The form I-94 or I-94 card is also known as Arrival Departure Record which contains details concerning the date of your entry into the United States, when the authorized stay will lapse as well as class of admission. The truth about the I-94 card is that, it must be completed at the time of entry into the United States any time you enter the US as a non-immigrant. Therefore, the transport line will give you Form I-94 if you are traveling to US by sea. On the other hand, if you are traveling to USA by land, the Customs and Border Protection – CBP personnel will offer you a blank I-94 Card. If your own I-94 Card is misplaced or stolen, you must file what is called Replace Arrival Departure Record for replacement.
There are two segments or sections to I-94 Form – the departure and arrival records. You must complete both sections as a non-immigrant. The upper section is the arrival record while the lower or bottom part of I-94 Card is the departure record.
Information contained in the upper part of I-94 Card include, admission number, name, date of birth, country of citizenship, gender, passport number, flight or airline number, your country of residence, the city where you boarded the flight, the city where your visa was issued, the date that your visa was issued, your address during your stay in the US including the street, number as well as the city and state.
On the other hand, the bottom part of Form I-94 contains details about your departure number, name, date of birth and country of citizenship.
If you are a non-immigrant, you must complete Form I-94 and submit same to the CBP personnel together with your passport. At a stage of the processing, the CBP officer might ask questions concerning the reason for your visit, duration of the visit and where you will live in US. If all information you provided in your I-94 Card is legitimate and accurate, the Form I-94 Arrival Departure Record and the passport will be stamped by the CBP and they will maintain the arrival section for record purposes and return back to you both your passport and your departure record. As a result, you now get an authorization to enter the USA in a specific non-immigrant status for an authorized stay.
You can apply for a change of status or extension of stay by filling Form I-539 when you are in the United States of America. You will then be issued an Approval Notice with a fresh I-94 Card upon the approval of your change of status or extension by the USCIS. When you are living the US, you must hand over the departure record to the US CBP officials. On the other hand, if you are living the US by air, hand over your Form I-94 in the airline before your departure.
If you are traveling by sea from USA, Form I-94 Departure Record should be given to the shipping line. If you should leave US by land on the other hand, your I-94 Departure Record should be handed over to the CBP personnel.
On a final note, make sure that you preserve your passport and departure record carefully during your stay in the USA. However, if your Form I-94 is stolen or lost, you must request for replacement from the USCIS by completing the Form I-102