Murthy Success Story: Consulate and POE Make Requested Corrections Posted24 Sep 2010
Many of the success stories we share with MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers involve unusual cases that come to our firm. Likewise, the case discussed in this article is unusual, as it involves corrections at the port of entry (POE) necessitated by an H1B visa stamped with slightly incorrect information. However, it also relates to a more general problem involving incorrect I-94 cards issued at the port of entry (POE). Readers are urged to carefully review their I-94 cards at the time of entering the United States from travel abroad. It is important to verify the content and expiration dates. Missing this important issue can lead to a variety of immigration problems.
The Murthy Law Firm does not reveal the identity of any client or the specifics of any case without written consent. The clients involved in the following cases agreed to share their stories in the hope that MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers will be able to avoid or quickly correct any similar problems.
Clerical Error During Visa Production at the U.S. Consulate
An error in entering information for an H1B visa at the U.S. Consulate was compounded when the mistake was missed at the POE. The individual in this case was the beneficiary of an approved H1B petition filed by his employer. As part of the visa application process, he presented his company’s approval notice (I-797) to a consular officer at a U.S. consulate in his home country. The visa was approved and placed in his passport. However, the H1B petition receipt number was incorrectly entered into the computer system when the H1B visa foil (commonly referred to as a “visa stamp”) was issued. The result was that the H1B visa foil placed into the individual’s passport had a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) petition receipt number that varied slightly from that in his I-797 approval notice. Additionally, the name of the employer on the H1B visa was slightly different (there was another company with a name almost identical to that of our client’s employer).
Incorrect Visa Stamp Results in an Incorrect I-94
The foreign national traveler did not notice the mistakes on the H1B visa in his passport. He promptly traveled back to the United States. He appeared for inspection by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the POE, presenting his passport with the flawed H1B visa, as well as his employer’s I-797 approval notice. The CBP officer apparently did not notice the discrepancy between the H1B visa and the I-797. The foreign national was issued an I-94 card based on the information and dates in the visa. Thus, the I-94 card was incorrect.
A discussion of I-94 cards and their importance can be found on MurthyDotCom in our InfoArticle entitled, Always Keep a Copy of Your I-94 Cards. Because the I-94 card determines the permitted length of stay and, in the H1B context, the company for which the foreign national may work, the incorrect I-94 card prevented foreign national from beginning his H1B employment. As explained in our article, Immigration Planning for 2009 and Beyond (02.Jan.2009), if an I-94 card has the wrong expiration date, employer or petition number, it is important to seek the advice of a qualified immigration attorney.
Murthy Takes Action with U.S. Consulate Abroad and CBP in U.S.
The individual was advised by his employer that he would have to correct the I-94 card before he could begin his H1B employment. He contacted Murthy Law Firm for help. Attorneys in our Special Projects Department decided to seek corrections from both the U.S. Consulate and from CBP. We transmitted a detailed explanation of the mistake to the U.S. Consulate and were pleased when the Consulate quickly responded with an official eMail noting that the mistake had been made and that a letter was being sent to our client noting the same information. One of our Special Project attorneys then escorted our client to a CBP deferred inspection office, presented the I-797 approval notice, the passport, incorrect visa, and the U.S. Consulate’s correspondence. The CBP officer present issued a corrected I-94 card the same day.
We are proud to share this positive and prompt resolution with our readers. We want to express our appreciation for the immediate and complete cooperation and assistance of both the U.S. Consulate and the CBP officers involved in this case. The CBP has the important mission of inspecting foreign nationals seeking entry to the United States. In this process, human error can occur. We offer this example to remind MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers of the need to carefully inspect their visas after issuance and their I-94 cards as they enter the United States, and perhaps again a few days later. If there is an error, it is best to obtain a correction promptly. Individuals with I-94 cards that may contain errors can discuss their available options with the Murthy Law Firm. We are available and experienced in getting corrections, if necessary.
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