July 30th, 2012 by Eleanor Gaskin
A person who wishes to travel to the United States must obtain a visa. People around the world travel to the United States for different purposes such as business, tourism, medical treatment and some seek to immigrate permanently to the United States. Visas are generally issued with visa expiration dates. A US visa in the passport of the foreign national grants the holder permission to travel to a US port of entry. A visa by itself does not grant permission to enter into the United States but it is the US immigration officer who has the authority to permit the foreign national to enter into the United States. A visa shows that you are entitled to travel to a US port of entry for the purpose for which you had applied for and obtained that particular visa. It is the US immigration officer at a US port of entry who will decide whether you may be allowed to enter the country or not. The immigration officer will also determine the duration of your stay in the United States.
Visa Expiration Date
You can find the visa expiration date and the visa issuance date on the visa that is issued to you. Based on the type of visa, there is a period of time between the visa issuance date and the visa expiration date, which is the validity of your visa. You will be allowed to travel to a US port of entry until your visa is valid. Visa validity varies depending on your nationality. Single and multiple entry visas are issued based on the nationality of the applicants.
A single entry visa is issued with the number “1”. You may travel to a US port of entry, with that visa anytime within its date of issuance and its date of expiration. You may travel once to the US port of entry with that visa. Multiple entry visas are the visas that are issued for multiple entries into the United States and these visas are issued with numbers above “1” or with the letter “M”. Multiple entry visas are issued for a single purpose. Though you may travel to the United States more than one time, you may not travel to the United States for some other purpose other than the purpose for which the visa was issued. You may not exceed the number of entries permitted on your visa.
Though you are eligible to travel to the United States, the visa granted to you does not ensure that you can enter the United States. Your entry into the United States and the duration of your authorized stay will be determined by a US Customs and Border Protection Officer. You must also remember that the period of visa validity may be canceled under certain circumstances. Your visa will be canceled or it will be considered invalid if you overstay. You may be allowed to overstay if you had applied to change your non-immigrant status or if you had filed an application for an extension of stay.
Entering the United States
On your arrival at a US port of entry, Form I-94, Arrival/Departure record will be placed in your passport. Form I-94 determines that you have been granted permission to be in the United States. Duration of your non-immigrant status in the United States will be officially recorded on your Form I-94. The visa expiration date is not the date of expiration of your authorized stay in the United States and your authorized duration of stay is the period that is recorded on your Form I-94.