in accordance with section 212(a)(7)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, an alien who applies for admission into the United States on a nonimmigrant visa (NIV) is required to possess a passport that:

  • Is valid for a minimum of six months beyond the date of the expiration of the initial period of admission into the United States, and
  • Authorizes the alien to return to their home country, or to proceed to and enter some other country at the end of the initial period of admission.

Because of agreements with the government of the United States, the following countries are NOT subject to this requirement (see:Federal Register / Vol. 67 No. 207 / October 25, 2002 / Notices / Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Public Notice 4173):

  • Algeria
  • Andorra
  • Angola
  • Antilles
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Aruba
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bahamas, The
  • Barbados
  • Belgium
  • Belize
  • Bermuda
  • Bolivia
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Brazil
  • Bulgaria
  • Burma
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Costa Rica
  • Cote D’Ivoire
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Egypt
  • El Salvador
  • Estonia
  • Ethiopia
  • Fiji
  • Finland
  • France
  • Gabon
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Guinea
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Hong Kong
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Jamaica
  • Japan
  • Kuwait
  • Latvia
  • Lebanon
  • Libya
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Qatar
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • San Marino
  • Serbia
  • Seychelles
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • St. Lucia
  • St. Vincent and The Grenadines
  • Suriname
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • Tuvalu
  • Ukraine
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • Uruguay
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vatican City
  • Venezuela
  • Vietnam
  • Zimbabwe

This requirement may also be waived on the basis of an unforeseen emergency, in certain cases on a reciprocity basis, or in the case of aliens in immediate transit through the United States. The following groups are also exempt from this requirement:

  • Alien members of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • American Indians born in Canada
  • Aliens entering from Guam, Puerto Rico, or the Virgin Islands
  • Armed services personnel of a NATO member
  • Armed services personnel attached to a NATO headquarters in the U.S.
  • Aliens entering pursuant to International Boundary and Water Commission Treaty
  • Canadian nationals
  • Aliens resident in Canada or Bermuda having a common nationality with nationals of Canada or with British subjects in Bermuda
  • Mexican nationals in possession of a Border Crossing Identification Card
  • Natives and residents of the trust territory of the Pacific islands
  • Residents of a foreign contiguous territory
  • Aliens for whom passport extension facilities are unavailable
  • Aliens precluded from obtaining passport extension by foreign government restrictions
  • Members of the armed forces of foreign countries
  • Landed immigrants of Canada.

(see: AILA Books / Global Immigration Guide © 2002 / Part III / Nonimmigrant Visa Processing / Passport Requirement)

Please note: Regardless of your exemption from the above requirement, United States Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) may only admit you for the duration of your passport validity. If your passport expires before the expiration date of your non-immigrant visa, you may not be admitted or the full length of your visa. The expiration date the CBP officer writes on your I-94 card is the date your status expires. Carefully check your I-94 card upon each admission to ensure the expiration date is correct. If your I-94 card is affected by your passport validity, please contact our office immediately.

Note that if you have already been admitted with a shortened I-94 card because of your passport expiring, you have two choices:

  1. Travel again or file for an extension after you have a new passport, or
  2. Call your local Deferred Inspection office if it is less than 30 days after you entered to see if the I-94 can be extended. Getting the I-94 amended is uncommon, but it has happened in some states.