People frequently confuse the terms “visa” and “status,” but they refer to different things. The term “visa” only corresponds to the sticker on your passport, whereas “status” means your official immigration status in the United States, as shown on your I-94 record. Although multiple visas can be carried in a passport, an individual can only have one immigration status while in the United States.
While in the country, one’s visa may expire, but one’s status should not. To know more, talk to an immigration lawyer in queens today.
What is a Visa?
A “visa” is a travel permit or document that allows a person to enter the United States and request a specific classification. Visas, also known as visa stamps or visa foils, are issued by a U.S. consulate or embassy. When someone wishes to visit the United States temporarily (whether for a few weeks as a tourist or for several years as an H-1B worker), they must acquire a visa or entry visa.
Does having a visa guarantee your admission to the U.S.?
In short, no. Having a visa does not guarantee admission to the United States. You must first be “inspected” by a customs officer. The inspection consists of a series of questions designed to determine whether you are entering for a permitted purpose under the terms of your visa.
For example, if you hold a tourist visa, you can only enter as a tourist. The officer must be satisfied that you are only visiting as a tourist. If the customs officer suspects you have a different intention, you may be denied entry.
What is Status?
Status refers to an individual’s rights and responsibilities toward the government. In immigration law, status refers to the legal category under which the visitor was admitted to the United States. The categories are frequently associated with specific letters (e.g., F-1, A2, H-1B, J-2, etc.), and each category has unique circumstances under which it can be granted, as well as unique governing regulations, responsibilities, and benefits.
The expiration of status and visa
A visa is simply a temporary entry permit that may expire while you are in the United States. Even if your visa expires while you are in the United States, there is no issue. Even if your visa has expired, you can remain in the United States as long as your status is still valid and you continue to follow all immigration regulations. When the visa expires, the status does not end.
For more information regarding visa and status, schedule a consultation with an experienced immigration attorney today.