My I-94 has a different expiration date than my approval notice! Help!

September 26, 2023
Courtney Wachal

An I-94 is the DHS Arrival/Departure record typically issued by Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) at the U.S. port of entry to all non-immigrant visitors. It can also be issued by USCIS upon an extension of status within the U.S. It serves as evidence of the individual’s lawful entry into the country, as well as their authorized period of stay.

The I-94 contains essential information, including the non-immigrant traveler’s name, passport number, visa category, date of entry, and the date until which they are allowed to stay in the United States. This date, known as the “Admitted Until” date, is critical because it determines how long the individual is legally allowed to stay in the U.S.

Why does my I-94 have a different “admit until date” than my non-immigrant approval document?

The I-94 “admit until date” is considered the validity date of the class of admission that you have entered in on. In some cases, the admit until date can be different than the validity date of your current nonimmigrant status. The following may be reasons why your I-94 admit date is different:

  • You entered the U.S using your current status document that may be expiring soon
  • Your passport is expiring before the validity date of your current nonimmigrant status
  • CBP made an error on the I-94

If my I-94 was issued incorrectly, what should I do?

Upon your return to the United States, it is crucial that you check the I-94 issued to you to ensure that it was correctly issued.

If the I-94 has an end validity date that was issued in error, then:

  • Your attorney may be able to contact CBP directly and request that they update your “admit until date” if CBP made an error.

If the I-94 has a different end validity date but was not issued in error, then:

  • Your attorney may need to file an extension for you in the U.S. to extend your validity dates
  • You may need to travel abroad again and reenter providing CBP with the correct documentation

Why do I get time cut off on my approval notice if my passport is expiring soon?

Your I-94 is either issued for the duration of your approval notice OR for the duration of your passport whichever comes first. For example, if you are on H-1B status until 01/01/2026, but your passport expires on October 1, 2025, then CBP would issue you an I-94 with validity until 10/01/2025 since that is the date that comes first based on your passport expiring.

I am unsure if I have an I-94. Where do I find mine?

There are two places you should be able to find your I-94.

  • 1) If you extended your status from within the U.S.: You should have an I-94 at the bottom left-hand corner of your most recent approval notice you received from USCIS
  • 2) If you are entering the U.S. from abroad: CBP will update the I-94 electronic database.
    1. a) CBP is moving away from issuing paper versions of the I-94. However, you can access your I-94

Helpful Tips

  • Make you notify your attorney of any trips outside of the United States
  • Notify your attorney upon your return to the U.S. and provide a copy of the I-94 you received or pulled up online so that your attorney can review and confirm it is issued for the correct period or so the attorney can rectify the I-94 in a timely manner
  • Make sure that you renew your passport within 6 months before it’s expiration or upon a trip abroad
  • Please also be sure that you present the correct documentation to the CBP officers at the port of entry

If you have concerns that your I-94 was issued incorrectly or you have additional questions pertaining to your I-94, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of the attorneys in our office.

The material contained in this alert does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only. An attorney-client relationship is not presumed or intended by receipt or review of this presentation. The information provided should never replace informed counsel when specific immigration-related guidance is needed.

© 2023 Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C. All rights reserved. Information may not be reproduced, displayed, modified, or distributed without the express prior written permission of Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C.

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