I am an Indian citizen, residing in California, USA on an H1B Visa. My passport is expiring in mid-June, 2020, along with my I-94. My visa is valid until December, 2021. I have my 2 year old son on H4 along with me with the same I-94 expiration date. As CKGS, SFO is closed until informed, I am unable to renew my passport and hence my I-94 can not get extended. Please suggest what I should do in this condition? Any help is appreciated.

  • 1
    Contact your embassy for advice.
    – user105640
    Apr 23 '20 at 8:27
  • 1
    This question is by someone in like situation, the answers may be of help to you. travel.stackexchange.com/questions/156843/…
    – Willeke
    Apr 23 '20 at 8:57
  • @Willeke Not that much help. H-1B extensions use a completely different process. The only thing that will be helpful is contacting the embassy to see what can be done. The correct email address is on the red note on their web site. Apr 23 '20 at 12:11
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    "and hence my I-94 can not get extended" When you apply for Extension of Status (or your company applies for you in the case of H1b), they will only check that your passport is valid as of the time of filing; they will not require you to prove that your passport will be valid for any specific length of time. So at the very least the application for extension can still be made.
    – user102008
    Apr 23 '20 at 18:53
  • @user102008 that sounds like an answer.
    – phoog
    Apr 24 '20 at 3:56

Your passport just has to be valid at the time you file for Extension of Status (your company filing I-129 for your H1b extension of status as well as you filing I-539 for your son's H4 extension of status). There is no requirement on how much validity your passport needs to have remaining at the time you apply for Extension of Status, so you should be able to file for an extension with your current passport before it expires (since you have to apply before your status expires in June anyway).

See USCIS Adjudicator's Field Manual chapter 30.2(c)(3)(B) for passport validity for I-539:

An applicant need not submit a valid passport with his or her application since Part 4 of the application contains passport validity information. The applicant must hold a valid passport at the time of application and is required to maintain validity during the entire period of his or her stay in the United States. [See 8 CFR 214.1.] This does not preclude the adjudicating officer from requiring submission of evidence of the validity of the passport, if the officer has reason to believe that the alien has falsely claimed that it is valid.

And AFM chapter 30.2(d)(3)(D) for passport validity for I-129:

An alien need not submit a valid passport with his or her application, since Part 4 of the application contains a check-block requiring the applicant to indicate he or she has a valid travel document. The alien must hold a valid passport at the time of filing and must agree to maintain its validity during the entire period of his or her stay.

The actual regulation (in 8 CFR 214.1(a)(3)(i)) says:

[...] The passport of an alien applying for extension of stay must be valid at the time of application for extension, unless otherwise provided in this chapter, and the alien must agree to maintain the validity of his or her passport and to abide by all the terms and conditions of his extension.

These places (as well as the I-539 and I-129 instructions) do say that you must "agree" to maintain a valid passport during the entire period of your stay, so you should still try to renew your passport before it expires or as soon as possible, but at least you wouldn't need to wait for it to be done before you apply for Extension of Status.

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    He still has to renew the passport before it expires, though; that's right there in your quoted text! "The applicant must hold a valid passport at the time of application and is required to maintain validity during the entire period of his or her stay in the United States." Apr 25 '20 at 5:53
  • @Michael Hampton but there is no adverse consequence for failing to maintain a valid passport, so if the passport expires before it's possible to get a new one, it doesn't really matter. The actual law only says that the applicant must agree to maintain a valid passport; the manual's assertion that the applicant is required to maintain validity is an imprecise paraphrase at best, or, worse, careless misrepresentation of the law.
    – phoog
    Apr 26 '20 at 3:38
  • Information you provided has all needed points. But looks like CBP office doesn't consider only a valid passport at the time of extension of stay. I called and confirmed with them. They are providing really useful and detailed information on their helpline number.
    – Navi
    Apr 28 '20 at 6:46
  • @Navi: CBP is not involved in Extension of Status or Change of Status. It's USCIS that processes those applications.
    – user102008
    Apr 28 '20 at 16:05
  • By extension of status I mean I-94 extension. I called USCIS, they said I can stay until my approval notice (I-797B) expires. I called CBP office and they said I need to get my I-94 updated if I want to extend my stay. Things are so confusing.. I have decided to get my passport and go to CBP office and get it extended. I want to avoid any trouble because of these confusions.
    – Navi
    Apr 28 '20 at 18:07

I tried reaching out to their 24x7 emergency number on https://www.cgisf.gov.in/page/emergency-services-menu/ and they called me back. They told to wait until 3rd May which is lockdown end date at the moment for SFO California. If offices do not open by then, I need to call them and they will help to get passport renewed.

Also I called USCIS and CBP helpline and they told my employer can file I-129 but it will take pretty long. Though their guideline says I should have a valid passport while applying I-94 extension, they still check for the duration of the passport to give extension of stay (unfortunately). So applying for extension now will not help me at all looks like. USCIS Los Angeles Field Office is open and once I get my renewed passport, I can walk in to their office and they can renew my I-94 immediately.

So Finally I know what to do. Thank you everyone for suggestion. I got way to dig information.

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