When will an immigration status expire? This question seems simple to answer, but many prove mistaken or unaware of when a lawful immigration status may end. For example, many mistakenly believe it is when a visa expires. Though this can be the case, it often may not be. Therefore, to comply with Form I-9 requirements and ensure that employees are legally able to work in the U.S., employers must understand how a worker’s admission period is determined.
In many cases, individuals may look to the visa in their passport to determine how long they remain. However, often this is a poor indication. Visas allow individuals to enter the U.S. but do not indicate how long they may legally remain.
Instead, the Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) determines the admission and immigration status. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issues this document to individuals requesting a change of status or extension. Individuals must make this request either within the U.S. or have the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) request admission from abroad.
All I-94s issued to individuals by the CBP can expect an electronic record, which becomes available after admission. Those admitted on temporary non-immigrant status in such a circumstance may check their I-94 online by entering some basic biographical information from their passport online. The I-94 indicates the following information: date of entry, class or category of admission, and date of admission. This online document may be printed and serves as a legally acceptable form of evidence to show lawful immigration status.
If an I-94 is issued to an individual by USCIS consequent to the approval of an application to change or extend non-immigrant status, then Form I-797 will follow. An I-94 tear-off section is available at the bottom of this form. This section will show the individual’s classification or status and how long it will last. In this case, the online tool from the CBP will not reflect any changes made by USCIS since entering the U.S. and, as a result, would become inaccurate.
Tracking the expiration of an individual’s valid status and ensuring that a worker’s employment eligibility is up to date can be difficult. Therefore, one of the easiest ways to ensure that Form I-9s are accurate and up-to-date is to invest in an electronic I-9 management tool. Tools like this can guide employers through verifying and updating Form I-9 and provide simple and secure storage of forms and documentation.
When it comes to your work, automation makes eligibility verification quick and seamless. Get a head start today with I-9 Compliance.