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Judith
Judith, Immigration Lawyer
Category: Immigration Law
Satisfied Customers: 28205
Experience:  34 years as practicing immigration attorney, with non-immigrant and immigrant visa experience.
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I'm an Indian citizen working in the USA on an H1- visa.

Customer Question

Hi,I'm an Indian citizen working in the USA on an H1-B visa. My H1-B visa is valid till Dec 24, 2016. However, my Indian passport expired on Jan 18, 2016. My I-94 was issued till the end of my passport and hence, it expired as well.Unfortunately, I did not take note of it until Jan 22, 2016. When I did, I notified my employer and I was terminated as I was not authorized to work (I will be re-employed when I'm authorized). I renewed my passport immediately and I'll get my new passport on Jan 27, 2016.I'm planning to visit a CBP Deferred Inspection Office on Jan 28 to plead my case and request them to extend my I-94. However, I wanted to ask you what my other options are.- If the office refuses to extend my I-94 and asks me to re-enter the US to get a new I-94, can I visit Mexico (just to the airport and back to get a new I-94) with my current H1-B visa?- What is my current H1-B status, given that I'm unemployed? I have a valid I-797 and my employer will rehire me immediately.- If the office decides to void my H1-B visa, what are my options?Thank you.
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Immigration Law
Expert:  Judith replied 10 months ago.

Hello my name is ***** ***** I am delighted to answer your questions today. I have 35 years experience as an immigration lawyer.

If the office refuses to extend my I-94 and asks me to re-enter the US to get a new I-94, can I visit Mexico (just to the airport and back to get a new I-94) with my current H1-B visa?
Yes, but you have to insist to the airline to surrenderyour expired I-94 so that when you come through inspections on return flight the CBP has to issue you a new I-94.
- What is my current H1-B status, given that I'm unemployed? I have a valid I-797 and my employer will rehire me immediately.

You are out of status and since your I-94 is expired the inspector can claim your visa became void under INA 222g

See this link

http://www.immihelp.com/visas/222g.html

Usually you can only apply for a new visa in home country but read the above link which is the Dept of State Memorandum and you may plead your case that you expired under exceptional circumstances because you did not know that the I-94 was issued only until passport expiration date.

You may want to consider going to Canada instead since it is easier to fly to India from Canada if your visa is refused in the third country. Vancouver is usually a good post.

- If the office decides to void my H1-B visa, what are my options?

Only option is to find a new employer to petition you.

Of course, I am sure you understand your positive rating is very important to me as we are not on salary and that is how we receive compensation, you choosing a smiley face or 3+ stars
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Judith

Expert:  Judith replied 10 months ago.

Because of the complexities of your case I do suggest a phone discussion.

Judith