Form I-94 may be just a small slip of paper, but it’s an important one — and if you’ve lost it, you’ll need an I-94 replacement.
The form is critical to identifying your status in the United States, and numerous problems can arise without one. If the form is lost or stolen, there are steps to obtain an I-94 replacement that will make life in the US a lot easier.
What Is the I-94 Card?
Form I-94, often referred to as simply an I-94 or an I-94 card, is the Arrival-Departure Record issued to nonimmigrants when they enter the United States.
The I-94 card is basically proof that a nonimmigrant entered the United States legally. Upon a nonimmigrant’s arrival in the United States, an immigration officer will fill out the I-94. The information on the little white card includes the date of entry, visa classification and the date the nonimmigrant’s status will expire. The I-94 is then stapled into the nonimmigrant’s passport book.
How Do You Get a Replacement I-94 Card?
If your I-94 card is lost, stolen or seriously damaged, you can apply to replace it by filing Form I-102, Application for Replacement/Initial Arrival-Departure Document.
As with most immigration forms, USCIS requires supporting documents to be filed along with Form I-102. You are required to submit a photocopy of the original I-94 card. If you do not have a copy, you can submit a copy of the biographic information page from your passport and a copy of the page indicating admission as claimed, or other evidence of your admission into the United States.
If you cannot provide evidence of your admission — for example, if your entire passport was stolen — you will need to submit an explanation stating why you cannot give any of the above evidence, along with a photocopy of evidence of your identity and copies of any evidence in your possession to substantiate your claim. If your I-94 card and/or passport was stolen, you should submit a copy of the police report.
If you are filing Form I-102 because you were not given an I-94 card when you legally entered the United States, but you now require an I-94 for another application you are filing, you must submit copies of any evidence in your possession to verify your legal admission to the US.
You also may file Form I-102 if you wish to receive a replacement I-94 card with corrected information on it — for example, if the immigration officer spelled your name wrong on the initial I-94 card.
The nonrefundable filing fee for Form I-102 is $320. The fee is waived, however, if you are trying to obtain a replacement I-94 card because of an error by a USCIS officer.
What Happens if You Don’t Get an I-94 Replacement?
While you may not encounter any resistance if you leave the United States without an I-94 card, you may be questioned extensively by immigration officers if you return to the US.
Additionally, without an I-94 replacement, it will be difficult to accept new employment, renew your visa, change your status or extend your stay in any way. So if anything happens to your I-94 card, it’s important to get a replacement right away!
Be aware that soon, form I-94 will become paperless, and you won’t need to worry about getting an I-94 replacement.
Have you ever lost your I-94 card? Have any tips for how to keep it safe? Talk to us in the comments below.