Four Things Foreign Nationals Should Know about Traveling Abroad
Many foreign nationals travel abroad and renew their visas during the holidays. This process, however, is becoming more challenging, restrictive, and time-consuming.
Here are answers to four FAQs that we often receive about this process.
What should an applicant do to prepare for the interview?o Be informed. Thoroughly prepare for the expected - and expect the unexpected as well.
o Review the appointment notice. Bring all required documents in a concise and organized fashion, so the documents can be produced effortlessly. Documents should not be stapled.
o Bring all required documents. Make clear and legible photocopies, and don't forget any required original documents.
o Do not submit oversized documents. All documents must be 8.5 x 11 inches.
What is the interview like?The interview with the consular officer typically lasts five to ten minutes. But the applicant should block at least half a day for the whole interview process.
The officer will ask five to ten questions to verify information. For an employment-based interview, questions might include:
o What will you be doing in the United States?
o How much will you be paid?
o Who is your employer?
o How long will you stay in the United States?
o Do you intend to immigrate permanently to the United States?
Short and concise answers are suggested. A successful interview should result in the approval of the visa.
What happens during the readmission process?An immigration officer will interview the applicant again to approve his/her admission to the United States. A visa issuance is not a guarantee of an admission by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer.
What should you do after each readmission to the United States?The foreign national should check his/her I-94 Arrival/Departure Record every time they enter the United States to ensure they are admitted in the correct category and for the appropriate length of time.
Checking the I-94 record is easy. It only requires a few minutes and passport information.
The I-94 record can be checked online here: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home
There is a high rate of error on the admission records. It is important that the record is correct. The I-94 governs the lawful stay of the foreign national in the United States - not the passport, visa, or petition approval.
It is also important to plan for potential long wait times and thorough questioning, including questions about recent travel, work, and family.