Form I-94 is a form that is issued to a nonimmigrant that is legal admitted to the United States. Nonimmigrants are foreign nationals that are in the U.S. as visitors, students, temporary workers, and in other categories.
When a foreign national applies to be admitted to the U.S. as a nonimmigrant, the U.S. immigration officer will issue an I-94 card to the person at the U.S. port of entry. That can be at a land, sea, or air port of entry into the U.S.
Generally, the expiration date on the person’s I-94 card controls when that person’s legally authorized period of stay in the U.S. expires. There are some exceptions to that, such as students that receive “D/S” designations on I-94s. “D/S” stands for “duration of status.”
It is necessary for nonimmigrant foreign citizens to keep track of their I-94 expiration dates and their authorized periods of stay in the U.S. so that they do not overstay. Overstaying an authorized period of stay in the United States can have drastic consequences.
In recent years, U.S. immigration authorities have begun issuing electronic I-94 cards at airports. Paper I-94 cards are still issued at land ports of entry. The person that is issued an I-94 card should closely check the information that appears there. Sometimes the officer makes a mistake and important details such as the person’s name spelling and the dates for the person’s authorized period of stay appear incorrectly on the I-94 record. If possible, it is best to have those important details corrected at the time that the I-94 is issued. If mistakes are discovered later, sometimes the person needs to go to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) office located inside the U.S. to try to get their I-94 card information corrected.
Persons issued paper I-94 cards are supposed to turn them in when exiting the U.S. That way there is a record that the person left the country within the authorized period of stay. I-94 cards are used to track the travel history of nonimmigrants to the United States. I-94s track arrivals and departures to and from the country. Nonimmigrants who have been issued electronic I-94 records can access their own record here: I-94 Electronic Record. Their travel history to and from the U.S. can also be accessed there.