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Visitors Living in the U.S.

Know about your duration of stay, the documents you need when returning back to the U.S. from abroad and how to get a work authorization card.

Duration of Stay in the U.S.

The Arrival/Departure Record (I-94) stamped in your passport when you arrived shows how long you can stay in the U.S. If the notation is:

  • A specific date - you can stay in the United States until that date.
  • "Duration of Status" (or "D/S") - you can stay as long as you meet the conditions of your visa.

Do not confuse the notation with the expiration date of your visa.

Extend Your Stay

If you need to stay in the U.S. longer, request an extension well before your visa expires. An "overstay" can result in a denial of a future visa.

Employment Authorization Document (EAD)

If you are a foreign visitor such as an international student, researcher, or refugee, you might be able to work temporarily in the United States with an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) work permit, which can be issued to certain nonimmigrant visa holders. You will need the actual physical EAD card before you can start working. The card is your proof to an employer that you are authorized to work in the U.S.

Learn more about the Employment Authorization (Form 1-765), review the instructions and filing fee, and apply to get your EAD card.

In most cases, an EAD work permit is good for one year. If you are approved, your EAD card will be mailed to you or you may be required to visit a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office to pick it up.

Travel Documents for Foreign Residents Returning to the U.S.

You may need additional documents to return to the U.S. after traveling abroad if:

  • You are a foreign citizen living in the U.S. or

  • You have a Permanent Resident Card (Green Card)

These necessary documents should be obtained before your trip. You can get them from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Permanent and Conditional Residents

  • If you’re absent from the U.S. for one year or longer:

  • If you’re absent from the U.S. for less than one year:

    • No additional document is required.

    • Show your Green Card upon your return.

All Other Foreign Citizens Living in the U.S.

  • Contact USCIS and your country's embassy or consulate for all document requirements.

Note: If you need a travel document, but left the U.S. without obtaining one, contact U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for assistance:

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Last Updated: March 23, 2020

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