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What Is An I-94 Record & Why Is It So Important?

An I-94 record is the DHS Arrival/Departure Record issued to individuals in nonimmigrant status who are admitted to the United States. A Customs and Border Protection officer generally would attach the I-94 to the non-immigrant visitor’s passport upon entry to the United States. Now, the I-94 Form is automated: Travelers will be issued I-94s electronically at the border. If a traveler would like a paper form I-94, the traveler can print their own from the I-94 website or request it during the inspection process, however, all such requests will be accommodated in a secondary setting. The visitor must exit the United States on or before the departure date that is indicated on the I-94.

The record is very important because it proves that you entered the country lawfully and shows the date by which you must depart the United States. Travelers may need information from their I-94 admission record to verify immigration status or employment authorization. The I-94 proves your legal-visitor status, which may be required or requested by employers, schools/universities, or government agencies.

Travelers are encouraged to use the CBP One mobile app of the CBP I-94 website to apply for their I-94. If travelers need the information from their I-94 admission record, they are encouraged to get their I-94 number from the I-94 website of the mobile app. It is important to note that this electronic system still has some issues: If you received an electronic I-94 upon arrival by air or sea or land and depart via land, your departure may not be recorded accurately. Therefore, U.S. Customs and Border Protection recommends that if you are not a resident of Canada or Mexico and you receive an electronic I-94 and depart via land but do not re-enter the United States prior to the expiration date stamped on your passport, you may want to travel with evidence of your departure into Canada or Mexico. Evidence of departure can include entry stamps in a passport, transportation tickets, pay stubs, and other receipts. A departure will be recorded if you depart via land and re-enter the United States prior to the expiration date stamped in your passport.

If you have questions on visiting or working in the United States, be sure to contact Berardi Immigration Law to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!