If you recently traveled into the United States as a nonimmigrant, you will have noticed that you may not be receiving a paper I-94 card any longer upon your entry. Instead, you are given an entry stamp at the border, after which you are instructed to go to the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) website to retrieve your I-94 number. Below are some common questions and tips regarding the automated I-94 number.

Does anyone still receive a card? Yes, you may still receive a white I-94 card if you are Canadian and driving across the border from Canada to the United States. You may also receive a white paper printout if you travel into the United States via the Global Entry program.

How do I determine my duration of stay in the United States? In the past you were able to simply open your passport to find the expiration date on the I-94 card. Because of the new I-94 automation process, CBP officers are instructed to annotate the expiration date on your entry stamp, though they often do not. Now, you must go to the CBP website to retrieve your I-94 number. We advise that once you retrieve your number, print out the page, fold it, and put it in your passport in case discrepancies arise the next time you travel into the U.S. It may also be simpler to keep it with your original approval notice or other immigration documents you routinely take with you when you travel outside the United States.

The CBP website tells me that my I-94 Record Number is “Not Found.” What do I do? If your I-94 record is not found, it does not mean that your entry was not recorded. It may simply mean the officer at the time of entry misspelled your name, put in a different number, or even a different date. Here are some tips you can use to hopefully retrieve your number:

  • Do you have a middle name you did not put in? Try inputting your middle name, or even the first letter of your middle name.
  • Do you have a new passport? The officer may have used your old passport number.
  • Is there a different way you may have spelled your last name, or you did you use your maiden name instead of your married name? Check your nonimmigrant papers for the name used.
  • Choose different dates of entry by trying one day before or after you entered the U.S.

The tips above have worked for some of our clients, but of course there are instances where the record simply cannot be found. In this case, you will need to visit a local CBP Deferred Inspection Site or port of entry to correct the problem.

I retrieved my I-94 number, but the date is wrong. I did not get the amount of time I was supposed to get according to my documents. If your I-94 record “shorts” your stay in the U.S., you will need to go to a Port of Entry or Deferred Inspection site to have it fixed. Please see the links above.

 

Posted by: Kristen Ng, Associate Attorney