One of the very essential things every non-immigrant should be careful to check is the I-94. I-94 is the document that specifies the duration one is authorized to stay in the country. There are multiple ways one gets an I-94. An employee on H-1b normally gets a new I-94 when they enter into the country at the port of entry or sometimes during the H-1B extension/amendment/change of status filings.
Some key rules to always note are:
1. Always check your latest I-94 based on your last action (last approval or last entry which ever is latest).
2. If you recently entered the country from abroad always ensure that you download the latest I-94 from the DHS website at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/ If there are any issues, make sure you immediately contact the nearest CBP office to get it corrected. There is a possibility of getting a reduced I-94 duration in some cases such as when the passport’s validity is ending soon or due to some other reasons.
3. When an H-1B has been approved, always look for the I-94 at the bottom left of the approval. This approval will not be visible on the CBP website located at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/. The CBP website will continue to reflect the I-94 from the last arrival at the port of entry. However, the latest I-94 issued (by USCIS) governs in such a situation if the USCIS’ approval happened after the travel from abroad. From a non-immigrant employee perspective always make sure your latest I-94 is valid during your stay in USA. Ensure that an extension petition is filed if needed before the I-94 ends to ensure that status is maintained. A timely filed H-1B extension gives 240 days of automatic extension if a decision has not been made on the extension petition prior to the lapse of 240 days period.