How to get your I-94 CBP Arrival / Admission Record Online
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- The articles found on this blog are applicable to all I-129F Petitions, K1 Visa Applicants, AOS (from a K1 Visa), and ROC applicants unless otherwise noted. The I-129F Process and AOS is the same for all foreign beneficiaries/spouses. Some K1 Visa Process articles are written specifically for applicants from the Philippines. Please refer to your country's U.S. Consulate/Embassy website for country-specific instructions.
Welcome to the United States of America!
Finally, you’re here and you’re here with your fiancé(e) / soon-to-be-spouse. I also hope you had a smooth experience at your Port of Entry (POE).
As you may recall at POE, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that greeted you and conducted your short admission interview took your yellow visa packet, entered your information in their computer terminals, stamped and signed your passport. But where’s your I-94 Arrival Admission Record that you’re supposed to be given when you were admitted? Since April 2013, CBP has begun with I-94 Arrival/Departure Record automation and visitors to the United States can now access it online.
Do I need this I-94 as a K1 Visa Holder? But my visa expires a few months from now.
Yes. You most definitely need the I-94. It is your proof of legal presence here in the U.S., at least for 90 days, before you apply for Adjustment of Status. With that said, upon entry to the U.S., your K1 Visa is already invalidated. The K1 Visa is a single-entry visa and you essentially “used it up” when you were admitted to the United States. So your only proof of legal presence in the U.S. is your I-94 in alongside your K1 Visa. You need both for Adjustment of Status.
I’m still confused. What is my K1 Visa Expiration Date for?
The expiration date on your K1 Visa and the I-94 are two, completely different things.
- K1 Visa Expiration Date – This is determined 6 months from the date of your medical exam in most cases. This means you will need to fly to the U.S. before your single-entry K1 Visa expires. When you enter the U.S., the CBP officer at POE will mark the “1” on your K1 Visa and write a “0” near it. At this point, the K1 Visa is invalidated, and will only function as identification when used alongside your I-94.
- I-94 Expiration Date – This is 90 days / 3 months from your Date of Entry in the U.S. This allows you to stay legally within the U.S., get married, and apply for Adjustment of Status. This is the date that you must reference to when filing your Adjustment of Status, not the K1 Visa Expiration Date.
Will CBP still Issue paper I-94’s?
For K1 Visa Holders, No. For other types of aliens, Yes.
So, how do I access my I-94 Arrival Record?
- Read everything on the first page. If you agree with the terms, select “Yes” and click on “Submit”.
CBP.gov I-94 Information Retrieval Page | How To Get Your I-94 CBP Arrival Record Online | ©2015, CBP.gov, Life As Mrs. Presson (www.mrspresson.com)
- Fill up the necessary information in the fields provided. Click “Get Most Recent I-94”.(Optional: If you have previously been to the U.S.,you willbeableto access your Travel History, too. Keep it for your own records.)
CBP.gov I-94 Information Retrieval Page: Enter your Information | How To Get Your I-94 CBP Arrival Record Online | ©2015, CBP.gov, Life As Mrs. Presson (www.mrspresson.com)
- There you go. It’s that easy. Now print it out for your records. I suggest, keep a folded copy in your passport, justnexttoyourK1 Visa page.
CBP.gov I-94 Information Retrieval Page: Print your I-94 | How To Get Your I-94 CBP Arrival Record Online | ©2015, CBP.gov, Life As Mrs. Presson (www.mrspresson.com)
Something to note: You must have your passport and I-94 with you at all times if you still don’t have your EAD/AP Combo Card or Green Card.
You will notice that your I-94 will indicate that it is valid until / or expires after 90 days of your date of admission. You must get married and adjust your status before your 90 days is up.
When can I access my I-94? Can I get it right away after I enter my POE?
No. You cannot access it right away. You have to wait 4 days to a week or so before the CBP System gets updated.
So what happens if we didn’t get married within those 90 days?
You, the foreign fiancé(e), will be considered an illegal alien and will be breaking immigration laws. You must go back to your home country. This was also repeated several times before, during the I-129F Process and the K1 Visa Process, with the Letters of Intent, etc.
What happens if we did married don’t adjust my status within the 90 days?
That means your status / legal presence here in the U.S. is not protected anymore. Like I said earlier, your only proof of legal stay in the U.S. is your I-94 Admission Record. If it expires, then you really don’t have any other proof of legal presence. You must adjust your status as soon as possible after marriage. The sooner you do, the sooner you’d get your work permit (if you applied for it) and your approval for permanent residency (Green Card).
What else do I need to do within 90 days?
Two important things.
Get your Social Security Number while your I-94 is valid. The SSN is an important thing especially if you need it for medical insurances and benefits. The Social Security Administration will not allow you to get a Social Security Number if your I-94 is less than 15 days from the expiry date. If the system can’t generate an SSN for you, you would have to wait for your EAD/AP Combo Card or Permanent Residency Card (Green Card) before you can go back and apply for a Social Security Number.
Get a State I.D. / Driver’s License. The expiration date for these two will be tied to your I-94 expiration date. You can always renew / apply for an extension when you get your EAD/AP Combo card or Permanent Residency Card (Green Card).
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