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I am a British citizen with L-1B status in the USA. My visa expires Jan 31st 2023 and I am planning a trip to the UK over the holidays. When I re-enter the USA, I will have just 3 weeks remaining on my visa.

I'm concerned that I will be challenged upon re-entry. And why not? I do have fewer than 3 weeks remaining - what's my plan? Well, my plan is to remain in the USA.

I married a US citizen and I have an I-485 receipt notice that acknowledges an adjustment-of-status application. My attorney assures me that this application allows me to legally remain in the USA after my visa expires. However, the I-485 doesn't explicitly state that I may legally remain. The document simply gives me a receipt number and invites me to register on the website.

  1. Can I re-enter the USA with only 3 weeks remaining on a visa?
  2. Could re-entry be denied because I intend to remain in the USA after my visa expires?
  3. How do I unambiguously demonstrate that I may legally remain in the USA after my visa expires?

Edit: For those curious, a request for evidence came through on my AOS so I have decided not to leave the USA to avoid any potential complications.

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    US visa is just an entry document and its validity only pertains your ability to travel and request entry for the purpose stated on the visa and has got nothing to with how long you can stay in the US. You can use L1B visa to join work as per the conditions of the visa. The duration of how long you can stay in the US is not determined by the validity of the visa. Also, an adjustment of status (AOS) application in itself DOES NOT legalize your stay in the US till it is approved. On leaving the US, you have no status and AOS petition is considered abandoned as there is "no status to adjust"... Dec 9, 2022 at 20:30
  • ...If you want to leave the US, and keep your application of AOS "alive", you need to get an advance parole. Another option is to get an immigrant visa from your home country but that may take more than a year. So better to get advance parole if leaving the US is absolutely necessary. All of this is assuming your L1B status is valid (you are working the same employer as an intra company transferee). Dec 9, 2022 at 20:35
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    Is your visa expiring or the employment petition? What was the "admit until" date you were given with your most recent admission to the US?
    – phoog
    Dec 11, 2022 at 0:48
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    @ThomasCruise: People who have H1b/H4/L1/L2/K3/K4/V status right before they leave, and re-enter the US on the same type of visa, do not abandon their I-485, even if they don't have Advance Parole. See 8 CFR 245.2(a)(4)(ii)(C)
    – user102008
    Dec 11, 2022 at 1:33

2 Answers 2

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I'm concerned that I will be challenged upon re-entry. And why not? I do have fewer than 3 weeks remaining - what's my plan? Well, my plan is to remain in the USA.

You're thinking in European terms.

In the US, visa is only used for entry, and you can use it for entry up to the last day of its validity. Once you enter the US, the visa and its validity is no longer relevant for anything, what's relevant is your status and the validity of it. That would be recorded on your I-94, and on the entry stamp in your passport.

As long as your status is valid, it doesn't matter that your visa has expired. Your L1b status is based on your employment authorization and is valid for up to 7 years of presence in the US as long as you're still employed under the terms of that authorization (same employer and role).

As to the AOS - L1 visas are dual-intent and you do not need to convince the immigration officer that you don't have immigration intent.

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  • This was very helpful to read: "L1 visas are dual-intent and you do not need to convince the immigration officer that you don't have immigration intent."
    – dsclose
    Dec 12, 2022 at 1:43
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As long as you are still admissible as L1B (e.g. still employed by the sponsoring company), an Adjustment of Status application does not negatively impact you.

L visas, like H1B, V and K visas, are dual-intent visas, exempting an applicant for entry from demonstrating that their stay is solely temporary. L-1 visa also does not effect your AOS application if you leave the U.S.

But your legal status will cease after your L1B status expires unless an extension is filed, although you are legally authorized to remain in the US until a decision is made. This means you are no longer authorized to work unless you obtained an EAD based on your pending I485. If you leave the U.S. after the L1B status expires, your AOS application will be denied as abandonment. Unless you apply for advance parole beforehand.

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  • Thank you, supremely helpful. One question - do you mean a decision on my AOS when you say, "you are legally authorized to remain in the US until a decision is made,"
    – dsclose
    Dec 12, 2022 at 1:45
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    @dsclose Yes. You will have the status of an AOS applicant if all other non-immigrant status expires.
    – xngtng
    Dec 12, 2022 at 12:31

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