When entering the United States as a visitor or nonimmigrant, you should always check your I-94 to ensure that Customs & Border Protection (CBP) has admitted you in the correct status and for the correct length of time.
For example, if you have an H-1B approval valid through 01/02/2024, you will want to ensure the “admit until” date on your I-94 is valid to 01/02/2024. You can check your I-94 online here. You may also receive a stamp with an “admit until” date written in your passport.
If there's a mistake with your status or “admit until” date, then what should you do next?
1) Verify there is no other reason for cutting your I-94 short
Your I-94 may be limited if your passport expires before the end of your nonimmigrant approval period. Canadian citizens with I-94s shortened to their passport expiration can visit the border with their new passport. CBP will extend the I-94 for the remaining time left in your approval notice.
If you are unable to go to the border to extend your I-94, an extension should be filed with USCIS to extend your petition prior to the I-94 expiration date.
2) Contact Deferred Inspection if necessary
An error in your nonimmigrant status or I-94 expiration date can generally be corrected by contacting CBP Deferred Inspection. You should contact the office that is closest to your residential address. They will provide instructions on what documents must be provided to have your I-94 corrected. A list of all Deferred Inspection contact information can be found here.
It is important to note that CBP is generally unwilling to make corrections when your I-94 has been shortened to your passport expiration.
3) Add your nonimmigrant status to your NEXUS card, if applicable
If you're entering the US with a NEXUS card, you may be admitted in the wrong status. This is because NEXUS will automatically be admitted as a visitor unless you have added your nonimmigrant status. To update your profile with your nonimmigrant status you should visit NEXUS office in person with evidence of your nonimmigrant status.
4) Consider a nunc pro tunc extension
A nunc pro tunc extension (Latin for “now for then”) can be used to retroactively extend your status from the time of your I-94 extension. Read more about nunc pro tunc extensions in our blog post here.
Approval of a nunc pro tunc extension is at the discretion of USCIS and cannot be guaranteed. It is recommended to discuss a nunc pro tunc strategy with an immigration attorney.
5) Contact an immigration attorney
If your I-94 has already expired, you should reach out to an immigration attorney as soon as possible to learn more about your options. Your employer may already have a relationship with an immigration attorney with whom you can consult.
Contact the Law Offices of James D. Eiss today to schedule a consultation regarding I-94 errors.