As the holiday season approaches and the likelihood of international travel increases, it is important to have the proper immigration documents prepared – particularly a valid passport, unexpired visa, and advance travel permission if necessary. If you are planning to travel internationally to a country in which you are not a citizen, please be aware of the requirements and processes that apply to you.
Important Tasks in Preparation of International Travel:
Check Passport Expiration Dates
Generally, your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond the admission period to your destination country. This requirement is in place to ensure valid departure and entry to another country at the end of your stay. Some countries make exceptions to this rule; however, it is essential to know if any exceptions apply to you. Please consult with your Aires immigration representative to determine whether your passport is valid for your upcoming travels.
Check Visa Validity for Entry and Reentry
In order to enter or reenter the destination country, your visa (if applicable) must show a valid and current immigration status, be unexpired, and have a remaining valid entry available (if your visa type has a limited number of entries). Requirements differ based on citizenship and country of destination. Exceptions may also exist for short trips. Please consult with your Aires immigration representative to see if any exceptions or special circumstances apply to you.
It is also important to highlight that if you are a national from one of the eight countries affected by the U.S. travel ban, please pay special attention to travel restrictions that may apply to you if traveling to the U.S. As of September 24, 2017, the eight designated countries are Chad, Iran, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela, and Yemen. The actual restrictions differ based on the specific country. Please consult with your Aires immigration representative to see if any restrictions apply to you.
Ensure Travel Will Not Jeopardize Pending Status
If you have a change or extension of status application pending, you must ensure that traveling will not jeopardize your application. Generally speaking, traveling should not negatively impact an extension of status; however, it could impact a pending change of status. If you have submitted a change of status application, you should refrain from international travel until it is adjudicated, or until you have received proper travel authorization.
Comply with Visa and Visitor Travel Requirements
If you are entering a foreign country as a visitor, you must pay close attention to work authorization rules. In most instances, foreign nationals visiting a country on a visa waiver or business/visitor visa cannot perform productive work and/or receive any remuneration from that location. If you are unsure if your activities require work authorization, please reach out to your Aires immigration representative.
What to Expect While Traveling:
Potential Delays in Visa Issuance
The holiday travel season is a busy time for consulates and diplomatic posts, so you must be aware of potential delays in visa issuance in order to plan your travel accordingly. If you need to apply for a new visa while abroad, check the relevant consulate or embassy, as there may be season-specific details such as reduced hours. It is important to ensure that you receive the proper information about visa appointments, application procedures, and processing times at your specific consulate location.
Remember to Obtain your Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record
Specifically for foreign nationals returning to the United States after international travel, your Form I-94 Arrival/Departure record notes the expiration date of your authorized stay in the U.S. As such, it is important to obtain an updated copy of this record by accessing the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website here and printing out the latest version. Retain a copy for your personal records and provide a copy to your Aires immigration representative. Also, if you note any errors on your I-94 record, contact your Aires immigration representative for assistance as soon as possible.