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Lost I-94 Form: Steps to Take for Aliens in the USA

Question from Lea, Lost I-94 Form: Steps to Take for Aliens in the USA

Answer from AI:

If you’re an alien living in the United States and you’ve misplaced your Form I-94, “Arrival/Departure Record,” it’s understandable to feel concerned. This document is crucial as it proves your legal visitor status and records the terms of your stay. However, there’s a process to retrieve or replace your lost I-94, ensuring you remain compliant with U.S. immigration laws.

Understanding the Importance of Form I-94

The Form I-94 is issued by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to foreign visitors upon entry to the U.S. It details your arrival date, visa status, and the date by which you must depart the U.S. Losing this document can affect your ability to:

  • Prove legal status in the U.S.
  • Apply for a visa extension or change of status.
  • Obtain a driver’s license or state ID in some states.
  • Verify employment eligibility.

Steps to Retrieve or Replace Your Lost I-94

1. Check Online: First, if you arrived in the U.S. after April 30, 2013, your I-94 should be available online. CBP now issues electronic I-94s for most air and sea arrivals. You can access your electronic I-94 by visiting the CBP I-94 website. You’ll need to enter your passport information to retrieve your record.

2. Contact CBP: If you entered the U.S. via a land border or cannot find your electronic I-94 online, contact the nearest CBP office. They can assist in locating your I-94 record or guide you on the next steps if it’s indeed lost.

3. File for a Replacement (Form I-102): If your I-94 is lost and not retrievable online, you may need to file Form I-102, “Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document,” with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This process involves:

  1. Completing the form accurately, following the instructions provided by USCIS.
  2. Paying the filing fee, which is subject to change, so check the USCIS website for the current fee.
  3. Providing any required evidence or documentation to support your application.

Considerations and Recommendations

  • Act Promptly: It’s important to address the loss of your I-94 as soon as possible to avoid complications with your immigration status or potential penalties.
  • Keep Records: Once you retrieve or replace your I-94, make copies and store them in a safe place to prevent future issues.
  • Legal Advice: If you encounter difficulties in retrieving or replacing your I-94, or if you’re unsure about the process, consider consulting with an immigration attorney. They can provide personalized advice and assistance tailored to your situation.

Conclusion

Losing your Form I-94 can be a stressful experience, but there are clear steps you can take to rectify the situation. Whether it’s retrieving an electronic version online, contacting CBP, or filing for a replacement with USCIS, it’s crucial to act promptly to maintain your legal status in the U.S. Remember, when in doubt, seeking professional legal advice is always a prudent step to ensure you’re following the correct procedures.

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