Entering the United States involves an inspection by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent who performs two essential tasks upon approving your admission:
- Passport Stamping: The CBP agent will stamp your passport with important details like the admission date, expiration date, and class of admission (e.g., B-2 for tourists, WT for ESTA travelers, H-1B for H-1B workers).
- Admission Record: Simultaneously, your admission record is entered into CBP’s database, serving as an official record of your entry.
To avoid complications, always check your passport before leaving the port of entry to confirm your period of admission, indicated by the expiration date. It’s crucial to catch and correct any mistakes at this stage.
Regardless of the visa category, it is important to note that your period of admission should never extend beyond your passport’s expiration date. If your passport is near expiration, be attentive to your admission period, as it may be shorter than expected.
How to Confirm Your Status Expiration Date:
CBP no longer staples a paper I-94 into passports. Instead, you can access your admission records online at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov. This website provides your I-94 admission number, visa classification, and status expiration date. You can also review your travel history on the CBP website.
Changing or Extending Your Status:
If you need to extend your stay or change your class of admission, you must file an application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). At this time, these requests for extending or changing your status are taking a very long time to get approved, therefore, we highly recommend you consult with an immigration attorney to find out how this would affect you.
Mistakes in the I-94 Admission Record:
Finding and correcting mistakes in your admission record is easier when identified promptly. To rectify an error, you must approach the relevant agency, provide evidence of the mistake, and request a correction. However, this process can be complex, so it’s advisable to seek guidance from an immigration attorney who can help resolve governmental mistakes.
If a mistake is made by the border inspector, you must visit a local CBP Deferred Inspection Site to have the admission record corrected. You can find a list of these sites on CBP’s website under the “Ports” link.
For mistakes made by USCIS when extending or changing your status, contact USCIS directly. This usually involves filing an application or petition with USCIS.
Discovering Mistakes After the Admission Period Ends:
Discovering a mistake after the admission period has expired can be concerning. In such cases, it is important to remain calm and contact your immigration attorney first. They will evaluate the possibility of rectifying the mistake within the United States or guide you on the process of leaving the country and applying for a new visa. Your attorney will help create a plan to manage and resolve the situation, depending on your specific circumstances.
Understanding the entry process and knowing how to address mistakes in your admission record is crucial for a smooth immigration journey. By staying informed and seeking professional assistance when needed, you can navigate the complex immigration system with confidence.