How long can I stay in the US?


How long can I stay in the US?

If you are not a US citizen, or green card holder, when you  are inspected at the US border, you will be admitted for specific amount of time (a period of lawful admission) .  It is important to pay attention to this admission period.  If you stay longer than permitted by your last entry to the US, you may be overstaying your entry.  If you overstay, you could be deported. If you overstay for 6 months or more, you could be barred from returning to the US for three years once you leave the US.  This bar increase to 10 years, if you overstay for 12 months or more.

How Do I Know How Long I can Stay in the US?

If you enter the US by Air or Sea:

  • All travelers by air or sea receive an electronic Arrival-Departure Card, Form I-94. In the past, this was a white card that the border officer stapled into your passport.
  • Now Form I-94 is issued electronically. This means that you no longer receive a piece of paper that tells you how long you are permitted to stay. You must go online to print a copy of your I-94.
  • To get a copy of your Form-I-94, go to
  • Below is a sample of an electronic Form I-94.

Electronic i-94

  • In addition to an electronic Form I-94, the border officer will place an entry stamp in your passport. This stamp includes the date you entered the US and the date when you must leave the US.

If you enter the US by Land:

  • You will receive a paper Form I-94. This form includes your admission period.
  • Below is a sample of a paper form I-94.


  • You will also receive an entry stamp in your passport that includes the date you entered the US and the date when you must leave the US.
  • Below is a sample entry stamp.

Entry Stamp US

  • Canadians do not usually receive a paper Form I-94 at a land port of entry. Even if the border officer does not issue a paper Form I-94, Canadians are admitted to the US for a specific period. If you are from Canada, you should also go online to print your Form I-94, so that you will know the date when you must leave the US.

What is the difference between Form I-94 and a visa?

  • Unless you are from a Visa-Waiver country, you must get a visa from a US embassy or consulate to travel to the US. The time on the visa, the validity period, is not a period of admission. The validity period on your visa, gives you the time in which you can apply for entry at a US border. For example, if your visa is valid for five years, you can come to the US border at any time during those five years to ask to be admitted. The officer who inspects you at the border will provide you with an admission period. This admission period depends on the reason for your visit to the US. The admission period may be shorter than the time on your visa.
  • Below is a sample visa stamp.

Visa stamp

  • Remember to use the admission period on your Form I-94, not the validity period on your visa, to determine how long you may stay in the US.
  • If your visa expires during your admission period in the US, you will need to apply for another visa the next time you leave the US.

Can I apply for a longer admission period while I am in the US?

In some cases, foreign nationals may apply to extend their stay in the US, or to change to another category of admission.  For example, some students who have completed their time in student status may be able to apply for an employment-based visa.

If you would like our help in determining what choices you might have to extend your stay in the US, or change your immigration status, contact our office for a consultation at

Passport Update



Passport Pages:  Beginning January 1, 2016, the US Department of State will no longer add  visa pages to US passports.  After that date passport holders who need more pages for entry  or exit stamps will need to apply for a new passport.  The State Department made this change to enhance passport security. Requests for additional passport pages will only be accepted until December 31, 2015.  For information on how and where to apply for a passpot visit Travel.State.Gov/ApplyEarly

Visa Applications May Get Easier



Visa application procedures may become improve. The Obama Administration  instructed the Dept.of Homeland Security to work on improvements to the visa application process to make it easier to apply for a visa.  Proposals include an application process that reduces paperwork and streamlines the process.  For details on the proposed improvements see Visa Processing May get Better . If these proposals are adopted,applicants for immigrant visas (green cards) and non-immigrant visas, such as a visitor’s visa or a fiancee visa, will be able to file immigration applications and supporting documents more easily.

Visas are now available at some Posts


Problems with the computer system at the State Dept. have been fixed and 39 US Embassies are now able to resume processing visa applications.  For a list of the embassies that are now online see Connected Posts. The State Dept. advises those who want to apply for a visa to check the website of the nearest embassy or consulate for an update on the availability of interviews. They expect that all posts will be reconnected in the next few days.

How does your immigration status affect your eligibility for health insurance?

March 14, 2014 Read the information provided by USCIS on the Affordable Care Act to find out if you are eligible for health insurance and what documents you would need to provide.

From: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services  3/13/2014
Did you know that your immigration status may affect your eligibility for health care benefits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)?
Open enrollment ends March 31, 2014. USCIS encourages you to visit to learn more. The website includes helpful resources on:
• The most common immigration documents that you may submit when applying for health insurance;
• Health insurance options for your family;
• How your immigration status affects your eligibility for insurance; and
• How you can verify your citizenship and immigration status.
Go online today to find the information you need to apply for health insurance.