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I have heard varying accounts of the documentation that noncitizens have to carry with them. Some people have been told by officials that they carry their entire application. Others have been told to have in their possession a passport at all times. I was in valid L-1A status until September 30, when my employer filed a timely application to extend it. The petition has yet to be approved and the INS just issued a Notice of Action requesting further evidence. What documentation do I need to carry with me?

Answer by Cyrus Mehta:
In the article that I co-wrote with Parastou Hassouri on, we regurgitated a long laundry list of documentation prescribed under 8 CFR Section 264.1(a) that would reflect one's status. However, many of the documents may not truly reflect an individual's unique situation, particularly yours.

A nonimmigrant in L-1 or H-1B status, according toe the regulation, would need to carry the Form I-94. However, the date on your I-94 may have expired, and even though a timely extension filing allows you to continue to legally work for your employer, the I-94 will reflect an expired date. I suggest that you also carry your receipt notice indicating that an L-1A extension has been filed on your behalf, even though the regulation does not prescribe it.

The I-94 is supposed to be clipped on to your passport, but the regulation again does not require a noncitizen to carry a passport. I also realize that it would be extremely onerous to carry your passport each time you leave home. However, if you plan to travel by air domestically, it would be very prudent to also carry with you your passport as well as the Form I-94.

Cyrus Mehta

This Q & A exchange is part of a 3-part 'at-cost' seminar series 'Immigration Implications of September 11th Tragedy' at ILW.COM. A distinctive element of this series is the interactivity with the Speakers via email.

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Disclaimer: The foregoing is general information provided to the public on a subject of great interest to U.S. employers and H-1B workers. It is intended merely as a general review of a complex and confusing subject for which there are very few clear and reliable answers. The information is not intended as legal advice and may not be relied on as such. By providing to the public the general information below, no attorney-client relationship is created. The legal outcome in a given case will completely depend on all of the relevant facts in a given case and thus will vary from case to case. For legal advice and representation, the readers are cautioned to consult a qualified attorney who practices immigration law.

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