It’s the holiday you never knew about and one that you never knew you needed! I-94 day happens twice a year: the 9th of April and the 4th of September, so here we are! It’s an important day for anyone who is in the United States on a visa or ESTA/VWP. So what is it? And what is an I-94!?

When you enter the United States on a visa, you sometimes get a stamp in your passport which has a date and status scribbled or stamped on it. Sometimes you don’t even get the stamp, but you still have a date and status automatically attached to your name and passport, and it is the absolute last date you are allowed in the United States.

The I-94 Date.

If you overstay this, the consequences can be brutal.

What’s I-94 Day?

Well, on the 9th day of the 4th month, I thought it would be a good time to remind everyone to check their I-94s.

This works twice a year (9/4 and 4/9) and, as I mentioned above, is important, because you get a new one every time you enter the country!

So happy I-94 day! Celebrate with me! Check your I-94!

Is this the same as my visa date?

No!

The visa is an entry document. It allows you permission to request to enter the United States. It is the key to the gate (there’s still a bouncer though – checking just in case).

The I-94 date is different from the visa date.

Every time you enter the country, you will (possibly) receive a new i94 with potentially a new date, so it’s important to check each and every time you re-enter. Sometimes it will be the same as your visa expiry, sometimes it will be much longer, and sometimes, it might even be less.

What happens if you overstay?

This is about the worst thing you can do on a visa.

There are exceptions for special reasons but you may be deported, you may be told you are not welcome back into the United States for some time, or you may even be told you can never return to the United States.

I’m not trying to scare you, but I want you to be aware! Don’t let this happen!

How do I check my i94 status?

It really is quite easy, with CBP making a really functional website for checking into your current status:

  1. Go to the i94 website
  2. Select “Get most recent i94”
  3. Read the popup, then push “Consent & Continue” (if you consent)
  4. Fill in your personal details, push “Next”
  5. On this page you will find:
    1. Admission (I-94) Record Number (an i94 form identifier)
    2. Most Recent Date of Entry (the date you arrived most recently)
    3. Class of Admission (what visa or status you entered under)
    4. Admit Until Date (the really important date, your I-94 date)
  6. “Get this traveler’s history” has some extra information about your recent exits and entries, too!

Check ALL of these, and make sure everything is correct.

What to do if your i94 has an error

The most common errors that normally arise with your I-94 is the wrong visa status or being given an incorrect end date. In some cases, there’s also a chance that you didn’t make it into the system at all!

The biggest issue is that even though this is an error, it still governs your stay in the US. So if it says the wrong date, that is the date that currently applies to you.

From Lightman Immigration:

If it’s clear that your I-94 is incorrect or you weren’t entered into the system at all, you will need to take steps to correct the information by contacting the deferred inspection site that oversees the port-of-entry where you last entered the US.

Realistically though, I think the best thing you can do is speak to a lawyer!

For the transcript of Doug, you can check that out here!