I am on H-4 (spouse) visa and my visa expires on September 30th,2015. We have applied for premium processing of visa extension and expect to get it done within 15 business days. But I am hoping to enter U.S. from my country by September 19th and I am afraid I may not have the time to get the stamping done by 19th. Can I still enter U.S. without stamping the visa since my visa does not expire until the 30th? Or will I be turned away at the port of entry because I did not get it stamped after a visa extension has been granted?

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    Looks suitable for here to me. It's about visas and entering the country with paperwork in an uncertain state. Could probably happen with any kind of visa. That doesn't mean the experts on the expats won't have more specific experience and knowledge though so it wouldn't hurt to also ask there. – hippietrail Aug 18 '15 at 4:59
  • @pnuts see. But I leave it to whoever knows more about expat-ish questions than I, a mere traveller. – hippietrail Aug 18 '15 at 8:41
  • OK so we're the visa experts as I expected. If that one's acceptable here so is this one. People shouldn't get trigger happy when spotting keywords. – hippietrail Aug 18 '15 at 9:54

If you have a current valid visa you can enter using it. However, when your time on it has run out, you have two options to switch to the new visa:

The first: simply leave for 24 hours and then re-enter using the new one. (Plan a quick trip to Canada, Mexico, or the Bahamas, depending on where you are). You can then re-enter using your new valid visa.

Second, you can apply for an extension of your current visa, or permission to switch visa types. You can find more information about those options HERE and HERE. It is unclear to me if you can change (transfer) your status to an already existing visa.

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    Visa expiration has nothing to do with the ability to stay in the US. – user102008 Aug 17 '15 at 23:09
  • @user102008 if your visa expires you have to leave - that's how a visa works. If you want to switch from one visa to another, you have to leave for 24 hours. You can file paperwork and such to change your visa status, but that is not what the OP is asking about. – Matthew Herbst Aug 17 '15 at 23:35
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    Nope. A US visa is solely for entry. The visa expiration date just means the last date on which you can use the visa to enter. Your conditions of stay are governed by the I-94 you receive on entry, which has nothing to do with the visa expiration date. For example, if you arrive on a tourist visa on the day that the visa expires, they will give you a duration of stay of 6 months, which means you can stay for 6 months, even though your visa will be expired for the whole time you're here. – user102008 Aug 17 '15 at 23:39
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    There is lack of clear understanding and clear terminology to differentiate between a visa itself expiring and the expiration of the period of time you've been granted entry for a particular stay using a visa. People often mistakenly say "visa expiring" mistakenly for the latter situation. I might ask a new terminology question on this topic. – hippietrail Aug 18 '15 at 5:03
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    @pnuts: I expected as much, and tried to allow for the possibility in what I've written so far. – hippietrail Aug 18 '15 at 9:51

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