Awaiting a decision on the visa Petition

Within a few weeks after mailing in the petition, you or your employer should get back a written confirmation that the papers are being processed, together with a receipt for the fee. This notice will also contain your immigration file num­ber. If USCIS wants further information before acting on your case, all petition papers, forms, and documents will be returned with a form known as a Re­quest for Evidence. Supply the extra data requested and mail the whole package back to the service center.

E-1 petitions are normally approved within two to three months. When this happens, USCIS will send you a Form I-797 Notice of Action, showing that the change of status has been approved. A new I-94 card will be attached to the bot­tom of the form.

Faster processing—at a price. For

$1,000 over and above the regu­lar filing fees, USCIS promises premium processing of the visa petition, including a decision within 15 days. To use this service, you must fill out an additional application (Form I-907) and submit the application to a special USCIS service center address. For complete instructions, see the USCIS web­site at www. uscis. gov.

E. Using Your E-1 Visa to Enter the U. S.

If you applied for your E-1 visa at a U. S. consulate abroad, you have until the expiration date on your E-1 visa to enter the united states. The border officer will examine your paperwork, ask you some questions, and if all is in order, approve you for entry. He or she will stamp your passport and give you a small white card called an I-94 card. It will be stamped with a date showing how long you can stay. Normally you are permitted to remain for two years at a time, without regard to when your visa actually expires (a visa is just an entry document—the I-94 shows the length of your E-1 status). Keep track of the whereabouts of this card, and make spare copies to keep in a safe place. You’ll need it to prove your entry and to apply for extensions.

Each time you exit and reenter the u. s., you will get a new I-94 card authorizing your stay for an additional one – or two – year period. If you do not wish to leave the U. S. after that time, you can apply for extensions of stay, which are issued in two-year increments for as long as you maintain your E-1 status qualifications.

Watch out for
Summary Exclusion

The law empowers a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) inspector at the U. S. airport or border to summarily (without allowing judicial review) bar entry to someone requesting admission to the U. S. if either of the following are true:

• The inspector thinks you are lying about practically anything connected with entering the U. S., including your purpose in coming, intent to return, and prior immigra­tion history. This includes the use or suspected use of false documents.

• You do not have the proper docu­mentation to support your entry to the U. S. in the category you are requesting.

If the inspector excludes you, you cannot be readmitted to the U. S. for five years, unless USCIS grants a special waiver. For this reason it is extremely important to understand the terms of your requested status, and to not make any misrepresentations. If you are found to be inadmissible, you may ask the CBP inspector to withdraw your application to enter the U. S. in order to prevent having the five-year deporta­tion order on your record. The CBP may allow this in some exceptional cases.

F. Extending Your U. S. Stay

E-1 visas can be extended for up to five years at a time and E-1 status stays can be extended for two years at a time. When you enter the u. s. with an E-1 visa, your authorized stay as indicated on your I-94 card, which is limited to two years at a time, may elapse before the expiration date of your visa. Therefore, depending on your situation, you may need to extend just your I-94 card, your visa or both.

Although an extension is usually easier to get than the E-1 visa itself, it is not automatic. usCIs or the consulate has the right to reconsider your qualifications based on any changes in the facts or law. When the original application for an E-1 visa or status was weak, it is not unusual for an extension request to be turned down. As always, however, good cases that are well prepared will be successful.

If you have received E-1 status in the u. s. but never applied for a visa, it’s best to stay in the U. S. to apply for an exten­sion of your status (in case the consulate disagrees with usCIs’s original decision approving your E-1 status). However, if you have an E-1 visa that is still valid but your I-94 card is about to expire, it is generally better to leave the u. s. and return again instead of trying to extend your status in the United States. When you return to the U. S. on your valid E-1 visa, you will automatically receive a new I-94 card and a new one – or two-year period of authorized stay. By leaving and reentering, no extension ap­plication will be needed and there will be no reevaluation of your qualifications.

The general procedures for an E-1 extension from within the U. S. are the same as those described in Section D, above. The forms, documents, and fees are identical.

Working While Your Extension
application Is Pending

If you file your application for an exten­sion of E-1 status before your authorized stay expires, you are automatically permitted to continue working for up to 240 days while you are waiting for a decision. If, however, your authorized stay expires after you have filed for an extension, but before you receive an approval, and more than 240 days go by without getting a decision on your ex­tension application, your work authori­zation ends and you must stop working.

G. Visa Revalidation

If you leave the U. S. with an expired E-1 visa stamp, you must have a new visa issued at a consulate before return­ing (even if you’ve extended your E-1 status with USCIS). Reread procedures for consular filing in Section C, above. The procedures for consular visa exten­sions are identical. If you are outside the U. S. with a valid (unexpired) visa, you need only reenter and a new I-94 card authorizing your stay for one year will be given to you. ■

Updated: 18th July 2015 — 3:10 pm