Form I-94 FAQs

Since the paper I-94 form for nonimmigrant visa holders is still a part of entry-exit system, below are some frequently asked questions about the paper I-94 form. In many instances, visitors might encounter some problems of error and understanding of the I-94 process.

Frequently Asked Questions About I-94 Form

What should I do if I did not turn in my I-94 Form (Arrival / Departure Record Form) when I left the U.S.?

If you failed to return the I-94 after departure from US, your departure may not be recorded properly. The US Customs and Border Protection unit (CBP) may conclude that you did not leave US within the stipulated time frame, and illegally overstayed in the country.  If you arrived by a commercial sea or air carrier (airlines and cruise) and forgot to turn in the I-94, your departure can be verified easily. Retaining your boarding pass may facilitate the process of reentry to US.

If you used private carrier to depart US, and forgot to turn in the I-94, then you have take steps to correct your records. If you do not correct the records and fail to provide proof that you did not overstay, CBP will conclude that you broke the law. This might result in cancellation of your visa and you might have problem reentering US.

If you are a VWP visitor traveling without ESTA approval, and forgot to turn in your I-94, you will also need to correct your record. If you fail to do so, the next time you enter US you will be sent back from the port of entry. If you left US by a commercial air or sea carrier your departure can be proved easily.

Do not send the I-94 and other documents to support your timely exit from US to any US Embassy/Consulate or CBP office. To correct your records send your I-94 departure record along with any documentation that proved you left US to:
Coleman Data Solutions
Box 7965
Akron, OH 44306
Attn: NIDPS (I-94)
USA (If using U.S. Postal Service)
OR Coleman Data Solutions
3043 Sanitarium Road, Suite 2
Akron, OH 44312
Attn: NIDPS (I-94)
(If using FedEx or UPS)

The documents you can send to DHS-CBP are:

  • A letter of explanation in English.
  • Original boarding passes, photocopies of pages of passport that has the entry and departure stamps, photocopy of your biographical page containing the photograph, and photocopies of all the pages of the passport that are not blank.

You can also include photocopies of additional documents that prove your stay in another country after departure from US. The documents can be:

  • Dated payslips from your employer to prove that you worked in another country after your departure.
  • School records to show attendance in school in another country after you left US.
  • Dated bank records showing transactions after you left US.
  • Dated credit card receipts to show your purchases after you left US. The receipt should have your name. You should delete the card number to retain your privacy.
  • Delayed flights, medical emergencies, etc are not considered unauthorized overstays. But you have to carry a proof of the delay the next time you enter US. The proof can be in the form of doctors letter in case of medical emergency or a canceled boarding pass and letter from the airline confirming the flight delay.

You should send legible photocopies of documents and original if possible. If you send originals then keep a copy of those for your records. CBP will not return the original material to you. Keep a copy of the documents you send to the DHS-CBP for your own records. When you enter US the next time, those copies might be required at the port of entry to prove the validity of reentry. Also, if your case has not been corrected at the London, KY office,  it can be corrected at the port of entry provided you have all the required documents.
Remember the I-94 has to be turned in only when leaving US. If you are taking a trip of 30 days or less to Mexico, Canada, or Caribbean Islands keep the I-94 with you.

What should I do if I need to correct the errors in my I-94 Form?

I-94 can be filled incorrectly and there can errors in name, date of birth, and other such biographical information, error in visa classification, and error in period of admission. Or the error might be that the I-94 was not stamped with a departure date. In such cases you can go to a local Customs and Border Protection Deferred Inspection Site (DIS) or a port of entry with a DIS to have the I-94 corrected.  Call the DIS office ahead of your visit because they have limited hours for administrative work.

If the form I-94 that has the error was issued by USCIS office or from a USCIS service center, you should visit the local USCIS office to request a new Form I-94. You can give documentary proof that the information in the I-94 is incorrect. If the officer at the local USCIS is unconvinced about the error and is suspicious of fraud, the officer may ask you to file a Form I-102. Form I-102 is an application for Replacement/ Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival Departure Document.

What should I do if my I-94 Form is lost/stolen/mutilated while in USA?

If your Form I-94 has been lost, stolen, or destroyed, you must get a replacement immediately. First step is to go to the local police station and report your document(s) lost or stolen. If available, you will need to provide copies of the original documents. You will be issued a police report detailing the incident. Make an extra copy of the report for your own records.

You must contact USCIS AT 1-800-375-5283 and apply for a replacement I-94. You have to file I-102 form for this process. (Download I-102 Form). In addition, you may have to submit copy of the original I-94. If you don’t have it, you may have to submit the photocopy of the biographical page of the passport and the photocopy of the page that was stamped at the port of entry.

I am a visitor entering US under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). Do I need to fill an I-94W?

Because of the implementation of Electronic System of Travel Authorization (ESTA) program, the Department of Homeland Security does not require visitors who are covered under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) to complete I-94W prior to entering US. They will also not be given a green I-94 departure card on their passport. CBP does paperless processing for visitors arriving by sea or air. The visitors receive an admission stamp on their travel document instead of a paper I-94W. VWP visitors traveling without ESTA approval still need to fill the I-94 form.

Which I-94 Card should I hand over while leaving USA?

In some cases when a visa holder has more than one I-94, confusion might arise as to which I-94 to submit. The possible scenarios of having multiple I-94 are:

  • You work on the L visa and subsequently work on the H visa, or vice versa. This means your visa status was changed multiple times.
  • You file for a visa extension and visa transfer and receive the approval letter 797 with a new and extended I-94.

In such cases

  • Make a copy of the 797 and keep in your record.
  • Remove the I-94 from the bottom of the approval letter.
  • Staple the I-94 along with existing I-94 which is already in your passport.
  • While exiting USA you must give all the I-94 to the concerned officer who collects I-94.

If you extend your stay, you will get a new I-94 with approval. Instead of turning in the latest I-94 card at the time of departure, visitors do not turn in any I-94, or turn in the first I-94 that has already expired. Please remember that the latest original I-94 card approved by the USCIS is the main evidence that the individual was allowed to remain legally in the U.S. based on an approved extension. The I-94 you received after the extension must be surrendered upon departure.

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