Upon lawfully entering the U.S. at a Port-of-Entry, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will issue an Arrival/ Departure Record Form I-94. However, sometimes they fail to this or issue incorrect information on the form. If this happens, you can schedule an appointment at a local CBP deferred inspection site of port of entry with a deferred inspection office to have your admission record corrected.
It is vital to keep track of your I-94 Arrival/ Departure Record during any entry into the U.S. in a nonimmigrant visa status. The I-94 system is an automated record system maintained by the U.S. CBP that contains an overview of your entries and exits into and out of the United States.
It is always a good idea to have an immigration attorney on your team when handling immigration law. If you’re seeking an immigration benefit or otherwise have difficulty retrieving a Form I-94, or you have any other query, consult with our experienced immigration lawyer for guidance.
Form I-94 is the key to your arrival and departure from the United States. It is a critical part of your immigration process that indicates the time and dates that you can arrive and depart the country.
Form I-94 contains proof that a foreign national was permitted entry into the country. It shows they have gone through the proper visa process, been granted, and then been inspected by a border officer. Not only does it show someone is permitted to be here but it also says how long they are permitted to stay. When a foreign national goes through a port of entry, a border officer may stamp a date in their passport to show the expiry date of the visa. However, the date on the I-94 is different from this entry date and is the accurate expiry date for the visa status.
In the past, the CBP issued physical, white I-94 cards to people entering the country in a nonimmigrant visa status. In recent years, the CBP has not issued I-94s in the form of white cards and has started automating the process. Instead of getting a physical I-94 card on your entry to the US, you must now obtain your I-94 online.
If your electronic I-94 contains incorrect information, from within the United States you can correct it by contacting a local CBP Deferred Inspection Site or Port of Entry (POE) with a deferred inspection office. You will be assigned an appointment and must bring supporting documentation to prove a mistake has taken place.
For example, if your I-94 indicates that you entered as a B-2 tourist when you actually came in on an E-2 visa, you would show your current visa, the incorrect electronic I-94, and the correct visa stamp indicating your admission class. If you get an incorrect I-94 on your approval notice from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, you can file Form I-102, Application for Replacement/ Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document to get a corrected I-94.
If you need changes, you must visit CBP in an airport to facilitate corrections. Any designated deferred inspection location or CBP office within an international airport can assist you, irrespective where the document was received. Officers at deferred inspection sites will evaluate your admission and can issue the required documents to correct mistakes made during the recording of your entrance.
In some instances, a CBP deferred inspection site can be used to correct an error recorded I-94 admission record. CBP has an online tool that permits you to inquire and request help with I-94 matters. This can be done through the following link: CBP Online I-94 Assistance.
Some of our clients have succeeded in altering their I-94 by contacting deferred inspection sites here.
CBP has a great deal of discretion when it comes to deferred inspection and makes determinations on a case-by-case basis.
Factors that may be considered when making a deferred inspection decision include:
If CBP decides to grant you a deferred inspection, an officer will give you a Form I-546, Order to Appear-Deferred Inspection, which will explain what information and documents you must bring with you to the deferred inspection site.
You must appear for a scheduled deferred inspection. Failure to do so may result in the issuance of a notice to appear (NTA) in removal proceedings.
You should demonstrate which areas of the I-94 are incorrect at your appointment. Likewise, you must prove, via presenting supporting documents or statements, why these pieces of given information are not correct. If your case is plausible and convincing, the officer at the appointment will give you access to the correct form. No corrections will be allowed if the officer deems it to be deceptive or not enough evidence is presented to support the inaccuracies. If the officer is not willing to change the data, you must submit Form I-102 to the USCIS. Allow time for this form to be filed. Also, you must pay processing fees.
Before you enter the United States to obtain your I-94 form, you must go through the challenging process of applying for a visa. A visa application, requesting an extension on your existing visa (with an extension on your Form I-94), or adjusting your status are all daunting processes. Having the expert guidance of an immigration attorney can help make the extensive process of dealing with immigration law less challenging. We can assist with due dates and organization and ensuring all required forms are filed correctly.
With offices in Portland, Oregon, Los Angeles, California, and Seattle, Washington, the experienced immigration attorneys at Passage Immigration Law have many years of combined experience. We understand the importance of the I-94 form and have helped many clients correctly file the form to start their immigration process.
We can assist you during every step of the way through your immigration process, discuss your green card eligibility, and support you as you start on your path to residing in the United States. Contact us today at (503) 427-8243 or schedule a consultation here. We look forward to hearing from you!
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