Easing U.S. Re-entry for Winter Travel

Many individuals and families choose to travel throughout the holiday season. Below are some tips to make re-entry into the United States as seamless as possible.

What basic documents are required for re-entry after travel?

  • Passport valid for at least six months beyond the date of departure from the U.S.
  • Valid U.S. Visa
  • Original copy of the Form I-797, Notice of Approval for nonimmigrant petition based cases, and a full copy of the petition filed
  • Valid Advance Parole for pending adjustment of status applicants (this should be approved prior to your departure, unless you have a valid H-1B/H-4 or L-1/L-2 visa)
  • Valid Lawful Permanent Resident Card (Greencard) for U.S. permanent residents

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) no longer provides a paper form of Form I-94, unless you are traveling through a land port of entry. CBP automated Form I-94 for all air and sea ports of entry. Print the online I-94 (record of admission) as soon as possible after admission to the U.S. Find the form here.

If you plan to apply for a nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. Consular post:

  • At many consular posts worldwide, nonimmigrant visa appointments have backlogs, particularly during the holiday season. Book this appointment as far in advance as possible.
  • Most applicants between ages 14 and 79 must have an in-person consular interview.
  • Check visa issuance times and appointment scheduling online here.
  • As of November 29, 2016, those wishing to travel holding Chinese passports with 10-year B-1/B-2 visas must enroll in the Electronic Visa Update System (EVUS) in order to be admitted re-entry to the U.S. EVUS enrollment expires after two years, or when the traveler's visa or passport expires, whichever occurs first. Click here to enroll.
  • Recently, the Department of State implemented a policy revoking nonimmigrant visas of individuals arrested for, or convicted of, driving under the influence within the previous five years. This revocation does not become effective until the individual travels abroad. This does not affect an individual's underlying nonimmigrant status, but the visa would be no longer valid for travel back to the U.S. After leaving the U.S., a nonimmigrant with such an arrest or conviction must apply for a new visa from a U.S. Consular post.

Happy holidays and safe travels!