04 May Where Is My I-94?
Dear Attorney Gurfinkel:
I recently arrived in the U.S. as a visitor, and at the airport, I was given six months. However, the immigration officer (CBP) did not staple an I-94 (arrival/departure record) in my passport. How can I be sure when I must depart, and how can I get a copy of my I-94, to make sure I don’t overstay?
Very truly yours,
Years ago, when nonimmigrants (including visitors) arrived at ports of entry, such as airports, they would fill out their arrival departure form (I-94), and the immigration officer (CBP) would stamp their passport, and staple a little, white postcard size document in their passport, which showed how long they can remain in the U.S.
Now, CBP has gone electronic. Your I-94 is no longer stapled into your passport, but instead is available online. I would recommend to anyone who enters as a non-immigrant to check their online I-94 to make sure it is correct and confirm how long they may remain in the U.S., so they don’t overstay or go out of status. The CBP website also has records of your arrival and departures for the past 10 years.
How do you locate your I-94? One easy way is to go to Google and type in “I-94.” Usually, the first hit is the CBP official website. Click that and scroll down, the option to “get most recent I – 94.” Other options allow you to view your U.S. arrival and departure history for the past 10 years.
The required information to obtain your most recent I-94 would include your name, date of birth, passport number (or alien number). You can then retrieve and print your I-94, but check that all the information is correct, especially your departure date.
Travel history can also be important, especially for someone who is in the U.S. applying for immigration benefits. I had one case where a person entered as a visitor and never left the U.S. For some reason, USCIS accused her of having departed the U.S., applying for another visitor visa in Manila, but was denied, and snuck back into the U.S.. Therefore, she was guilty of fraud. We were able to prove she never left the U.S., partially because of obtaining her travel history.
If you have any questions or issues about your arrival/departure record, or if there has been some error when CBP issued your I-94, you may want to consult with an attorney, who could assist you in correcting the I-94, so you can prove compliance with the terms of your visa. Remember, if a person goes out of status for even one day, their existing visa could be void. If they overstay in the U.S. for more than six months, they could be banned from returning for between 3 and 10 years.
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