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If someone lives in the US in a nonimmigrant status, is the person required to maintain a valid passport while the person is in the United States? If so, citations for the relevant portions of the US Code or Code of Federal Regulations are appreciated.

This should not be possible for many nonimmigrants, because their period of admission is supposed to be limited to the validity of their passport (for some countries' passports, even six months less than its validity), but as I understand it, it could happen to someone admitted "D/S," meaning for "duration of status," or to someone who has changed or adjusted status while in the US.

Because the linked resource is a comment, I quote it here:

In any case, in practice, I have seen many reports of people getting COS/EOS I-94s that match the petition expiration even when their passports were expiring sooner, and I have never heard of someone getting COS/EOS I-94s that are limited by the passport expiration, so at least that's how USCIS handles it in practice. In fact, many times people are surprised that they get COS/EOS I-94s that match petition expiration, but when they leave and re-enter the US, they get I-94 at entry that expires earlier due to passport expiration, because CBP is required to limit I-94 by passport expiry.

Another comment says:

The AFM chapters on Change of Status and Extension of Status do say that "The applicant must hold a valid passport at the time of application and is required to maintain validity during the entire period of his or her stay in the United States." which supports the view that the passport only has to be valid, and not for a particular length, at the time of application.

One of the linked pages makes reference to 8 CFR 214.1, but that seem to say more about what happens at the time of the application and not much about what happens afterwards. In particular, it says that "the alien must agree to maintain the validity of his or her passport," but it does not say whether anything happens if the alien fails to do so.

I would also be interested to know whether the answer would be different for someone in G-4 status (for example) as opposed to someone in F-1 or H-1B status (for example).

  • How did it turn out? In particular, when the new passport arrived, did it have an issue date no later than the day after the last day the old passport was valid? If so, there may have been no violation since holding a passport does not necessarily mean having it on one's person. – Gerard Ashton Nov 26 '18 at 19:14
  • @GerardAshton the passport arrived a few weeks after the expiration of the previous one, but the issue date was the date of application, so it was a week and a half before the expiration of the previous passport. Still, there's nothing I can find that would create a problem if the issue date had been later. – phoog Nov 26 '18 at 20:35
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Yes, you must maintain a valid passport. You cited the correct answer already. 8 CFR 214.1 says

... The passport of an alien applying for admission must be valid for a minimum of six months from the expiration date of the contemplated period of stay ...

and

... applying for extension of stay ... the alien must agree to maintain the validity of his or her passport ...

In practice, if the I-94 remains valid, having an expired passport while in the US might not be detected if the passport is renewed before any travel or interaction with the US government. However, it's surely not worth the risk, especially since renewing a passport is usually straightforward and often can even be done while in the US.

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    This doesn't answer the question. There are cases where one could comply with both of the conditions you quote and nonetheless have a passport expiring while the person is in the US. You say that this "might not be detected," but what if it is? What happens then? – phoog Mar 16 '18 at 3:32
  • The consequences are probably kept deliberately vague. I would expect that the worst case is that the person is considered in violation of the terms of their visa and could be deported.But the best case is that they decide to do nothing. I would expect it to depend on circumstances. – DJClayworth Mar 31 '18 at 23:49
  • @DJClayworth I am fairly sure that you are right about that. I've come back to this question because my wife's passport expires in 3 days. She applied for a new one but hasn't received it. I expect that in this case nothing will happen, but I'm still curious about the rules. Krubo, to elaborate on my earlier comment, your first quote is followed by "unless otherwise provided in this chapter," and there are many exceptions, which means that some aliens ("duration of status" nonimmigrants in particular) can exceed their passports' validity without ever applying for extension of stay. – phoog Sep 27 '18 at 16:07
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No. There is no law or regulation that requires nonimmigrants generally to maintain a valid passport.

In particular, there is nothing that applies to aliens admitted for "duration of status," and at 8 CFR 214.2(e)(19)(iii), the period of admission for E-class aliens (treaty traders and treaty investors) is explicitly limited to six months after the expiration of the passport.

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