Importance of Reviewing I-94 Admission Records
The I-94 Admissions Record provides nonimmigrants with proof that they have been lawfully admitted to the U.S. I-94s are issued or generated upon admission to the U.S.– either electronically for travelers entering the U.S. by air or sea; or on paper for those entering by land. I-94s are also attached to approvals of petitions/ applications filed with USCIS to change or extend status from within the U.S. Note that the I-94 applies to nonimmigrants only. U.S. citizens and U.S. lawful permanent residents (green card holders) do not receive any type of I-94 document. Please note that the most recently issued I-94 controls an individual’s status.
LAC strongly recommends that all nonimmigrants carefully review the I-94 admission record on each entry to the U.S. to ensure that the correct category and status expiration date are listed. Errors are common and can often be easily corrected if timely noticed.
Note that I-94s may legally be limited to the expiration of the passport. This is not an error that can be corrected. Where an I-94 validity is cut short due to the passport expiration date, the only options for obtaining a new I-94 are to travel abroad with a new passport or file an extension with USCIS.
The information listed on the I-94 record is what controls an individual’s status. Remaining in the U.S. in the incorrect category or beyond the expiration of the I-94 can have serious and possibly irrevocable consequences which include the following:
- If an individual remains in the U.S. for even one (1) day beyond the expiration of the I-94, the current visa will become void and subsequent visa applications will only be possible at a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in the home country.
- If an individual remains in the U.S. for 180 days beyond the expiration of the I-94 card, and then leaves the U.S., he/she will be barred from the U.S. for three years.
- If an individual remains in the U.S. for 365 days beyond the expiration of the I-94 card, and then leaves the U.S., he/she will be barred from the U.S. for 10 years.
Electronic I-94 admissions records may be accessed at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home. This website provides the most recent I-94 admission information, as well as some travel history. CBP also recently added a”View Compliance” tab for travelers entering the U.S. via the Visa Waiver Program, which allows them to check their “admitted until” date. Days remaining and days overstayed are calculated using the authorized period of admission date designated by a CBP officer when a Visa Waiver Program traveler arrives in the country.
It is important for every nonimmigrant to have a printout of their I-94 for the following reasons:
- There are frequently errors in the admission information entered in the government database. Printing the I-94 allows the traveler to review the information for accuracy, and obtain a correction if there is any inaccuracy.
- I-94 validity may be limited to the passport expiration date. Printing the I-94 allows the traveler to confirm if their expiring passport has affected their I-94 validity.
- USCIS continues to require applicants to submit a paper copy of Form I-94 when requesting certain benefits, such as change or extension of status filings
- Other government agencies such as State Departments of Motor Vehicles and the Social Security Administration offices still require a paper I-94
- An I-94 is often needed for work-authorized nonimmigrants to present to their employers during the employment eligibility verification (Form I-9) process
- The I-94 is evidence of lawful presence in the U.S., and would be necessary to present to other U.S. authorities, such as Border Patrol agents at immigration checkpoints within the U.S.