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  #1  
Old 04-07-2008, 10:06 PM
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Default Valid Visa required for Alaskan Cruise?

Guys,
I am on a H1b Visa and am planning on a vacation for alaskan cruise.

My H1b visa is expired but have a valid i94( expires 12/2010). I like to know if i need a valid visa to take this cruise from Alaska..I think cruise does not require a stamping at port of entry like air travel.

Anyone with similar experience please comment. Visa paperwork is the last thing i want to worry about during my vacation...this sucks big time!
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  #2  
Old 04-07-2008, 10:20 PM
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Default Yes, you need a valid visa

Quote:
Originally Posted by ocpmachine View Post
Guys,
I am on a H1b Visa and am planning on a vacation for alaskan cruise.

My H1b visa is expired but have a valid i94( expires 12/2010). I like to know if i need a valid visa to take this cruise from Alaska..I think cruise does not require a stamping at port of entry like air travel.

Anyone with similar experience please comment. Visa paperwork is the last thing i want to worry about during my vacation...this sucks big time!
I had to face the same situation a couple of years ago and our travel agent
told us that a valid visa is indeed required. The reason being most cruises are registered outside of the US (for tax reasons) and once you arrive back to the US on it, you will go through immigration.

I mentioned about the automatic revalidation rule (ie. returning from border country on valid I-94 only), but she advised to avoid the risk. Please consult with your attorney/travel agent before you purchase your tickets.
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  #3  
Old 04-07-2008, 11:43 PM
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Default

Thanks Prasad for your reply.
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  #4  
Old 04-08-2008, 12:07 AM
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Default

It depends on which port your Alaskan cruise is starting from. If it is starting from Vancouver as most do you may need visa or use auto revalidation but you will also need Canadian visitor visa.

If starting from Seattle then you may not need a visa but go ahead and check with the cruiseline anyways.

On a similar note I dont think visa is needed to travel from US mainland to Hawaii and back.
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  #5  
Old 04-08-2008, 02:27 AM
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Default Yes you need a visa

I have been on 4 cruises and one of them has been to Alaska. Not only do you need valid visa for entering US, you also need visa for entering port located in other countries (in your case it will probably be Canada). I learned it the hard way... My first cruise was to Bermuda where Indians do not require a visa. I had a valid H1 visa while coming back... that was an excellent trip... However, my 2nd cruise was Mexico/Carribean and I did not have visas for any of the countries I was supposed to visit! I know that was dumb and I should have checked! I was not allowed to board... Cruise line refunded me 50% of the money so that was cool... From then on I make sure that I have all the visas including H1 taken care of so that my vacation is hassle free! Some countries allow cruise visitors without visa if the cruise stopover is not overnight for eg Cayman islands, Jamaica etc... In case of Alaskan Cruise there is usually a stop at Victoria or some other Canadian island! You need a Canadian Visa to enter Canada! And while entering US they check your visas just as they would check at any other port of entry if you were flying! The cruise lines do not take any responsibility of visa issues... Infact, on your ticket it will be clearly mentioned that you are supposed to take care of your visas.. which means calling the respective countries consulates... I think cruises are the best way to travel 5 star style at budget price... However, there are lot of hidden costs that show up later. The only thing I would suggest to be generous is while tipping... 50 to 70% of the staff is Indian and the living conditions are not the best... so apart from the mandatory tip I would suggest to go beyond esp if you think the service is excellent (which it normally is!) Have fun!!
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  #6  
Old 04-08-2008, 11:07 AM
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Default Advance parole accepted?

During the alaskan trip, while entering back to US, i hope the AP is good enuf to enter instead of the h1b visa? right?

for stopover in canadian ports, we have to get canada visitor visa.
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  #7  
Old 04-08-2008, 02:35 PM
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Default Thats correct

Quote:
Originally Posted by bekugc View Post
During the alaskan trip, while entering back to US, i hope the AP is good enuf to enter instead of the h1b visa? right?

for stopover in canadian ports, we have to get canada visitor visa.
Yes that is correct...
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  #8  
Old 04-08-2008, 04:25 PM
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ocpmachine is a jewel in the rough ocpmachine is a jewel in the rough ocpmachine is a jewel in the rough ocpmachine is a jewel in the rough
Default Summary

Thanks guys for all the contribution.

Just for the benefit of future travelers going to Alaska Cruise, here are the VISA requirements:
(Cruise departing/return - Seattle,WA,USA)

* You need a valid H1B visa/AP/Green-card(!!??) to return back to USA after the cruise
( Note: USCIS is currently working on a process to implement (by 2008 summer) immigration checks(new I94 issued) at port of entry for travel by land,sea,air (currently only for land,air travel).

* You also need Canadian Visa(Visitors) if the cruise stops over at Canadian ports (most of Alaskan cruise does btw).

So plan on adding another $200-500 per person for VISA expenses...THIS SUCKS!!

Hope this helps.
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  #9  
Old 04-14-2009, 03:50 PM
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Default This is sick..!

Do you guys think we need a valid visa for entry into US even if we cruise from Seattle - Alsaka - Seattle and dont touch any foreign ports ?
I do have AP & EAD & valid H1B not stamped, but looking at the current POE and immigration mess I dont wish to take chances. But my husband needs a good vacation now as its been 6 yrs since he has visited his home country due to immigration backlog and status in limbo..!!
Well if anyone comes across a cruiseline or an itinerary that doesnt require any stamping and is FREE of this immigration hassles please do let me know.
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  #10  
Old 04-14-2009, 05:41 PM
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Default AP will not affect H status

This is what I hear from my friend through his attorney -
u dont need a valid US visa to come inside US if u travel to canada and return back within 30 days. You need a approved H1B peition and paystubs.

About using AP - this what my attorney told me - Using AP will not affect H status

Typically whenever you depart the United States, you will be asked to surrender your I-94 card. Upon returning to the United States, you will be issued a new I-94 card which will dictate your status. If you enter the United States using valid AP documents, the status on your I-94 card will be “Parolee”. This should not, however, negatively impact your ability to extend your H status in the future.
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  #11  
Old 04-14-2009, 06:07 PM
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Default Thanks meet

I know it is true , we could use our AP for reentry into the US but considering the Problems at the POE at various airports of deporting legal immigrants , this could be a big risk. Actually we wanted to travel to ur home country {India} but my husband called Murthy and spoke to her directly for which she cautios taking any trip outside if its not emergency.
Does anybody think it is still risky to travel even if you are legally allowed to enter US through AP??
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  #12  
Old 04-14-2009, 06:50 PM
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Wow! I learn something new everyday
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  #13  
Old 04-14-2009, 07:06 PM
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Default Play it safe

I would play it safe and visit Hawaii or Florida or DC etc.

If you do decide to take the cruise, inform your company lawyers in advance.
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  #14  
Old 06-01-2009, 02:46 PM
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ocpmachine or anyone else who has been on an Alaska cruise - please share your experience regarding travel on expired H-1B visas with I-797 approval.
Were you able to use automatic visa revalidation or had to use AP to re-enter US ?
I believe all Alaska-based cruise have atleast one port of call in Canada.
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  #15  
Old 06-01-2009, 03:31 PM
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Default Valid Visa or I94 or AP is required.

dbd1979 ,

If you don't have a valid Visa(h1/l1), then atleast you need a valid I94 to re-enter US using visa revalidation rule after the Alaskan cruise. Alternatively, you can use AP too if you have one. Hope this helps. During my trip, the officer at POE just looked at my I-94 and let me go, no questions asked.

I am planning on Caribbean cruise this year and what sucks is we need UK transit visa for 6 hour stopover in Caymam Islands which is part of UK.

For others, there are some wonderful deals out there where you get 7 night cruise from ~300/person(Inside) or $450/person(Balcony) all inclusive + tips extra, this is the lowest price($42/day per person) i have seen so far. Take the cruise once you will be hooked for life!
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