At Vickerstaff Law Office in Kentucky, we represent numerous international students who are legally in the United States by virtue of some type of a visa. We therefore know how important it becomes for them to keep their visa up-to-date, as well as the passport issued by their home country. Should one of these documents expire, the person could be in severe legal trouble.
Arizona State University explains that your passport and your visa work together, and you must have both documents in order to legally enter and stay in the United States.
You probably remember applying for your passport in your home country and having to go through whatever passport procedure your home country requires. What you may not realize, however, is that your passport contains an expiration date. To stay in the U.S. legally, that expiration date must be at least six months in the future.
If your passport is in the process of expiring, you should contact your home country’s consulate here in the U.S. to find out what you need to do to renew it. In most situations you can renew your passport while in the U.S. If you lose your passport while in the U.S. or someone steals it, you should immediately go to the local police station to report the loss or theft. If you have a copy of your passport, which is always a good idea, you should take that copy with you. Keep a copy of the police report you make. Then request a replacement passport from your home country’s embassy or consulate.
You must have a valid visa in order to enter the U.S. You probably remember getting a U.S. visa stamp put on your passport by the U.S. consulate in your home country. This confirmed your eligibility to enter the U.S. in that specific visa classification. Once you arrived here, the Port-of-Entry officer made the final determination of your allowable entrance into the U.S. How long your visa lasts before it expires depends on the reciprocity agreements in force between the U.S. and your home country.
Should your visa expire while you are here, you can continue to stay in the U.S. legally as long as your passport is valid and unexpired. When you go home, however, you will need to apply for a visa renewal at the U.S. consulate in your home country in order to get back into the U.S.
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