Where does this 240 day grace period rule come from? I hear it talked about all the time on the forums but havent seen where it's documented officially.
I had an interesting experience travelling back from Canada this past weekend. I hold TN status which is valid until May 27th, 2007 and was attempting to re-enter the US on May 13th without an extension beyond what I held.
I was told that since I was on an extension and had not left and re-entered during it's duration that I was considered to be on my previous (thus expired) visa and that I had been in the US illegally, then the border official moved me to the secondary inspection station. He also chastised me for not handing in my previous i-94 records when leaving the US but I have never done that and it has never been a problem before, he said I did a major no-no in keeping my older i-94.
The Border guard in the secondary inspection area told me that I had to return to Canada before my current status expires unless I have a new extension in my hand, he said that if I go even one day without the extension they would revoke my TN the next time I crossed the border.
He then admitted me to the US under my current status which was valid until may 27th. I would have thought that if I had indeed been in illegal status they would have immediately barred me from entry, was I ever illegal?
This seemed to go against everything else I had read about TNs and wondered which was right. Am I still valid when I am here waiting for a extension to be processed?
Furthermore, they did not stamp my passport upon re-entry and had me keep the old i-94 in my passport. I thought for sure they would at least take that i-94 since the previous guard made such a big deal about me having it.
I know that if an extension is denied I would then have to return immediately to the Canada. What I wonder is whether it would affect my ability to re-enter on a new petition after I got there? This experience now has me a little paranoid about what I need to do, can I wait on extension or do I need to do an extension at the POE before my current one expires?
I stayed in the US last year while my extension was pending, under the premise that I was covered by the 240 day rule but now have doubt about doing it this year.
I just got a really weird feeling from the whole ordeal and am going to call USCIS and USCBP to figure out what to do but wanted to get your opinions too.