that you are entering America on F1 Visa status. In the ‘until’ field, if it says D/S – it means Duration of Status. What D/S means is that as long as you maintain your current immigration status in US, you can stay in America.  We will talk more below on how to maintain it.
  • If your admission stamp says H1B, you will be in US on H1B Visa status. The until field would indicate until what date you can stay in US, provided you maintain your status.
  • Also, it means that you cannot stay in the country beyond the valid date of I-94. For you to be in legal status, you need to make sure your I-94 remains valid as a basic requirement. I94-F1 Visa

What is maintaining your ‘Visa Status’ or  ‘Status’ in US mean ?

Maintaining your US visa status means that you are not violating any of the immigration rules that are tied to your visa status. For instance, if you are on F1 visa, you should be enrolled full time at a school and have a 3.0 GPA. Also on F1 visa, you can only work 20 hours on campus during regular semesters and not be engaged in off-campus employment. 

Similar to F1 visa, each visa has a set of immigration regulations and you have to following them. If you violate any of the immigration rules tied to a visa status, you will be out of status. If you are out-of-status, your immigration status is illegal and you can be deported and barred from entering in future, also if you exceed grace period. Essentially, if you do NOT maintain status, you are staying illegally in America.

Also, if your I-94 expires at any point of time, you are technically considered not to be in legal status. So, it is important for you to keep I-94 valid all the time. If you received a shorter I-94 duration due to passport expiration, then you need to renew I-94 after you get new passport. Check 5 Options to Renew I-94 in US, Experiences by users

Now that we know these terms, let’s look a the differences.

What is the actual relation or difference between US Visa vs. Status ?

  • Visa is an entry document issued by US consulate abroad and you need a valid visa to enter America or return back to America after any travel.
  • Status is something you get when you enter America using a valid US Visa. Your status is indicated on your admission stamp done at the Port of Entry. It could be anything like  F1, H1B, L1, B1/B2, etc. based on your reason for entry and it will indicate the validity of the status. Your status is only valid, if you maintain it properly by following all the immigration rules as mentioned above.

Phew !  Now that we know what is the relation, lets get to the most commonly asked questions around the US Visa validity and Status.

Common FAQs

F1 Visa expired, but my I-20 is valid. I am enrolled full time. Is my F1 status valid?

Yes, your status is valid, provided you are maintaining your immigration status.  Your F1 Visa stamp in your passport is only good to enter America. Its significance ends there, you do not have to worry about the expiry of the F1 visa. It only plays role, if you would like to re-enter America after traveling to your home country for vacation or holidays.

My L1B, H1B, H4, F1 Visa expired, but I-94 still valid, Can I stay in US Legally ?

Yes, as long as you are maintaining your status and your I-94 ( Electronic or Physical Card) is valid, your status in US is legal. You need to ensure that your immigration documents (like I-20 for F1 students, I-797 approval notice for H1B holders ) that are tied to your status are valid too.

I am on OPT and working now, my F1 visa is expiring, can I continue working after expiry ?

As long as you have maintained your status and not violated anything, your visa stamping expiration does not matter. You can continue to work until your OPT period is done. If you leave the country and try to re-enter, then you will need to have valid visa and you would need to go for stamping at that time. Always keep in contact with your DSO and make sure your have valid I-20 and your status is maintained properly.

H1B, L1, F1 Visa stamp in passport expired – I have to travel to home country like India. Can I re-enter ? What should I do ?

If your visa stamp in passport has expired, it means that you cannot use it to re-enter America after you travel to home country.  Your visa stamp has to be valid, to enter US. You should apply for getting F1, H1B or L1 Visa stamping done in your home country at a US consulate office. Some people travel to other countries to get this visa stamping done, depending on their situation and preference.  Also, on the contrary, if your passport has expired, but your visa is valid, you can still use the same valid visa to re-enter US. Read Enter US with Valid Visa in Expired Passport 

Does that clarify Visa Vs Status in USA ? Did I miss anything ? Any thoughts to add ?

Image Courtesy : http://www.iso.rochester.edu/travel/arrive/i94.html


Other Articles


  1. Hi,
    Mi and my son on L2 visa. My husband on l1 b visa. My husband petition going to expired very soon. He has valid i94 and visa for 2yrs. Me and my son having visa till 1 September.Me and my son came to India for some emergency. And now we want to go back to USA. Is there will be any issues as petition expired.

    • Having valid I-94 does not mean you can stay longer in US, without having proper approval of L1 for the entire duration. You can go back to US, if your Spouse’s L1 is still valid, you will need to show that copy, if asked at Port of entry.

  2. Hello…
    U sm in L1 visa and my family (wife and 2 kids (under 12)) are in L2 visa. My question is my L2 visa got extended here in US. But for Family emergency I have travelled alone to India. My family is still in US. I wanted to go for stamping. So is it compulsory that my dependents stamping should be done same time…? I mean I have bought them with me for stamping ? Is it mandatory to do L1 & L2 (dependents) stamping together? Plz help. Thank you.

  3. Hi I am on TN visa and my visa is going to expire on July 2019 now I have valid I 94 till July 2021 , can I stay in US for work on Expired TN visa with valid I 94.

  4. Hi I am on L1 B and my visa is going to expire on 23 sept 2018 now I have valid I 94 till 2021 , can I stay in US for work on Expired L1b visa with valid I 94.

    • You need to work with your employer and get your L1B filed for extension, just having I-94 expiry date until 2021 does not let you work in valid status. Due to L1 Blanket Approval for companies, sometimes these dates are not matching and CBP officer can put in incorrect dates. You need to follow the expiry date on the approved L1B petition and apply for extension accordingly to continue to work in proper status. I suggest you speak to your attorney and employer and have it clarified and take necessary action to work in right status.

  5. I am o n H4 visa ans have I 94 and 797 till sep 2019 but my visa is expiring in sep 2018.. same is with my husband.. now if i go to India and get it stamped do i need my husband to come along or can that be done on his i 94 ?

    • Hi,
      My L1B visa has validity of March 2020 but my i94 has date as December 2020.
      My question is will my status in US is legal after march 2020 if
      a) the extension is still pending from USCIS
      b) the extension isn’t filed??

      • a. you will be in period of authorized stay during pending of extension application.
        b. you should file extension before March 2020…You need to have valid petition in addition to the I-94.

  6. Hi,

    I am Chinese working in US on L1A visa with an expiration date of Apr 2018, but my I-129s and I-94 are unexpired until May 2019. Is it possible for me to go on a business trip to Canada for a few weeks and get back to US in May 2018 with an expired L1A Visa?


    • No, you will need to get your L1A extended to re-enter. You can face issues at POE as you do not have valid documents of L1A to work in US after Apr 2018.

  7. Hi,
    My passport is going to expire in Feb 2018 and I have recently renewed my indian passport. But I have valid i94 till 2019 with old passport number.
    Should I need to inform new passport details to get updated in i94 ? If yes, What is the process? Could you please help.

    • You can go to nearest CBP office at any port of entry ( international airport ) and get it updated or you can leave the country and re-enter to get it updated. You will need to pay 6$ fee I think. You can check CBP office website for the locations. We plan to write an article in the next couple of days on this, stay tuned.

  8. Please Clarify my doubts below,

    Hi, my name is Girish. I have an F1 Visa Valid for next 2 years, but i am in India for past 10 months due to personal issues. I am applying for readmission for same university and course, do i need to apply for new F1 Visa and Sevis or can i ask for extension of my F1 Visa with new Sevis record..???


  9. When is an H1-B visa out of status,

    Case 1: As per my understanding if you quit the job and if employer decides to revoke your H1 status then its out of status IMO. How long does the H1 revoke process takes usually and is it a normal process that once you leave company they revoke the visa?

    Case 2: if you get an RFE and it’s rejected then you are out of status, Please correct me if my understanding is wrong

  10. Hi Saurabh,

    My H1B petition got approved just last week and I am in India currently. My Husband is in USA on H1B. Can I go for H4 stamping and travel on H4 visa . Will this effect my H1B petition.

    Also when my husband applied for H1B he did not include spouse name in his petition. For me now to go for H4 stamping does he need to add spouse name in H1B or can I carry his I797 and I129 for stamping. Could you answer as soon as possible


  11. Hello,

    I am on a L1B visa with my wife and son in L2. Our I-94 expires in May 2017, while our visa expiry is in June 2017.

    As my son’s school closes for summer vacation only in mid June, I was wondering what options do I have to stay for an extra month legally and not to miss my son’s classes. I guess I-94 expiry is what matters which is in May and not June.

    I heard that visa can be extended (not sure about I-94) from the US but then it would be difficult to go back to India if it is not extended from India. Is that true

  12. Hi ,

    I got H1B in the lottery this year , but its in RFE stage ,we have h1b receipt number.My h4 Visa expired on sept 19th 2016(8 days back).do I need to apply h4 e tention now or am I eligible to stay here ? please give me a clarity on this..thanks in advance …

    • Sujay,

      If H-1 was applied w/ COS, then you can stay for up to 240 days beyond I-94 expiration date of H-1 denial date (whichever is earlier). If H-1 is approved w/o COS, then also you need to leave US.

      • Hi surabh,

        Thank you so much for the info..my doubt if H1approved also I need to leave US?

        It means I need to go to india for stamping ?can you please clarity on this ….

        • Sujay,

          You have to see if H-1 is approved w/ COS or w/o COS. If former, no need to leave US immediately. You can delay stamping until next trip outside US. If latter, you need to get the visa stamped first before starting to work on H-1 (or file a separate COS).

  13. Anna

    Hi I came in USA with J1 visa by the program Work and Travel and I was working for three months. I changed my status from J1 to F1 and I am a full time student now.
    After a year and half I would like to go back in my country and visit my family,
    but the change of status was received while I was in the USA so I don’t actually have a F1 visa stamp in my passport. Will this cause any problem during returning back to USA?

  14. Hi
    I am working in US for last 3 months . I need to go back to India on an emergency.My current H1B visa is expiring on Sep 30 2016 and employer is not intersted in H1B extention.
    Question : Can i still come back to US through a new employer with the same H1B quota(without going into the lottery process) after the visa expiry ?
    Response is highly appreciated.

    • Vijay,

      Yes, cap-exempt petition can be filed even after the current visa has expired, and doesn’t need to go through the lottery.

      • Thank you very much for your response. This is a very good tip for me. Can you also tell me how difficult is to get the Visa if we re-request it . Will the visa expiration be a stumbling block in the path of Visa renewal (for eg: if we are trying to renew the visa after some 6 months through another employer ?)



        • Vijay Vakkayil,

          You are eligible for cap-exempt petition within 6 years of original end date. So until Sep 30, 2022 in your case. The petition would still be subject to regular rules and checks, but it won’t be impacted by the fact that your old petition has already expired.

  15. Hi Saurabhn

    I m in Damn dilemma in choosing one of the below options.

    I have been working on one of the Top IT service based companies and got the below offfers.Please suggest me one best.

    – Accept the nomination for the L 1 B visa and travel to US.(I heard the Rehection rate is High)
    – Look for NON-US like Australia/UK.

    Note: MY Intension is to save money

    Pleaase suggest

  16. Hi,

    Can we work on I-94 after the L1 visa petition expired and with a valid I-94. The date on I-94 is given 2 years more than the petiiton end date .


      • Hi Saurabh,

        X employer applied for my H1B extension and approved for 3 years along with I94 (Till 2017) and after a year i transferred to Y employer and approved for only 1 year. Now Y employer is applied for extension again and rejected.
        Can i work in USA with Y Employer by using X employer valid I94 ?

        • Suman Sambareddy,

          Is X’s I-94 number still the current I-94 number? In other words, have you left US since X’s extension petition was approved? If you have not left US, then you can join X if they are willing to hire you again.

        • Hi,

          Me and husband are on L2 visa and our visa expired one year ago but we are now living on i94 which is till aug2018 but recently my husband’s company they moved my husband’s location and ask us to file for location change in petition but since our visa is expire already we cant file a location change so company suggested us to file L1b visa extension and we filed in april and now today we got a RFE on that. so my question is if our L2 visa extension rejected is their any option we can still live or there is not an option ? (our i94 is still valid till aug2018)

  17. hi
    one of my candidate is having a stamp of US-Immigration on his passport which says CLASS-C 1, and UNIT-V IDPP
    what is the meaning of this stamp,
    pls advise.
    Thank You

  18. Hello,
    I am currently a student with an F1 visa that will expire in late March. I was planning on going home to visit my family for a month in December and coming back early January. Will the United States let me re-enter the country when my visa is set to expire in March? I am worried that my visa must be good for more than three months when I re-enter.

  19. Hi, I recently came back from US (3 months back). I was there for 4.4 years on L1b. Now my visa is expired and my employer is ready to file another New L1B . Is it ok to do so ? Will it be rejected by USCIS ?

  20. D/S means Duration of Status, not Duration of Stay. This makes sense, since admitting someone for “duration of stay” would mean that they can stay as long as they want, while admitting someone for “duration of status” means they can stay as long as they continue to hold the status that entitles them to be in the US. For example, if you are on a student visa, and you cease to be a student, your student status has ended, and you must leave (or adjust to a different status).

  21. Hi,

    I got H1B approval notice, but do not have the stamp on my passport. Trying to fill some forms, I need to write my visa number, issue date and consular location. Should I use my H1B recipe # as my visa number? Should I use my H1B recipe date as the issue date? or the start valid date? Should I use the USCIS office address as the consular location? or all of that is wrong and I should fill the details of my previous J2 visa (with its stamp on my passport)?

    Thank you !!!

  22. Hi All,

    Can you all please confirm, Is there any limitation like an H1 B applicant should go for H1B VISA stamping within some period after it extended.

    In my case, H1 b extension was filled in September 2013 and approved in December 2013 for 3 years (09/30/2013 to 09/29/2016).
    I return to India in October 2013 as my onsite work was complete.
    After returning to India I did not go for VISA stamping in US embassy here in INDIA as there was no plan to go to US that time.

    Now we have position in US with same employer and location and i want to avail this opportunity.

    Can you please confirm, Is there any limitation like an H1 B applicant should go for H1B VISA stamping within some period after it extended or can I go for VISA stamping any time till I797 is valid (09/29/2016).

  23. Hi Folks,
    I need some information regarding my Status in USA.
    I am currently on F2 visa in US and got my H1B approved for fy2015- 2016.
    My husbands F1 status expires on July 18 2015 as per I-94.He is applying for an OPT right now with a start date of Sep 1 2015.
    Hence given this situation, what will be my status after July 2015 if there is any delay in receiving the OPT approval or something, I am not sure about the process?
    Will my status become invalid before Oct 1st 2015 when I can start to work?
    Please throw some light here I am really confused!!!!

  24. please ASAP my son passport expires in march he is studing in usa,please advise can he obtain a new passport in the usa, or he will have 2 come back @ india for his passport,Thanks

  25. Hi,
    Currently, i am on L1B Visa with Company A. I am planning to file my H1B visa thru company B. Once it is picked from lottery and petition is approved. Can i go to India for couple of week before 1 october on my current L1 Visa and Re-enter on the same Visa. If yes, what would be the cost involved for updating the I-194 travel dates to US government. what would be risk invloved in processing of approved H1 Petition.

  26. Hello. I came into US with L1. 2 months prior to L1 getting expired, i made visit to india and when comming back, they gave I94 extn for 2 more yrs. Now I have H1 via diff employer. Can i work with my L1 employer untill i94 is valid and then switch to H1 status?

  27. Hello,
    How long do we have to leave the country after an O1 visa was withdrawal? There is any period of grace in this case? Thank you in advance!

  28. Hi I apied for f1 visa is approved on june 2014 but unfortunately I haven’t gone for fall intake to USA
    My question is
    1) how many days my visa is valied can I go with same visa for next fall intake 2015
    2) can I apply for other university and can I transfer my sevis to new univ from india

  29. Hi,
    I stayed in US for about 6 months with H1b in July-December’2012 with company A. After that i came back to india due to some personal reasons. Then i did not travel again back to US. I swithced to company B. My visa got expired on 24-Oct-2014. will i be able to extend my visa through company C using premium processing ?
    Your advice will be highly appreciated.
    Saravanakumar D

  30. Hello Bluj/Others,
    I am in the similar situation. But in my case, I came to US on P visa and left US when my visa had expired but my I-94 was still valid. I surrendered my I-94 at the airport as per usual norm. Now, I am planning to go back to US again after several years. (Even my I-94 has expired now). So when I go to apply for my new visa, do I need to show a photo copy of my I-94 to prove that I didn’t overstay during my last visit to US even though my visa had expired that time. My problem is, I don’t have a copy of my I-94 and I am not able to get it online since its been more than 5 years since then. And I heard people’s visa application getting rejected and being banned from entering the country in similar scenarios. Is it true?
    Please Help!

  31. Hi,

    My H1B was stamped in March 2009 & visa got expired in April 2011 but I did not travel anytime on this visa does my petition still stand Valid & Cap exempt please help me to understand my visa status

    Atul Relekar

  32. Hi,

    My L1B VISA will expire in June 24th 2015. However H-1B VISA status change approved and effective from Oct 2014. I am planning to go to India on Jan 2015. Can I travel through London Hethrow without any Transit VISA as my L-1B VISA is not expired ? Also while boarding in USA, which I-94 I should carry ? IS it thw one which comes with L-1B or the new I-94 which is approved with H-1B ? Having Different I-94’s gives any issues while travelling in british airways ?


  33. Hi Saurabh,

    I am on H1B. I am travelling to India on 29th Nov and Coming back on 6th Jan. My current H1 is expiring on Jan 15 2015 and so does my I-94. But I will have new extended I797 for the H1B visa when I come back as I have requested my employer to file for the extention. Can you please advice on this scenario on following questions.
    1) Will Immigration officer give me I94 of 10 days only since my current H1 is expiring in 10 days even though have extended I 797.

    2) If it is YES to question 1 will I have to file for the H1 ammendment?

    Your help will be very much appreciated.


  34. I am working on L1B with company A. My visa expired Sep-2012 but I have a valid I94 until dec-2014. Company B has applied H1B visa on COS. Can I resign company A and join company B once my H1B is approved? Can company A ask me to serve until my I94 expiration date? Is it legal?

  35. Hi

    i just have finished my summer semester, and i would like to go to my country and spend the last three weeks with my family. However, when i am coming back to the united states my visa will be about two months away from expiration, but my i-20 and passport are totally fine. do you think if the imgration will stop me because of my Visa is about to expire. And, what you advice me to do?

  36. i just have finished my summer semester, and i would like to go to my country and spend the last three weeks with my family. However, when i am coming back to the united states my visa will be about two months away from expiration, but my i-20 and passport are totally fine. So, what you advice me to do?

  37. Hello
    i just have finished my summer semester, and i would like to go to my country and spend the last three weeks with my family. However, when i am coming back to the united states my visa will be about two months away from expiration, but my i-20 and passport are totally fine. So, what you advice me to do?

    • You should be fine to travel, if your I-20 and passport are fine. You should also talk to DSO at your school and seek advice on this.

  38. my job appointment ended on june 30, my I94 indicates valid until july 31 (one month later), does it mean that i am legal in the us until july 31? i have been told just right now that i am not, that i have to leave the us just the day my job ends, and i got worried, i want to return to Europe but i need time to finish my things here, after 5 years. My driver license will also expire on july 31. I have to sell my belongings and end my things and it is impossible to leave right now! I am freaking out!!! please help!!!

  39. Hi,
    I am having valid L1 from my current employer A till
    2016. This year I applied for H1 and my petition has been approved
    from employer B. Currently I am staying in India.
    I want to resign my current employer A.
    Can I work for employer B in US after 1st october 2014
    with my L1 Visa stamping and H1 approved petition?
    Is it required to get my H1 stampped?

  40. Hi,

    I am an Indian national working in the US on a L-1 visa and have recently gained admission for a masters program in the US. My program starts from Sep’14, but I would like to apply for the student visa as early as June’14 in India. However, I intend to come back and keep working for my current employer till I the program starts.

    My question: If I go to India to get a student visa, will my L-1 visa be valid till the dates of the student visa are in effect. Will there be a problem on re-entry or if I travel internationally till my student visa is in effect ?

    Thanks in advance for your response.

  41. Hello

    I applied for H1 on Apr 2013 as a change of Status from L1 to H1.
    I got it approved on July 2013. I went to India in August for a week and came back.
    I entered on L1 with a new I-94. After I came back , I continued to work for the L1 employer till now . Now I want to start working for my H1 employer (my H1 petition was approved till 2017 but on old I94)

    1) What is my status now L1 or H1 ? Is there any way to find out
    2) Do i need to do a change of status again ? or only a I94 amendment?

    Please provide me with your valuable suggestions

    • Alex,
      1. L-1 as you entered recently on L-1 visa.
      2. Yes, COS needs to be filed from L-1 to H-1. Once approved, you can start working on H-1 and need to stop working on L-1.

  42. Hi,

    Currently, I am in US and my H1-B visa expired in 2013 but i94 valid till 2015. If, I need to travel India but afraid, if didn’t get the approval. This may hamper my entire matters in USA at both personal and professional fronts.

    Please confirm me what will be the consequences of this situation? Also, what should be immediate measurements that I need to take?


    • Am2014,
      To return to US, you need a valid H-1 visa. If you travel and are unable to receive the H-1 visa, then there is no option but to wait outside US until the process is complete.

  43. Hi,

    My Visa Expired in Jun 2013 , I am on I-94 from Oct 2011. I have I-94 till Sep 30th 2014

    Can I apply for I-94 extension . Will it be extended

    • Sam,
      Yes, I-94 extension can be applied. Chances of approval depend upon a lot of factors and there is no easy answer to guess the outcome.

  44. My wife was on F1 during APR 2012 and a company filed H1 with Change of Status. She got H1 approved on Jun 2012 and got an I94 with Change of status activation from Oct1st 2012. After she received the H1 she went for India and had a H4 stamping and returned to US on H4 on Sep13 2012, the I94 end date is Nov 13 2013. As per my discussion with company’s attorney , Attorney said her H1 I94 will be automatically activated from Oct1st 2012. And she started working from Oct1st 2012. Recently we got to know that we can look at the electronic I94 through online and when i verified the I94 it has the H4 I94 details and looks like the H1 I94 never got activated. Can you please suggest the future course of action.

  45. I came to US on L1b and my wife on L2. L1b/L2 and I-94 for both of us were valid till 6th Sept 2013. My employer applied for L1 to H1 COS in april 2013, got selected in lottery. While H1 COS was in progress, my employer applied for L1 extn for me and L2 extn for my wife for us to maintain status. My employer also applied for my wife’s L2 to H4 COS in Sept.

    Current Situation –
    My L1 extn denied on 20th Feb 2014
    My wife’s L2 extn denied on 21st Feb 2014
    My H1 COS approved on 20th Feb 2014
    My wife’s H4 is still in initial review since 19th Sept 2013 (her I94 has already expired on 6th Sept 2013)

    My Questions –
    1. Can my wife continue to stay here until her H4 is approved?
    2. Is she maintaining valid status as her H4 is in progress?
    3. If she is not in valid status how much time does she have to leave the country? I need number of days? today is the 5th day from when her L2 extn is denied.
    4. Is there any other option available for her to maintain status?
    5. Can we apply for H4 Premium Processing?

  46. Hi, I am working in US on h1b visa and my both visa and petition expires on 31 Jan 2014. But I have a valid i94 till July 2014. I haven’t applied for extension. Can I stay and work beyond 31 Jan 2014? Also if I have to apply for extension, what would be the date by when I need to apply for extension?


  47. Kumar,

    Nice article. Will you please brief on though I-94 is the legal document that lets you to stay till its expiry, I have been hearing things like if we cross certain days without visa, your re-entry and new visas in future will be a problem.
    Visa expired and staying on I-94 till 6 months gives a 3 years ban in future.
    Beyond 6 months and less than 365 is 5 year ban.
    anything above 365 days is 10 year ban.

    Are these true? Even if these are not true, what if USCIS or VO asks about this scenario. WHY did you stay beyond Visa expiry without applying Visa extension.?

    Can you also explain the new I-94 process? These are automated now against the olden days(before April 2013) where an alien is stapled a piece of paper on his/her passport about I-94 and expiry.

    When it is automated in April 2013, does system give max stay time till end of visa or does the Immigration officer enters it manually in the system.

    • Hello lionking
      is this statement true, kindly confirm
      Visa expired and staying on I-94 till 6 months gives a 3 years ban in future.
      Beyond 6 months and less than 365 is 5 year ban.
      anything above 365 days is 10 year ban.

      My visa already expired and I am on I 94 and now I am in the process of applying H1B visa ,

      • Can you please update us on this. I am on L1 visa and that will expire on Dec 2014 but i-94 valid till Mar 2016. can i stay up-to Mar 2016 without visa extension.

        • I worked in US for 1.5 years after my L1 visa expired, because my I-94 was still valid. There was no problem in applying and getting any subsequent visas.
          This is a very common scenario, so don’t worry. Only problem is that you won’t be able to exit the country and enter again without getting a new visa after your visa is expired. (even if I-94 is valid).

          • Hi BluJ,

            Could you please help to clarify the below?

            I am in L1B visa in US since 6 months my I 94 and L1B visa both valid till 15th March 2018. My I 129 petition got expired on March 1st 2016 and applied for extension its got denied. could you please let me know can i stay in US based on I94 and L1B Visa status till 2018 or do i need to leave the country since I 129s Extension Denied. Thanks.


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