I-94 Admissions Record

What is an I-94?

The I-94 card is an admission document which controls the status of nonimmigrant foreign nationals while they are present in the United States. The I-94 card is also used to track a person’s admission to and departure from the U.S.
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The bottom portion of the I-94 reflects the traveler’s name, date of birth, country of citizenship, date of entry to the U.S., the class of admission (for example, B-1, F-1, H-1B, etc.), and the date on which the traveler’s status expires. It is a small white card which is stapled to the traveler’s passport when they clear Immigration at a port of entry to the U.S. I-94 cards are also attached to the USCIS approval notices for changes or extensions of status which are filed while the applicant is in the U.S.

When the traveler departs the U.S., they turn in the I-94 document to the airline representative. The airlines then forward the document to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which then has a record of the person’s departure from the U.S. (hopefully) within their period of authorized stay.

So what do I do if I need a copy of my I-94 card?

Travelers wanting a hard copy or other evidence of admission will be directed to www.cbp.gov/I94 to print a copy of an I-94 card based on the electronically submitted data, including the I-94 number from the form, to provide as necessary to benefits providers or as evidence of lawful admission.

The website requires you to enter your biographic and entry information (first name, last name, date of birth, passport number, date of entry and class of admission) to retrieve your electronic I-94 card. You can then print it out and use the print-out to present to other benefit-granting agencies.
CBP should provide travelers with a handout which explains how to print out the I-94. The handout is available in 12 languages.

How soon after admission will I be able to print the I-94?

The electronic record should be available immediately to the traveler to print as a record of entry. However, please note that there may be a delay of up to 48 hours for certain government agencies to obtain the information.

What do I do if I can not find my admission information in the electronic system?

CBP has advised that if you cannot find your information in the system you should contact a CBP Deferred Inspections office. For a list of Deferred Inspections offices, see:
https://www.cbp.gov/contact/deferred-inspection/overview-deferred-inspection.

Do I really need to bother printing out the I-94?

Yes. It is not legally required, but our firm strongly recommends that all travelers print out the I-94 card upon each admission to the U.S. As noted above, it is still needed for a variety of other benefits. In addition, if a person is stopped within the U.S., whether at a CBP checkpoint or during a traffic stop, having the I-94 in your possession will make it easier for the officer to determine that you are in a lawful status. Remember that the law does require that non-U.S. citizens carry proof of their status with them at all times.

In addition, printing the I-94 card allows you to confirm that the information in the electronic database is accurate. If it is not accurate, please contact our firm right away so that we can assist you with having your status corrected through CBP Deferred Inspections. Note that the government’s position is that it is the traveler’s responsibility to ensure the admission data is correct, even though the error appears on a document based on information entered by CBP.

Finally, by printing out and keeping copies of I-94 cards, you will be in a better position to prove that you have always maintained status and never overstayed a period of admission to the U.S. You may need to document this information during the green card process or for other immigration filings.

I want to print out admission information from a previous trip. Can I do that?

No. Per CBP, once you depart the U.S., the historical information will no longer be accessible.

My name or other personal information does not match on each of my travel documents. Is this a problem?

The I-94 admission information in CBP’s database will contain information scanned from the visa or passport. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the information contained on your visa stamp and passport are accurate and consistent before entering the U.S. If there is an inconsistency, you should obtain a corrected visa or passport from the U.S. Consular Post or passport issuing authority abroad before traveling to the U.S.

I am an employer filling out Section 2 or 3 of an I-9 for an employee who can only use their foreign passport and I-94 document as a List A document. What do I do if they do not have the paper I-94?

The list of acceptable I-9 documents has been expanded to include both the original paper I-94 card and the electronically-generated copy of the I-94 card, and now also references the I-94A, which is the version of the paper I-94 card provided at land borders.

In order to remain in compliance with the non-discrimination provisions of employment law, an employer may not ask an employee to present a specific document for I-9 purposes. Therefore, an employer may not ask an employee to print out the I-94 card. However, in some situations the I-94 card will be required in order to document the individual’s work authorization. If an employee in this situation does not present the I-94 card, the employer may just state that the documentation the employee has provided is not sufficient for I-9 purposes, and if they want to provide an I-94 card, the employee may obtain it online via https://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/i-94.

Does an employee need information from the I-94 in order to complete Section 1 of the I-9?

Yes. In order for the employee to complete Section 1 of the new I-9 form (effective date May 7, 2013), they will need information that will be contained only in the electronic version or paper version of the I-94 card, and not available on the admission stamp.

I sometimes travel to Mexico or Canada for less than 30 days on an expired visa, under the Automatic Visa Revalidation process. Can I still do this?

The answer to this question will depend on whether you have an I-94 card (paper) or an I-94A card (paper, issued at the land border) or an electronic I-94 card (which may be printed from the CBP website following admission to the U.S.). By regulation, returning to the U.S. after a trip to Canada or Mexico of less than 30 days is possible using an expired visa stamp IF the traveler is in possession of a valid I-94 card.

If the traveler is in possession of a paper I-94/I-94A card, the rules have not changed – this document should be stapled into your passport and not turned in when departing the U.S. for Canada or Mexico.

If you have a “new” electronic I-94 card, CBP has stated that the record of admission would be in their database (and the admission stamp with relevant information would be in the passport) so a print out of the electronic I-94 card is not mandatory to travel pursuant to this rule, but that it would be a good practice for the traveler to print and carry the I-94 card with them anyway.

Please see our FAQ with detailed information about this Automatic Visa Revalidation process on our website at insert link as this process is not available to everyone.

I am leaving the U.S. Do I still need to turn in any paper I-94 cards in my possession?

Yes. This will be necessary to ensure that your timely departure from the U.S. is recorded. However, please see the exception above with regard to short-term departures to Canada and Mexico.

If I have a print out of the electronic I-94 card based on the new system, do I have to turn that in when I leave the U.S.?

No. If the I-94 card was retrieved through the electronic automated system, it is not necessary to turn in a print out of the I-94 card. CBP will be using flight and ship manifests to confirm passengers’ departures. However, note that under the current system the airlines are fined if they do not lift the I-94 card when you depart. Therefore, if the airline representative is not familiar with the new system, they may still ask you for the I-94 card.

I am a nonimmigrant enrolled in the Global Entry Trusted Traveler Program and currently receive an electronic printout of the I-94. Will that change?

No, the Global Entry process will remain as is.

If I enter the U.S. via a land port of entry will I still receive a paper I-94 card?

Yes, you will receive a paper I-94 card, which will now be referred to as an I-94A card. Currently the automated I-94 card only applies to air and sea ports of entry.

I am concerned about my privacy with this new system. Can anyone access and print out my information via the I-94 website?

If a person has your personal and status information, theoretically, yes, someone else could access your information. However, CBP has stated this would be very difficult to do as they would need to know the port of entry, the date of entry and class of admission, in addition to the personal biographic information. For additional information you may wish to view the Privacy Act Statement on CBP’s website https://www.cbp.gov/.

I do not have easy access to a computer. Can I request a paper I-94 card?

Yes, CBP has advised that a traveler may still request the issuance of a paper I-94 card, but this is likely to result in the traveler being sent to Secondary Inspections and a lengthy wait.