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srinath_vs

Port of Entry issue - Sharing experience

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First, thanks to the forum administrators and contributors. I have benefited a lot from this forum on various topics.

I would like to post my recent experience at the port of entry while getting back into the US. I recently traveled to India on a 3 week vacation, during which I also got my H1B stamped. I had absolutely no problems (no 221G) with getting my visa stamped. That part when smoothly.

At the port of entry (Boston), I was asked a few simple questions:

1. Why are you in the US?

2. What is your role in the company?

3. Do you work directly for the employer or is there a client? (I work for the employer, there is no client in my case)

4. Where is your company located?

It is this last question that is the subject of this post. To give a complete answer to the question, I said the company is headquartered in XXX, California, and my office is located in YYY, Massachusetts. He caught on to this and asked me, who gave me permission to work in MA. I said I have the offer letter with me from the company, which clearly states that my place of work is MA. He said he does not care about any company offer letter and wanted to know if I/the company obtained permission from the government for me to work at MA. I said I am not aware of any such permission requested or received. I also showed him my I-797, which also simply lists the company's headquarters (California) address in the 'Petitioner' line.

He then called another officer and asked him to escort me to the "Secondary". At the secondary, I was quickly called on. The officer asked me questions similar to the officer in the primary. He asked me for proof that I am allowed by the govt to work in MA. I didn't know what proof to show and was simply replying to the officer's questions and contemplating my options. He said the company must have filed an LCA with the govt which seeks permission for me to work from MA. Once he said LCA, I at least knew where to look (because little did I know before that LCA contains that information). Since I was going for my visa stamping, I had luckily taken the whole set of documents, including the LCA. In all the 6 times I have traveled outside the US in the last 3 years on H1B, this was the first time I happened to carry an LCA (as this is usually retained by the company). The officer finally stamped my passport with permission to enter and told me, "if you did not have the document for a proof, you were going to go back to India today".

For those of you on a visa and traveling internationally, I recommend that you guys carry all the documents you can. You never know what will come handy.

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Thanks for sharing. I know people who actually have been sent back for not having the document requested with them. They would have been allowed is they had them with them since everything with their job was legit. The key is to carry every document that you ever had related to immigration and you will be fine.

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Below inference about LCA is incorrect.It is mandatory that the H1B Employer has to share the copy of the LCA with the H1B beneficiary.

Usually all genuine Employers will follow the USCIS/DOL(LCA is approved by DOL) regulations.

"I happened to carry an LCA (as this is usually retained by the company)."

Originally posted by srinath_vs:

First, thanks to the forum administrators and contributors. I have benefited a lot from this forum on various topics.

I would like to post my recent experience at the port of entry while getting back into the US. I recently traveled to India on a 3 week vacation, during which I also got my H1B stamped. I had absolutely no problems (no 221G) with getting my visa stamped. That part when smoothly.

At the port of entry (Boston), I was asked a few simple questions:

1. Why are you in the US?

2. What is your role in the company?

3. Do you work directly for the employer or is there a client? (I work for the employer, there is no client in my case)

4. Where is your company located?

It is this last question that is the subject of this post. To give a complete answer to the question, I said the company is headquartered in XXX, California, and my office is located in YYY, Massachusetts. He caught on to this and asked me, who gave me permission to work in MA. I said I have the offer letter with me from the company, which clearly states that my place of work is MA. He said he does not care about any company offer letter and wanted to know if I/the company obtained permission from the government for me to work at MA. I said I am not aware of any such permission requested or received. I also showed him my I-797, which also simply lists the company's headquarters (California) address in the 'Petitioner' line.

He then called another officer and asked him to escort me to the "Secondary". At the secondary, I was quickly called on. The officer asked me questions similar to the officer in the primary. He asked me for proof that I am allowed by the govt to work in MA. I didn't know what proof to show and was simply replying to the officer's questions and contemplating my options. He said the company must have filed an LCA with the govt which seeks permission for me to work from MA. Once he said LCA, I at least knew where to look (because little did I know before that LCA contains that information). Since I was going for my visa stamping, I had luckily taken the whole set of documents, including the LCA. In all the 6 times I have traveled outside the US in the last 3 years on H1B, this was the first time I happened to carry an LCA (as this is usually retained by the company). The officer finally stamped my passport with permission to enter and told me, "if you did not have the document for a proof, you were going to go back to India today".

For those of you on a visa and traveling internationally, I recommend that you guys carry all the documents you can. You never know what will come handy.

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It is important to read and understand all the documents your employer gives you. I have seen people on the forums who have notices from USCIS on the I797 form and they have no idea what is written in them. You could have saved yourself of the trouble if you knew that the LCA and I-129 copy that you may have already notes your work location as MA and not CA.

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Glad that you made it through.

pls familiarize with the documents as you are on the plane for several hours (at least with the soft copies).

carrying all the documents is a must as well. in soft copy at the very least.

Typically, company attorneys have a pager number that you can use in case of emergency such as secondary inspection.

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You un-necessarily messed it up. You should have told you are visiting your friend and spend some time in East coast like NYC and then go back to work at your employer CA.

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ok, this was the case when you got stamped while you were in India. But if some one goes just for a vacation and doesn't need to get stamped, should still he carry all those documents? or just the passport is enough.

Regards,

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Originally posted by INDNewYork:

You un-necessarily messed it up. You should have told you are visiting your friend and spend some time in East coast like NYC and then go back to work at your employer CA.

---> Very bad advice. They would have easily caught that lie when the OP gives them the LCA or I-129 and that would constitute "misrepresentation of material facts". That would subject you to a 10 years ban from the US and end your very short career here. The first and most important rule when talking/dealing with immigration is NEVER lie. They do not take lies lightly because they have been lied to many many times and they will be very very pissed when you lie to them. And when they're pissed, there will be bad consequences.

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Originally posted by INDNewYork:

You un-necessarily messed it up. You should have told you are visiting your friend and spend some time in East coast like NYC and then go back to work at your employer CA.

Why lie when you have LCA and I-129 showing MA as work location. Company location and work location can be different even in non-consulting scenarios as many companies have different branches. Such unscrupulous behavior causes trouble to your genuine fellow immigrants/non-immigrants.

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Originally posted by INDNewYork:

You un-necessarily messed it up. You should have told you are visiting your friend and spend some time in East coast like NYC and then go back to work at your employer CA.

Thats not right...

And might get you into more trouble...what would ve happened if he asked for LCA after he said that? he would find out that OP was lying and you know what happens next...

[This message was edited by Admin on September 02, 2011 at 07:58 AM.]

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Alright, so what all MUST HAVE documents should be with you when you are at the Port of Entry

1. Passport.

2. I-797 H1 Approval notice

3. LCA.

4. Client letter

5. ???

6. ???

7. ???

8. ???

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