People who enter the United States on a non-immigrant basis are expected to comply with the provisions of their visas, particularly regarding their I-94 Arrival/Departure Record. Failure to exit the U.S. on or before the day indicated on the I-94 document, which is the maximum length of time according to their visa, could complicate future travel and immigration plans, and thus it is important to keep this date in mind. San Diego immigration attorneys discuss a few important details about a new feature that helps travelers remember their departure dates.
Thanks to a new website managed by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, travelers can now check their I-94 departure date even if they have misplaced their original I-94 form. The website was launched in late May 2017 and can be used by travelers who participate in the Visa Waiver Program. The agency’s goal is to start including other non-immigrant visa categories later this year.
Travelers can visit https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home to check how long they can lawfully remain in the U.S. The information required includes name, date of birth, passport number, and the issuing country. The website also allows travelers to apply for an I-94 form and pay the fee if they plan to enter the country via the Canadian or Mexican borders. In this case, travelers have seven days to use their approved I-94. Additional functionality offered by the website includes being able to request travel history or obtain a copy of a current and valid I-94 that can be printed.
The travel history section of the website provides information dating back five years, and it can be searched with expired passports. Not all arrivals and departures will be included. For example, travelers who cross the border into Mexico may not see their trip recorded in their travel history. To access their most comprehensive travel history, foreigners can file a request under the Freedom of Information Act.
If a traveler has overstayed his or her visa for some reason, the website includes a section that provides information about the steps that should be taken to remedy the lack of compliance. It is important to note that the rules have become stricter in relation to I-94 compliance. Travelers who are on the Visa Waiver Program and stay in the U.S. past their departure date will lose their travel benefits and be required to apply for tourist visas at American consulates. There is also a risk of being determined inadmissible for a few years.
Not all visas offer a fixed period of permanence. For example, foreign students pursuing a degree program can apply for a visa that will allow them to stay until they satisfactorily complete their curriculum.
This new website is part of an ongoing initiative to modernize foreign travel to the United States. The first phase of the initiative launched last year with an application and payment system for travelers who enter the U.S. via land borders. Another component of the initiative is the Electronic System for Travel Authorization, which is used to authorize the admission of foreigners who travel under the Visa Waiver Program.
It can be confusing to keep all of your details organized when traveling to the U.S. Whether you want to learn about work visas or fiancé immigration services in San Diego, you can turn to KS Visa Law for the assistance you need. Give us a call today at 858-874-0711.