The I-94 form’s purpose is to trace a candidate’s entry and departure from within and outside the United States. It also serves as status proof for foreign nationals who are in the US under one or another type of visa status.

Before 2013, the issuance of the I-94 as a paper document led to numerous challenges for the public. In 2013, the government issued an online digital document to prevent loss. Do not attach the I-94 to your passport; you can access it anywhere. If you have any questions about the I-94 online or how to retrieve an I-94 form, an experienced immigration attorney may be able to assist you in the best possible manner.

What Is An I-94 Immigration Form?

The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issues Form I-94, also known as the Arrival/Departure Record, to aliens seeking to modify their status in the United States or extend their stay, among other purposes. 

When a non-immigrant visitor enters the country, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer attaches the I-94 form to the visitor’s passport.

Who Needs To Fill Out The I-94 Form?

The following individuals are required to complete the I-94 form:

  • Students, tourists, exchange visitors, temporary workers, and non-US citizens are coming to the United States.
  • Individuals are trying to change their status in the United States.
  • The group includes non-residents who are returning to the US.
  • Some intend to prolong their non-immigrant visa in the US.

Who Does Not Need An I-94 Form?

Everyone who is planning to enter the United States will require Form I-94, except for the following:

  • American citizens
  • Non-U.S. citizens who have immigrant visas
  • A lawful permanent resident is a person who holds a green card.
  • Resident aliens who are returning
  • Travelers with a visa waiver program (VWP) get an i-94 form processed online.
  • Canadian nationals in transit or on a visit to the US

How Do I Apply For i-94?

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is responsible for issuing the i-94 form electronically.

  • Arriving by air or sea: If an individual travels by sea or air, a CBP officer will issue an electronic i-94 when they enter the US during the admissions process.
  • Arriving by land: Land travelers can apply for an I-94 in person at the entrance or seven days before entry. There is an official website for the I-94 where you can apply, and you need to pay an I-94 form fee of approximately $6.

How Do I Access I-94?

You can access your I-94 immigration form on the i-94 database. You may be required to provide the following details for issuance:

  • The name of the candidate
  • Date of birth
  • Passport number
  • Passport’s country of issuance

After entering the required information, you can view the i-94 record. This record will display the most recent entry or exit from the United States and a detailed history of travel into and out of the country over the past five years. Every time a foreign national enters the United States, the U.S. immigration form i-94 automatically updates. However, you still need to prove that you are legally in the US.

Visit CBP’s website and look for the Form i-94 section to validate your identity. After agreeing to the terms of service, you may log in. After logging in, your latest i-94 and travel history will appear. It will also mention your stay’s expiration date, as well as your visa status and entry date into the United States.

Why Is i-94 Important?

For a variety of reasons, I-94 travel history is essential:

  • It indicates that you have previously entered the United States legally.
  • If someone wants to change their immigration status, they may be required to provide an i-94 travel history as supporting documentation.
  • If there are errors or issues with the immigration record, the i-94 travel history will help to clarify them.

What Should You Look For On Your I-94?

The online i-94 forms prove your legal entry into the United States. It mentions how long a scholar or student will stay in the US. It also proves that the candidate arrived in the US legally and confirms their current immigration status.

It’s important to remember that i-94 form documents also include a record number. Each entry modifies the record number, resulting in subsequent i-94s. To change your status in the US or for other immigration matters, you need the number. The I-94 form policy will also comprise your date of entry, end date, and class of admission. It is vital to show your correct status and accurate dates.

The i-94 form was an 11-digit number until May 2019. However, CBP has now changed it to an 11-character alphanumeric code, combining letters and numbers. The old number system forms will be valid until the “Admit Until Date” has passed.

Why  Should You Check Your I-94 And What To Do If  There Is An Error?

The border patrol agent enters all the information on the i-94 form. Sometimes information may be incorrect due to human error, as the agents enter thousands of pieces of data every day. Each time they enter the US, the candidate must provide accurate information to ensure compliance with i-94 form regulations.

If the USCIS has issued Form I-94, which grants an extension of stay or a change of status, the candidate needs to file Form I-102 (officially called the “Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document”), and you have to pay a filing fee of $560. The form is an application that replaces the initial nonimmigrant arrival and departure document.

If there is a mistake, you must note it. You can tell an immigration attorney about a form error. They may be able to help rectify the mistake without any immigration hassles.

Some common errors are incorrect deadlines, incorrect status classifications, or incorrect personal information. You can also discuss these common errors with a border patrol agent, as well as the convenient process of correcting the i-94 form.

If an individual wishes to replace Form i-94, they can do so on the CBP website or by calling 1-877-CBP-5511 (1-877-227-5511). The timings are from Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time. 

How Do I Update The I-94?

In person, you can make corrections to the i-94. Therefore, going to the CBP deferred inspection office is advisable if you are in a time-sensitive situation. Generally, in-person applications take precedence over email requests.

You can extend your visa by submitting it to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). However, they cannot update I-94. Only the border patrol officer can update your i-94 form. The agent will only update online i-94s, while the USCIS can send you an i-94 through a paper document.

There Are Differences Between I-94 Dates And Visa Dates

The I-94, a US entry document, specifies the duration of a candidate’s stay in the US, whereas a visa serves as an entry document for travel to the US, which you must present at the port of entry.

Applicants may receive a 5-year permit when applying for work-related visas. However, the candidate will stay for two years, not more. They will renew their I-94 every two years, with the option to extend it to five years.

How Can An Immigration Attorney Help If I-94 Expires?

The I-94 Form is one of the most important documents for non-immigrants staying in the United States. This is the document that will confirm your immigration status and control your period of stay. If your i-94 expires, your status will end, with or without other documents.

Avoid overstaying your i-94, as it can lead to serious consequences, such as removal from the US or a 3-year or more entry ban if you exceed 180 days. A candidate will face a 10-year ban from entering the US if their stay exceeds one year.

If you are unfamiliar with this situation, an immigration lawyer will undoubtedly assist you. If you want to stay in the US, follow the protocols and abide by the dates mentioned in I-94. If you have any queries, you can consider contacting an attorney immediately.

FAQs On i-94 Form

When an individual enters the U.S., you may print a paper copy of the electronic i-94 record from the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website. Along with other immigration documents, you must keep an i-94 record paper copy. It is essential to check that electronic travel records are up-to-date and accurate.
To print or download a copy of the i-94 form, you can log in to CBP’s i-94 website and follow the on-screen instructions. To avoid serious consequences, keep a printed copy of the i-94 form safe.
Since the CBP website stores i-94 forms electronically, you can easily download a copy of your travel record for free. People who entered the United States before April 2023 may face complications because, at that time, the I-94 form was not electronic. However, an immigration lawyer may help you with the problem.