What is Form I-94?
Form I-94 is an Arrival Departure Record that has the information about the date of entry into the United States, class of admission and when the authorized stay expires. Whenever a non-immigrant enters the United States, Form I-94 must be completed at the time of entry into the United States. If entering the U.S. by air or sea, the transport line will give Form I-94 to the non-immigrant and if by land the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials will give a blank I-94 form to the non-immigrant.
The I-94 form has two sections – the arrival record and the departure record. Both the sections must be completed by the non-immigrant. The upper portion of Form I-94 is the arrival record and has the following information:
- Admission Number
- Date of birth
- Country of Citizenship
- Passport Number
- Airline or flight number
- Country where you live
- City where you boarded
- City where the visa was issued
- Date visa was issued
- Address while in the United States (Number and Street)
- City and State
The bottom part of Form I-94 is the departure record and has the following information:
- Departure Number
- Date of birth
- Country of citizenship
The non-immigrant completes Form I-94 and gives it to the CBP officer along with the passport. During the processing of I-94 form, the CBP officer might ask questions about the purpose of the visit, duration of the visit and residence abroad. If the details that are provided in the I-94 form is accurate and legitimate, the CBP officer stamps the Form I-94 Arrival, Departure Record and the passport and keeps the arrival section of the form for record purposes and gives the passport and departure record to the non-immigrant. Thus the non-immigrant gets an approval to enter the United States in a specific non-immigrant status for an authorized stay.
When the non-immigrant is in the United States, he can apply for change of status or extension of stay by filing Form I-539. If the application for change of status or extension is approved by the USCIS, the non-immigrant will be issued a Approval Notice with a new I-94 card. The I-94 card depicts the new category or the extended status along with the information about when the authorized stay expires.
The admission number and the departure number in the I-94 form will be the same. The departure record must be handed over to the United States CBP officials when the non-immigrant leaves the United States.