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Immigration Documents


Your passport, issued by your country of citizenship, should always be valid at least six months into the future at the time of your arrival into the U.S.

Form I-797: Multi-purpose Form or Approval for Alien of Extraordinary Ability (O-1) Status

The form I-797 is a multi-purpose form issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Most commonly it is used as a receipt notice or an approval notice related to an application submitted to USCIS. An I-797 that serves as an approval notice may or may not include an original I-94 card on the bottom quarter of the page. I-94 cards are generally included when the application requested an extension or change of status. Individuals should retain the original I-797 form for travel purposes and for their own records. Do NOT lose the original I-797. To replace the form requires an application with fee to USCIS.

Visa Stamp

The visa is a stamp placed in the passport to allow an individual to enter a particular country, such as the U.S. The visa indicates the purpose of someone's visit, and it is valid for a specified number of entries to the United States: one, two, or "multiple," until the expiration date. The validity period of a visa stamp pertains only to the period during which it may be used for admission to the U.S. - it does not indicate how long a person may stay in the U.S.

Note: Canadians do not need visa stamps to enter the U.S.

I-94 card (arrival/departure record)

The I-94 is a small white card (Arrival/Departure record) which all nonimmigrants complete at their port of entry to the U.S. and which an immigration officer validates and staples into their passport. This is a very important document as it indicates the visa classification they are given upon entry to the U.S. and the length of time they may stay. The I-94 card is stamped in red with the date of entry to the U.S. An immigration inspector hand writes the visa classification and date until which a nonimmigrant can stay. In most cases, the I-94 card is taken from the passport upon departure from the U.S. A new one is issued upon re-entry.

Important Immigration Documents
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