My current visa H-4 VISA is valid till Nov 25 2016.
- I had applied for an change of status/extension of stay (I539) for H-4 status to July 4 2018 (through underlying H-1 extension).
- I had to travel to India while it was pending. USCIS issued an I-797 - Approval for the extension of stay without abandoning it.
- At the port of entry, the I-94 expiry was marked as Dec 25 2016.
- The expiry date does not jive with the original VISA expiry date Nov 25, 2016 that was presented at the time of arrival. Nor does it reflect the I-539 extended date of July 4 2018 (that was not presented at port of entry).
Please advise -
a) What action would I required to correct I-94 expiry date? Who do I contact to correct it?
b) I am filing for a I-485 adjustment as a spouse of EB-3, The forms require to put the status expiry date. Is it OK to use the more conservative Nov 25 2016 date even though I-539 has been erroneously approved till July 4 2018?
See clip from Attorney Rajiv S. Khanna's conference call video that addresses this question.
This is a recurring issue, so first of all I want to address the problem and the possible solutions or the lack of solutions. Often times we have a case, we have a case working on right now actually. This lady entered the US on H-4 visa which was good for let’s say till 2017 but her passport was expiring in 2016 or 2015 She comes in and Customs and Border Protection gives her I-94 only till the date of her passport approval. And sometimes they do that; they will give it to the extent of visa approval, which is incorrect. Your visa could be expiring earlier than your approval. They should still give you the I-94 all the way to your approval not till your visa. In this case they gave it only till 2015 and she is been here over a year now in unlawful presence not realizing that she has been given less stay than 2017.
So, this is a very complicated issue or problematic issue. They will correct the mistakes they have made. If they have made a mistake giving you a wrong date or giving you the date till visa not the approval date, you can actually go back to the CBP at the airport or any of their offices or nearby posts. They have lists of them at www.cbp.gov website and you can ask your I-94 to be corrected.
But there are certain things they don't consider them as errors, such as approval till the passport expiration that cannot be corrected. Then the question is what do you do then?
You have two choices; either you can do the extension of status or current status by filing the form I- 539 or I-129, if you are H-1, L-1 holder. For H-1, L-1 they do it all over again as new case. For H-4 it’s less complicated or simple or you can step outside USA, showing your visa and comeback and receive your I-94 approval. But if your I-94 is already expired, you must speak with your lawyer before you leave. You could very well subject to the bar which comes from the unlawfully present.
So, in this case what happened is the person who has the above question traveled to India while change of status for H-1 to H-4 was pending.
Now USCIS should have declined change of status because they left US, came back received I-94 good till December 2016. The visa expiration date is November 2016, which is what I gave at the airport he says.
What action would I required to correct I-94 expiration date?
Look you can go back to the CBP, make your case that you have made an error, I don’t see the error. If anything they have given you is more time not less and because you traveled abroad while your change of status was pending , that approval is really not worth anything. That’s the mistaken approval.
I am filing for a I-485 adjustment as a spouse of EB3, The forms require to put the status expiry date. Is it OK to use the more conservative Nov 25 2016 date even though I-539 has been erroneously approved till July 4 2018?
I would use the date which they have given you in I - 94 and I would attach an explanation saying that this date maybe incorrect but you don't know. According to your calculation it should have been November 2016.
I always like to make full disclosure to the government, so that they don't come back and create a problem with the discrepancy.