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US Traveler in Need of Your Arrival/ Departure (I-94) Number?

If you have visited the US in the past, you may remember a white (I-94) or green (I-94W) card that was handed to you by the flight attendant en route to the USA which had to be filled out before entering the United States. This card, called the Arrival/ Departure Record, used to be stamped by the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) officer with a very important date: the date by which you had to leave the USA or else risk the multitude of adverse consequences resulting from overstaying a visa. It was the date on the I-94 (or I-94W) card that dictated the time you were permitted to spend in the US, rather than the length of the visa in your passport.

But, in the words of Bob Dylan, "the times they are a-changin'." Since earlier this year, CBP has been phasing out the paper I-94 card, instead automating the process by keeping electronic records. Now CBP has announced that paper I-94 cards are no longer issued to all US travelers arriving to the USA by sea or by air. Instead, CBP now stamps the passports of travelers to the USA to indicate the date and class of admission, as well as the date by which the visa holder must depart the US.

What happens where the information handwritten into your passport is incorrect? Concerns have been raised that human error is bound to cause, at least in some cases, discrepancies between the computerized information held by CBP and the information hand written into a visa holder's passport. This could cause the visa holder to unknowingly overstay their visa if they depart the US by the (incorrect) date stamped in their passport when, according to the official computerized record held by CBP, they were supposed to have departed the US sooner.

You will be relieved to hear that there is now a way to obtain a copy of your official Arrival/ Departure (I-94) Number. CBP operates an on-line Admission Number Retrieval system available at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/request.html. After inputting personal details such as your name, date of birth, and passport details, the system will display your Arrival/Departure record, which you can then print a copy of for your records.

On rare occasions, the electronic portal displays a "Record not found" erroneous message. That is, even though a US traveler should have an I-94 record and he or she has not yet left the USA, the system does not recognise the details provided. If you need an I-94 record in these circumstances, please get in touch with a US immigration lawyer for further assistance.

The American Immigration Law Office is a US immigration law firm in London, UK, handling a wide range of immigrant ('green card') petitions and non-immigrant visas to the USA. The firm's US immigration lawyer would be delighted to assist with your US immigration matter. Contact us today!