Foreign National Travel
Our office does not maintain the original I-797 Approval Notices in our files. It is the responsibility of the employee to keep the original copy in their personal immigration records. The Approval Notice is required for future travel.
Please keep a copy of the Approval Notice with your passport and retain copies of all your I-94 Arrival/Departure records in your personal immigration records. Be certain to retain the original Approval Notice in a secure place, as replacing this document requires the filing of an application with the USCIS that can potentially take up to 12 months to receive.
Non-Immigrant Visa Processing (Persons in H-1B,
O-1, or TN Status)
Instructions For Travel Including Re-Entry Into The United States
It is recommended that you call the U.S. Consulate/Embassy in advance of your travels to determine if an appointment or any other additional documents are needed.
When processing your visa at the consulate the following information is required:
- A passport valid for a minimum of six (6) months (preferably good for the duration of the I-797 approval notice);
- Original I-797 and copy of visa petition including certified I-129 petition and supporting documentation – (a photocopy of the original submission is acceptable);
- An Employment Verification letter from the University of Iowa;
- Form DS-156 (One form completed for each applicant.) Please spell out the month of birth (i.e., write "January 2," NOT 1/2 or 2/1). Incomplete or improperly filled out applications are returned without visas;
- Form DS-157 (All males 16 – 45 must complete – females DO NOT complete)
- One passport-size photograph, with white or light background, for each applicant regardless of age. The photographs must be attached to the respective forms in the designated place http://www.immigration.gov/graphics/lawsregs/handbook/m-378.pdf
- Required $100.00 non-refundable visa processing fee. In addition, certain nationalities must also pay a "reciprocity fee." The amount of these fees varies from country to country. In the case of multiple applicants, payment of all fees may be consolidated in one check. Please check with the consulate for actual visa processing/reciprocity fees;
- If processing visas for dependents please provide certified copies of birth documentation for children and marriage license for spouse. (Please have translated into English if applicable).
Upon entering the U.S. you will be issued an I-94 Admission/Departure Record endorsed to show your admission to the U.S. in H-1B or O-1 status. Please check the expiration date that will be stamped on your I-94 at that time as well as the I-94 of any dependents entering with you. The expiration date should coincide with the expiration of your I-797 Approval Notice. Occasionally, the personnel who stamp I-94s will erroneously stamp the expiration date of the visa (which may be valid for a significantly shorter period of time), and if that happens you should ask them to correct it. This is important because the expiration date on your I-94 indicates the date until which you are authorized to remain in the United States. If the wrong date is stamped on your I-94 and you remain in the U.S. beyond that date, you will be considered to have “overstayed,” which could lead to other more serious problems. Additionally it is critical to ensure that your new I-94 is stamped with your new visa status especially if you are changing non-immigrant status (example: F-1 to H-1B or H-4 to H-1B or J-1 to H-1B). If you have changed non-immigrant status and are traveling out of the U.S. you must update your passport with your new visa status in order to re-enter the U.S. Failure to do so can have serious consequences towards your U.S. immigration status.
U.S. Visit Entry Program
Upon entering the United States you will participate in the U.S. Visit program as you go through customs. You will be photographed and fingerprinted (both index fingers only). This process will add only seconds to your processing – no delay is expected
Visa Issuance and Denial
Consular officer can look at State Departments visa outlook system (AVLOS), which contains information on a worldwide basis regarding prior rejections.
All consulates issue machine-readable visas, which include digitized photo of the visa holder (used to be a visa stamp).
Contains the following information:
- Location of the consular post issuing the visa.
- The number of the visa (visa control number).
- The category applicable to the alien.
- Date of issuance.
- Date of expiration.
- The number of entries for which it is valid (letter "M" indicates multiple entries.)
- Alien's name, date of birth, sex, nationality, and passport number.
- Name of petitioner.
Entries: The number of entries can be issued for one or multiple. The number of entries and time frame that the visa is valid depends on the applicant's visa category and applicant's nationality (set on reciprocity between U.S. and foreign country.) Consular officers are now instructed to issue full validity visas whenever possible.
If visa is denied, will place a "Visa Application Received" stamp and date in the last page of the passport.
- The visa is valid even if the foreign national changes employers during the period listed on visa as long as they keep the same visa type.
Persons in Adjustment of Status
Foreign Nationals adjusting status to permanent residency through The University of Iowa must apply for and obtain Advance Parole (Form I-131) before traveling out of the country. If Advance Parole is not obtained before traveling, the Foreign National will not be permitted to re-enter the United States.
|Note: For those also holding H-1B status while the Adjustment of Status application is pending, Advance Parole is not necessary. However, if you have questions, please contact our office at email@example.com.|
- Advance Parole Form I-131 Application for a Travel Document
- INS Issues Foreign Travel Advisory for Aliens With Pending Immigration Applications