Many foreign nationals travel abroad and renew their visas during this time of year. This process, however, is becoming more challenging, restrictive, and time-consuming with COVID still raging around the world.
In January, the Biden Administration reinstated COVID-19 Travel Bans from Brazil, Ireland, the U.K., and the Schengen Area. Additionally, they added South Africa to that list.
Travelers physically present in the affected countries will be banned from entering the U.S. until the ban is terminated. Other proclamations banning entrance from those present in China and Iran remain.
Additionally, the U.S. CDC requires all travelers flying into the U.S to get a COVID-19 viral test within three days before their flight and provide documentation of the test result.
Before you make plans to go anywhere or head to the airport to begin your trip, make sure you check the latest travel ban information.
For those who do not have to deal with a ban, here are answers to four FAQs that we often receive about this process of being readmitted to the United States upon your return.
What should you do to prepare for the interview?
- Be informed. Thoroughly prepare for the expected – and expect the unexpected as well.
- Review the appointment notice. Bring all required documents in a concise and organized fashion, so they can be produced effortlessly. Documents should not be stapled.
- Bring all required documents. Make clear and legible photocopies, and don’t forget any required original documents.
- Do not submit oversized documents. All documents must be 8.5 x 11 inches.
What is the interview like?
The interview with the consular officer typically lasts five to ten minutes. But you should block at least half a day for the whole interview process.
The officer will ask you five to ten questions to verify information. For an employment-based interview, questions might include:
- What will you be doing in the United States?
- How much will you be paid?
- Who is your employer?
- How long will you stay in the United States?
- Do you intend to immigrate permanently to the United States?
Short and concise answers are suggested. A successful interview should result in the approval of the visa.
What happens during the readmission process?
An immigration officer will interview you again to approve your admission to the United States. A visa issuance is not a guarantee of an admission by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer.
What should you do after each readmission to the United States?
You should check your I-94 Arrival/Departure Record every time you enter the United States to ensure you are admitted in the correct category and for the appropriate length of time.
Checking the I-94 record is easy. It only requires a few minutes and your passport information.
You can check it online here: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home
There is a high rate of error on the admission records. It is important that the record is correct.
The I-94 governs the lawful stay in the United States – not your passport, visa, or petition approval.
It is also important to plan for potential long wait times and thorough questioning, including questions about recent travel, work, and family.
The Marks Gray Immigration Team wishes you safe travel!
Originally published 10/26/2017. Updated 2/3/2021.