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Expiring foreign passports create problems upon admission to U.S.

The immigration lawyers of Zneimer & Zneimer remind foreign nationals to monitor their passport expiration dates.  Many foreign nationals traveling to the United States do not realize that their period of admission is tied to the expiration date of their passports.

The general rule is that visitors coming to the U.S.  must have passports that are valid for six months beyond the period of their intended stay in the U.S.   This means that a foreign national who has an approved petition for three years, but whose passport expires in eight months, will be admitted only for two months.  This is so because the foreign national must have a passport valid for at least six months beyond the period of admission.  As the foreign national’s passport is valid for eight months, he or she will only be admitted for two months.

There are certain countries, which are exempted from the general passport requirements.  However, citizens of these countries must still have a valid passport for the full period of intended stay but are not required to have a valid passport for six months beyond the intended period of stay.   If a foreign national from such country has an approved petition for three years, but presents at the border for a passport valid for eight months, he or she will be admitted only for eight months instead.

Foreign nationals who fail to realize timely that they have been admitted for a lesser period,  may find themselves and any derivatives out of status and unlawfully present, with possible severe consequences, including termination from employment, inadmissibility, and removability. 


The CBP will not correct I-94 record that reflects period that is shorter than the validity of the petition if the reason for the shorter period was an expiring passport. Therefore, maintaining a valid passport with sufficient time remaining on it is of utmost importance and every foreign national must ensure that he or she and each dependent have a valid passport that permits their admission for the entire period on the approved petition.