As a foreigner, upon entering the United States you will receive the Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record. This document, issued by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officer, provides you basic information about your stay such as your arrival date, visa status, and the date you are required to leave the U.S.
There are now two formats in which you may receive your Form I-94 – paper and electronic – but as of April 30, 2013, most Arrival/Departure Records are created electronically. In this case, you will be given an annotated stamp in your passport instead of a paper form. If you are provided a paper Form I-94, a CBP officer attaches it to your passport and stamps your departure date on the form.
Although an electronic version cuts down on paper and drastically decreases the possibility of losing your document, it can be slightly more complicated to access, especially if it’s your first time locating your record. Don’t worry though – here’s a guide on how to access your electronic Form I-94, along with a few useful tips and tricks.
How to Access Your Form I-94
To access your I-94 record, go to CBP’s website. Once there, click on the Get Most Recent I-94 button. A page will then pop up requiring you to agree to the following terms before continuing: “By accessing this website, you understand and acknowledge that: You are declaring under penalty of perjury pursuant to 28 U.S. Code § 1746 that you: (1) are only seeking records about yourself, (2) are seeking records about someone for whom you are the legal guardian, or (3) you have the consent of the person whose records you are seeking. You are not authorized to access this website to retrieve records of another person unless you are the person’s legal guardian or you have the person’s consent.” After consenting, you will see a page similar to the screen shot below. Enter the required information.
Entering the data in the required fields, if done correctly, will allow you to access your electronic Form I-94. However, all information must be entered accurately; even one simple misspelling or formatting error will prevent you from accessing your record. If you’re having trouble accessing your record, try the following troubleshooting tips.
Enter your name exactly as it is written on your passport. If this does not work, attempt to enter your name in a different format.
- Check your visa, airline ticket, boarding pass, or your submitted Form DS-160, Online Nonimmigrant Visa Application (if available) for any variations in the spelling of your name. If there are differences, try entering each one as they appear on these documents.
- In some countries, the first name may be written as the last name on the passport. If this is the case, try switching the order of your names.
- Your passport may include both your first and middle name, but your electronic Form I-94 may list these both as your first name. It’s also possible that your middle name is not included in the electronic record. Pay attention to these details.
- If your name is hyphenated, and you cannot gain access to your electronic I-94 by entering your name as it appears, remove the hyphen and try again. Likewise, if you have two first or last names with a space between them, such as “Mary Anne,” try entering them without a space as “Maryanne.”
- Each name field has a 25-character limit. If your name exceeds 25 characters, try entering it without any spaces as far as it will allow you.
Check Your Passport
Consider multiple entry options for your passport number.
- If both letters and numbers appear in your passport number, try entering a space after the letter(s). For example, if your passport number appears as LR573892 on your passport, try entering it as LR 573892.
- If the date your passport was issued is part of the passport number, try removing these digits when you enter it in.
- If you have a Mexican passport, try entering your passport number without the first two digits. You can also try removing the last two digits.
- If the valid visa is in an expired passport, try entering the old passport number instead of the new one used for entry.
- Sometimes the passport booklet number differs from the number listed on your bio page. Try both.
If You Still Can’t Access Your Form I-94
If you still cannot access your electronic Form I-94 after trying the above tips, the next step is to call or visit your local CBP deferred inspection office. Some offices can solve most problems over the phone, but others may require an in-person visit.