Entering the United States
A visa allows a foreign citizen to travel to a U.S. port-of-entry (generally an airport) and request permission to enter the United States. A visa does not guarantee entry into the United States. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials at the port-of-entry have the authority to permit or deny admission to the United States. If you are allowed to enter the United States, the CBP official will provide an admission stamp or a paper Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record). The CBP official will determine how long you will be allowed to stay and this will be indicated on your stamp or I-94 as your Admit Until Date. Learn more about admissions and entry requirements, restrictions about bringing food, agricultural products, and other restricted or prohibited goods, and more by reviewing the CBP website.
Extending Your Stay
You must depart the United States on or before the Admit Until Date indicated on your admission stamp or paper Form I-94. Failure to depart the United States on time may result in you being ineligible for visas you may apply for in the future.
If you would like to stay in the U.S. beyond this date, you must make a request to USCIS to extend your stay prior to your Admit Until Date. See Extend Your Stay on the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website to learn about requesting an extension of your stay beyond the date indicated on your admission stamp or Form I-94.
Change of Status
While in the United States, you may be able to request that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) change your nonimmigrant status to another nonimmigrant category. See Change My Nonimmigrant Status on the USCIS website to learn more.
Requesting a change of status from USCIS while you are in the United States and before your authorized stay expires does not require that you apply for a new visa. However, if you cannot remain in the United States while USCIS processes your change of status request, you must apply for a new visa at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate.
The approval of a petition submitted by your prospective employer does not guarantee that you will be issued a visa. Do not make final travel plans or buy tickets until your visa has been approved.
Spouse and Children –
- With the exception of Cultural Exchange Visitor (Q-1) visa applicants, your spouse and unmarried, minor children may also apply for the same visa category as you to accompany or join you. You must be able to show that you will be able to financially support your family in the United States.
- For information about employment and study for your family members, review Temporary Workers information and Employment Authorization on the USCIS website.
We cannot guarantee that you will be issued a visa. Do not make final travel plans or buy tickets until you have a visa.
Unless canceled or revoked, a visa is valid until its expiration date. Therefore, a valid U.S. visa in an expired passport is still valid. If you have a valid visa in your expired passport, do not remove it from your expired passport. You may use your valid visa in your expired passport along with a new valid passport for travel and admission to the United States.