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I have an H-1B visa and my wife has an H4 as my dependent. We're planning to enter the US in just over 2 weeks but just noticed my wife's passport will expire in 5 months from our date of travel.

Can we:

  1. Travel to the US with the current passport.
  2. Renew the passport but show the visa in the old one.
  3. Renew passport and try to get the H4 stamped before we travel (really not sure we have time).

migrated from expatriates.stackexchange.com Jan 26 '15 at 3:23

This question came from our site for people living abroad on a long-term basis.

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Can we: Travel to the US with the current passport.

It depends on what is the country of your passports. The U.S. has a requirement that entering nonimmigrants have a passport valid for 6 months after the end of the intended duration of stay. That means they will give you a duration of stay that ends no later than 6 months before your passport expires, and if your passport is less than 6 months away from expiring, that means you cannot enter.

However, the U.S. has agreements with many countries where those countries agree to accept their passport for return for up to 6 months after the passport expires. For passport holders of these countries, the U.S. will give a duration of stay that ends no later than the passport expires, and you can enter as long as the passport is not expired. For a list of these countries, see here.

Note that even if you can enter, if your passport is close to expiring, the duration of stay on your I-94 is likely to be limited by the passport expiration, and not go for the full duration of the H1b petition. In that case, after you renew your passport (in the U.S.), you should get CBP to adjust the date on your I-94 so you don't fall out of status.

Can we: Renew the passport but show the visa in the old one.

Yes, as long as both passports are from the same country and the same type of passport (i.e. both ordinary passports, or both official passports, etc.).

Can we: Renew passport and try to get the H4 stamped before we travel (really not sure we have time).

There is no need, since your existing visa is not expired.

  • Thank you. That's really helpful. It's a UK passport so it looks like we're good. – Rob Fletcher Jan 25 '15 at 7:24
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You can always visit the British Consulate in the US for help with passport issues and advice - they are all over the country, not just in Washington DC.

I needed a UK passport for my daughter who was born unexpectedly in Florida and found there was a Consulate office in Orlando and a full-on passport issuing office in Miami. They were really helpful. We had a citizenship and a passport within 48 hours and it would have been 24 had we paid the extra for expedited shipping. They also have useful contacts in US administration and may be able to advise lesser known ways of achieving a desirable result with your passport and visa.

  • This does not seem to answer the question. The asker is (or was, when the question was asked) not in the US, and was asking about possible problems about getting in. Talking about visiting a British consulate in the US is not a meaningful answer to that. – Henning Makholm Jul 27 '17 at 9:51
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    I can' t be bothered to argue with you. The problem I have with Stackoverflow is that its utterly impossible to contribute any information at all that might assist people. You have to wait for the RIGHT question to be asked or risk losing hard earned points for daring to say anything. FOUR people voted me up as they found it useful and relevant. Go figure. I resign from this community as of now. Congratulations. – bigbadmouse Jul 27 '17 at 11:18

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