The I-94 form is an arrival and departure record that is issued to foreign visitors entering the United States by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). It functions as evidence of legal status for non-immigrants in the United States.
The I-94 provides information about the non-immigrant traveller, including their name, date of birth, and country of citizenship, as well as their visit to the United States, including their immigration status, date of admission, and authorised length of stay. It permits the United States government to trace and monitor entries and exits from the country.
CBP officers complete the form during the inspection procedure when a foreign national arrives at a land, air, or sea port of entry. Previously, the I-94 was a paper card attached to the visitor’s passport. In 2013, it was converted to an electronic format. The electronic version is accessible via the I-94 website.
Details Included On The I-94 Form
The primary items of information included on the I-94 are as follows:
- Full name and birth date
- Country of nationality
- Granted immigration status (visitor, student, temporary labourer, etc.).
- Unique I-94 number/admission record number
- Date of entry into the U.S.
- Class of admission (the letter corresponding to the visa category, such as B-2 for visitors)
- Admit until the authorised stay expiration date/date.
- Point of ingress at which admission was granted
- Address where the non-citizen will reside in the United States.
In addition to this essential information, the I-94 may include passport information, visa number, and occupation.
I-94 Purposes and Uses Utilisations
The I-94 serves multiple essential functions:
- Validates the bearer’s lawful visitor status and length of authorised stay in the United States.
- Facilitates status verification by employers, institutions, and government agencies
- Facilitates entry and exit surveillance, including identification of visa overstays
- Provides policymakers with information on international visitor flows to the United States.
- Assists DHS agencies in the enforcement of immigration statutes
- Identifies foreign nationals in transactions such as establishing a bank account.
- Supports the maintenance of accurate immigration statistics and records
- When applying for immigration benefits and services such as a driver’s licence, Social Security number, or work permit, individuals must present their Form I-94 to verify their legal status.
How to Acquire an I-94
When entering the United States by air or sea, the CBP officer transmits electronic arrival information to the airline, which prints out the I-94 form for insertion into your passport.
The CBP examines your passport at land border crossings, which triggers the creation of an electronic I-94 record. There needs to be a paper form provided.
Every foreign visitor has an electronic I-94 record created in the DHS database. After arrival, copies can be obtained from the official I-94 website using information from your passport.
Keeping a Valid I-94 Status
To maintain legal immigration status, you must adhere to the I-94’s authorised stay period. Staying beyond the specified Admit Until date without an extension constitutes a status violation.
When your authorised admission period expires, you must depart the country or apply for an extension/change of status before the expiration of your I-94 to remain legally in the country.
A violation of an I-94 can result in deportation and a 10-year prohibition on reentering the United States.
I-94 for Certain Visa Categories
Certain visa categories, such as F student visas and J exchange visitor visas, have particular I-94 requirements:
- On their I-94, F-1 students typically have “D/S” (duration of status) as the admit until date. This allows them to remain legally until the completion of their academic programme, provided they maintain their student status.
- J-1 visitors are admitted for “D/S” or the specific end date listed on their DS-2019, whichever is earliest. They must vacate the premises by the earliest of the two dates.
In summary, the I-94 is a vital document that verifies the legal status of transitory visitors, their eligibility to remain in the United States for a limited time, and their compliance with immigration laws. It functions as evidence of legal presence for non-citizens.