USCIS Approval Notice Has Two Expiration Dates

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In recent months, the USCIS has been issuing Form I-797A approval notices that have two different validity periods. This has affected certain nonimmigrant classifications such as the H1B. The expiration date at the top of the notice shows the validity date as requested in the petition and the period of work authorization.

However, at the bottom, the I-94 approval notice features a longer validity date, which has a 10-day grace period, which is authorized by the law. This has led to a 10-day difference between the expiration of an approved petition for work and the expiration of Form I-94. The Form I-94 governs a person’s authorized stay in the US. The person is only allowed to work until the expiration of their petition. However, they can continue to be in the US until the I-94 expires.

Under CIS regulation, those in the nonimmigrant classifications of E1, E2, E3, H1B, L1, and TN, including their family members and dependents may be admitted in the US for the validity of their petition plus an additional period of 10 days before and after the validity period starts and ends. However, the regulation states that this 10-day period is not mandatory and can be shortened in some cases.

In effect, this gives immigrants a 10-day grace period to end their stay in the US. However, it also raises some important questions such as the appropriate manner of completing Form I-9. This is because the I-94, located at the bottom of I-797 now has a 10-day period, during which the foreign national cannot work. Employers will now need to review the I-797 approval notice carefully to ensure that they note the expiry date listed at the top.

The CIS already gave guidance on this issue, in the matter of completing the Form I-9. If the I-94 record is valid for more than the petition, the employee is required to enter the expiration date of their petition. In section 2, the employer is required to enter the expiration date of Form I-94.

If an employee is filling in Section 1 with information that is listed on the detachable Form I-94 from a recently issued approval notice, they may mistake the employment authorization date 10 days prior to their work authorization date. Thus, it is important that the employer provides them with a copy of their approval notice. Besides that, they should provide employees with the original copy of the detachable I-94. This will enable the foreign national complete section one accurately. They will be able to list the end date of their authorization as opposed to the end date of their stay in the US.

It would also be important for a representative of the employer to review a copy of the approval notice. This notice should then be compared to the detachable Form I-94. The aim is to check the difference in the expiration dates. If there is an additional 10-day grace period, the employer can then create a reminder for the company, so that they can re-verify the employee’s documents before the expiration date listed in Form I-94.

When the employer completes the Form I-9, they should store a copy of the Form I-797A approval notice with the I-9. That way, in case the ICE comes to audit employees, the employer can give the approval notice to the ICE to show that Form I-9 was filled out correctly. This is despite the two different dates listed by the employer and the employee.

Without this seemingly simple step, it could take quite a while to verify that documents are in order. Besides that, it could also create problems for the company in future, when it tries to employ a foreign national.

Get Yourself a Lawyer

This issue can be confusing for both employers and employees. Even those who have used the forms for many years may be a bit turned around by the new changes. Thus, it is important that both employers and employees get in touch with a reliable legal expert. It is worth noting that an illegality with the immigration authorities may not auger well, especially for a foreign national. In future, they may find it hard to regain entry into the US. Besides that, the employer may find it hard to access foreign nationals in future. Thus, they may end up missing some key talent, which could affect their competitiveness.

One such law firm that you may use is Toppins Law Firm. The law firm is always monitoring changes that are made by the CIS This way, both employers and employees are always on the right side of the law. If there are any updates to the law, you will not have to waste time trying to adjust to them. Immigration officials are usually very strict even about the smallest details. Sometimes, you may have to start the process all over again for just a single mishap.