If you've entered the US while holding a visa then you will likely know about your I-94 which details the status you entered under, how long you're permitted to stay, and a few other personal details. But what if the officer at your entry got something wrong, or something doesn't look quite right with your entry information? Well if you want to correct it, here's how.
After entering the US it's common to give a little sigh of relief as you pass the border officer and all their questions, because even though you're entitled to request entry with a valid visa, the decision still sits with the officer you meet at the desk. You've got all your files in order and you need that stamp of approval (both literally and figuratively).
There are cases however, where officers make mistakes or where you might need to make adjustments to your entry information. This is why it's crucially important that after every time you enter the US (whether it's your first visit or your 101st) you should login to the I-94 website and check your details. If you find something that's off, doesn't look right, or doesn't correspond to what you though, then this is where the offices of Deferred Inspection (or “Deferred Inspection Sites“) come into play:
There are over 70 Deferred Inspections Sites throughout the United States and the outlying territories. These sites provide assistance to those individuals who at the time of entry into the United States were scheduled for a deferred inspection or believe that the documentation and corresponding endorsements issued at the port of entry require review and possible correction.https://www.cbp.gov/contact/ports/deferred-inspection-sites
What to know about Deferred Inspection Sites
- What are deferred inspection sites used for?
- What information can a deferred inspection site update?
- When should you contact the deferred inspection site?
- Which Deferred Inspection Site can I call?
- E3D to E3S (and L2 to L2S) – How to get automatic working rights as a spouse of an E3 partner
- Why is it important to update incorrect immigration information?
- What is the I-94 number?
What are deferred inspection sites used for?
Most commonly, a deferred inspection site will be used by someone traveling into the United States where the officer can't make a complete decision on the day due to a lack of required documentation, and they will be ordered to appear at an Inspection Site at a future date with all of that documentation.
Additional to that though, and possibly more common to America Josh readers, is their ability to:
review and issue the necessary documents to remedy errors recorded on arrival documents issued at the time of entry to the United States relating to improper non-immigrant classification, inaccurate biographical information or incorrect period of admission, if appropriate.https://www.cbp.gov/contact/ports/deferred-inspection-sites
What information can a deferred inspection site update?
When you enter the US there is a list of information that is added to your entry data as to convey your lawful non-immigrant status in the US, and how long you're legally allowed to stay. This includes:
- I-94 Number (assigned fresh on entry each time)
- Passport Number
- Class of Admission (generally the visa you are entering under)
- Admit Until Date
- Your Surname
- Your First (Given) Name
- Your Country of Citizenship
All of these can be updated by a deferred inspection site if you find something wrong (or missing all together).
When should you contact the deferred inspection site?
There are two scenarios where you should contact the deferred inspection site:
- Where your information is missing; or
- Where your information is incorrect
In the case of missing information, it's important to give the I-94 website a few days before calling or visiting because it can take a little time to populate. We generally recommend giving it 3-4 days before reaching out, but after that you should definitely call to check that your information has been logged correctly.
When information is incorrect, you can call or email the details below and they will work with you to correct the information. Sometimes, it can be corrected on the phone or via email, but other times it will be required that you schedule a time to actual go in and visit the deferred inspection site to review the data and supply your correct information as proof.
Which Deferred Inspection Site can I call?
Generally the rule of thumb I was told is to contact the Deferred Inspection Site of the city that you arrived internationally into so that it can be corrected there, however the CBP site disagrees:
Travelers are encouraged to contact sites not located within an international airport to establish an appointment, if necessary. In many instances, the location of your final destination where the discrepancy will be resolved may not be the port of your first arrival into the United States.https://www.cbp.gov/contact/ports/deferred-inspection-sites
So you can contact any site (ideally one that's close to your final destination in case you need to make an appointment) and they should be able to help you.
New York (JFK) Deferred Inspection Site Contact Details
Deferred Inspection Unit
JFK International Airport
Jamaica, NY 11430
Hours of Operation: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Monday – Thursday
Contact: Phone: (718) 553-3683 or (718) 553-3684
Fax: (718) 553-0228
The only detail that I noticed missing on the above link of locations is JFK's Deferred Inspection Site email address which I've found to be [email protected].
Los Angeles (LAX) Deferred Inspection Site Contact Details
Deferred Inspection Unit
300 N. Los Angeles St., Room 2067
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Hours of Operation:
8 a.m. – 12 p.m., Monday – Thursday
1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday – Thursday
Phone: (213) 830-5972
Fax: (213) 830-5939
Email: [email protected]
E3D to E3S (and L2 to L2S) – How to get automatic working rights as a spouse of an E3 partner
If you entered the country after January 30, 2022 and still have an E3D status instead of an E3S status, then email or call the above Deferred Inspection sites and ask them to update your status.
You should have no issue being moved to the new E-3S or L-2S!
Alternatively, if you are here because you entered the US before the new E3S and L2S statuses, and you got onto that status by adjusting status using an I-539 then you can then you actually have a unique option. You will be sent a letter adjusting your status automatically:
If you are an E or L spouse age 21 or over who has an unexpired Form I-94 that USCIS issued before Jan. 30, 2022, we will mail you a notice beginning on or about April 1, 2022. This notice, along with an unexpired Form I-94 reflecting E-1, E-2, E-3, E-3D, E-3R, or L-2 nonimmigrant status, will serve as evidence of employment authorization. If you are an E or L spouse and under 21, or if you have not received your notice by April 30, email [email protected] to request a notice.
Why is it important to update incorrect immigration information?
Even though you didn't make the mistake, it's your responsibility to check that all the information that was entered is correct. If later on you are applying for another visa, or a green card, or anything else to do with immigration (and/or working rights) you will have serious issues if the data from previous entries is incorrect.
Obviously, if everything is above board, it will generally work itself out, but this will take time, add stress and add costs on top of everything you're going through so there's no point in delaying.
Updating your immigration information right after you arrive is much easier, doesn't necessarily require a lawyer, and will ensure that the next time you get in touch with immigration/USCIS/CBP, everything will be correct and up to date.