Double Check I-94 Expiration Date After International Travel
Throughout the holiday season, people are traveling to other countries for vacation or to visit family. However, travel can also bring up many questions, especially when it comes to I-94 expiration.
I-94 Expiration Date
Both the status expiration date and the passport date affect the I-94 expiration after an international travel. If the passport expiration date is sooner than the status expiration date, CBP will normally issue an I-94 with an expiration date equal to the passport’s expiration date.
For example, a person might have an H-1B status approved with the validity on I-797 notice until September 22, 2022, but her passport expires on March 20, 2020. When she comes back from an international trip, her I-94 record will show an expiration date of March 20, 2020.
Being caught unaware by an earlier I-94 expiration date can have serious consequences. If the person overstays the I-94 expiration date, a period of unlawful presence may begin, which incurs penalties that increase over time.
Overstaying by more than 180 days can result in a 3-year ban from entering the U.S. and overstaying by more than a year can result in a 10-year ban. Additionally, an expired I-94 will significantly increase chances of a denial when filing for an extension of status.
Available Options for Recourse
For those facing the issue of an I-94 expiration date earlier than I-797 status expiration date, there are multiple ways to resolve the situation.
I-94 “Correction” by CBP
Occasionally, CBP may change the I-94 expiration date after the foreign national has obtained a new passport. CBP can be contacted by phone or email to request a correction. From our experience, clients have had less success by phone, so we recommend sending a detailed email explanation.
File for an Extension
To request a new I-94 with an expiration date matching the I-797 expiration date, the foreign national can apply to extend the status. It is possible to file the extension after the I-94 expiration date, though there is a higher risk of denial.
The foreign national may leave the U.S. in order to avoid overstaying the I-94 expiration. When re-entering, it’s important that the foreign national carries both the new and old passports, if the valid visa is in the old passport.
Given the strict penalties that can occur when overstaying the I-94’s valid period, it is very important to know the actual I-94 expiration date. Checking your I-94 information upon returning to the U.S. and taking necessary actions as soon as possible is the best way to ensure your travel this holiday season doesn’t come with any unwanted surprises.