7 Important Things To Know About I-94 Form


7 Important Things To Know About I-94 Form

The I-94 form is a non-immigrant document but plays an important role in determining your immigration status. As an immigration lawyer in Houston, I often receive questions about the form from many who are hoping to apply for green card or US citizenship.

Here are seven important things any migrant with an American dream must know about I-94.

What is I-94 Form?

Popularly known as “arrival-departure record,” I-94 form contains information about your date of arrival, the expected duration of stay, when you should leave the United States, and which type of US visa you have.  The Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a part of the Department of Homeland Security, is the agency to issue this type of form to those

  • who have entered the United States,
  • who are extending their stay in the country, or
  • who have applied for green card under adjustment status.

The I-94 form is issued at the point of entry. It acts as a record to show that you have entered the country legally on specific visa status. You can use this for immigration, green card/ citizenship application, and employment verification. Consult a Houston immigration attorney to know how to get information on your I-94 form.

Those entering the United States via land border have the option to apply online for provisional I-94 in advance to avoid delay at the entry points.

No Paper I-94 Form Anymore

As of  May 2013, the CBP has been using the electronic format of the I-94 form. Prior to this, a paper form was attached to passports of foreign nationals arriving in the United States. The new format has also resulted in the use of annotated stamps on passports. The use of paper forms has become almost zero.

The shift to the electronic system has misled many to think that I-94 form no longer exists. I have often seen many look clueless when I tell/ask them about the form.

Hardcopy I-94 forms are given only when an application for extension of status with USCIS or change to database information is approved. If you need the form in a paper format, print it from the “Get Most Recent I-94” tab on the CBP website.

I-94 Is Not A Visa

You must not consider I-94 as something akin to a visa on arrival.  While a visa allows you to visit the United States, a I-94 form is a statement of your visa details, date of arrival, and the date of leaving. Visas are stamped on the passport. But I-94 is attached to a passport or kept in electronic format.

Visa means you are allowed to enter the United States. I-94 is the proof that you have entered the country lawfully on a specific date. Both have different expiration dates.

Get in touch with a Houston immigration attorney to know different types of visas helpful in getting green cards.

I-94 Mistake Can Not Be Ruled Out

Never take it for granted that your information entered on I-94 database is 100% correct. There can be mistakes at the end of the CBP and I have witnessed such incidents while providing legal support as an immigration lawyer. Make sure you check the electronic format on the agency’s portal to verify if the information entered is correct. Incorrect data may pose immigration-related problems when you apply for a green card or citizenship.

How To Fix I-94 Errors

Most common I-94 errors are related to personal information, classification, and incorrect entry of admission period. In case you come to know about errors in your I-94 information, visit the nearest CBP office. Meet the officials there and show them proof of the mistake. You may also have to submit proof of entry. Get a new form and fill it. Submit the new I-94 with all documentary evidence.  

You can visit a USCIS Service Center and submit a new form when the form I-94 is issued by the USCIS. However, if authorities there are not sure of your claim, they may ask you to submit an I-102 form.

The third option is the easiest. Visit or call any one of 70 Deferred Inspections Sites in the country.

Consult an expert Houston immigration attorney to go over all info and know important areas to review as part of the correct process.

Automatic Update of I-94 If Extension Granted

If your request for an extension of your US stay is granted, your I-94 form is updated automatically.  You don’t have to visit any CBP office. However, any stay-extension application must be submitted to the USCIS, which grants any such approval. If you have any questions regarding I-94, you are welcome to contact Zavala Texas Law. Our experienced Houston immigration lawyers are available to help you on all immigration matters.