Understanding Your Status Expiration
How do I check my Status Expiration Date?
Your status expiration date is indicated on your most recent I-94 arrival record. You will receive a new I-94 when one of the following takes place:
- Change of Status to H-1B (or H-4) in the U.S.: If you changed your immigration status to H-1B (or H-4) status from within the U.S. with USCIS: Your I-94 will be attached to the bottom of the I-797 Approval Notice from USCIS, indicating the validity dates of approved employment with The University of Kansas. The end date indicated on the I-94 is your status expiration date. This is your valid I-94 record until you depart and re-enter the U.S. when you will obtain a new I-94 record.
- International Travel: Upon entering the U.S. or re-entering the U.S. following international travel: US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will create an electronic I-94 record which you can download from https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov, indicating your class of admission (which should be H-1B / H-4) and an "admit until" date, which is your status expiration date. (Click here to download a I-94_Fact_Sheet from US Customs and Border Protection)
Whichever is the most recent action (a change of status from within the U.S. or re-entry to the U.S. following international travel) will be your most recent I-94, and therefore your current status expiration date.
Why is my I-94 Expiring Early?
You status expiration is usually the same date as your Petition Expiration Date (PED), which is the date your H-1B approval as requested by The University of Kansas expires. For example, KU may request three years of H-1B employment for you, and the request is approved. Your PED will generally be three years into the future.
In certain cases, however, both USCIS and/or CBP can issue an I-94 with a shorter expiration date than requested. This can be due to a number of factors, but the most common are the following:
- CBP Error: CBP may have made an error on your most recent admission to the U.S. and given you an earlier expiration date on your I-94 than you may be eligible for. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions about how to get your I-94 information corrected.
- Passport Expiration Date: If your passport expires before the end of the requested H-1B employment (petition expiration date), your I-94 may be truncated (shortened) to expire at the same time as your passport, rather than the H-1B petition. If this happens to you, you must extend your passport and contact HRM immediately for extension instructions.
H-1B Status and Visa Expiration - Are they they same thing?
No. Your H-1B status expiration date is the date your eligibility to stay in the US in H-1B status (or H-4 status) expires. This is not the same as your visa expiration date, which refers to the date your visa stamp in your passport expires. The visa expiration date is the last day you can use the visa to request permission to enter the US after traveling outside the U.S. Your visa stamp may expire while you are in the U.S. without affecting your H-1B (or H-4) status expiration. The visa expiration date can be the same date as your PED, but it may be shorter depending on US government visa reciprocity agreements with your home country, among other factors.
Check your I-94 Regularly!
H-1B workers and H-4 dependents should check the status expiration date on their I-94 records regularly upon each new entry to the U.S. following international travel. This is to ensure that you know when your status expires and you can take appropriate action to extend your status, if necessary.
H-1B Grace Period
The rules surrounding the grace period sometimes granted to H-1B employees can be complicated and it is important to understand that the 60 day grace period people often inquire about is granted at the discretion of DHS (Department of Homeland Security), it is not automatic and it is not applicable after the petition expiration date. Some individuals will have 10 extra days added to their I-94 as a grace period, this is not the same as the 60 day period. "An alien admitted or otherwise provided status in E-1, E-2, E-3, H-1B, H-1B1, L-1, O-1 or TN classification and his or her dependents shall not be considered to have failed to maintain nonimmigrant status solely on the basis of a cessation of the employment on which the alien's classification was based, for up to 60 consecutive days or until the end of the authorized validity period, whichever is shorter, once during each authorized validity period. DHS may eliminate or shorten this 60-day period as a matter of discretion. Unless otherwise authorized under 8 CFR 274a.12, the alien may not work during such a period." 8 CFR 214.1(l)(2)"
Breakdown of the 60- Day Grace Period:
- It applies to H-1Bs, E3s, TNs, O-1s and related employment visa categories
- It applies to extension, portability, and change of status cases.
- It is discretionary, intended to allow more flexibility in movement between jobs
- It allows a grace period of up to 60 days, "or until the end of the authorized validity period, whichever is shorter".
- It is allowed at maximum one-time during each authorized validity period
- It applies to cases where the employee has an approved, valid I-797 (i.e. employment ended early but the approval notice is valid into the future); if the H-1B validity period has already expired, the individual is not eligible for the grace period.
- DHS may eliminate or shorten the 60 day period as a matter of discretion