Depending on the type of US visa you get at US Consulate, you may get it issued beyond your passport validity. But, when you enter US at Port of entry, your current passport expiry date is used by CBP officer to issue your I-94 Expiration date. If your passport is expiring before the US Visa expiry, then you will get I-94 validity until end of your passport expiry. You may read I-94, Sample, how to fill, if you are not familiar with I-94
Now, when you renew your Passport in US, you need to make sure you update your I-94 expiration as well to be in valid legal status in US. Just having valid visa in old passport is not sufficient. In this article, we will review all the options to get the I-94 updated, when you renew or re-issue your passport and also share User Experiences.
Before you understand options, it is important for you to have all your documents ready. Below is check checklist
Overview of all options to get I-94 Extended
There are about 5 options to extend your I-94 in US, when you renew or re-issue your passport. While there are mixed opinions on some of these options, we will try to give all of those so that you can choose what works for you. Below are the all different options.
- Cross US Border by land and return
- Visit nearest SENTRI enrollment center
- Visit CBP office at a US Port of Entry
- As your attorney to file Extension with USCIS
- Call CBP Deferred Inspection Sites, send email, get updated.
Let’s look at each of these options in detail.
Option 1 : Extend I-94 by Crossing US Border by Land
The option to exit and re-enter US at the US border is probably the most straightforward one and seem to work most of the times. It is also confirmed by many of our readers. The process is simple and as below.
- You go to any US Port of entry or border checkpoint, where there is land crossing like Otay Mesa.
- Cross the US border by land
- Get immigration stamp on your passport from the country you are entering, like Mexico by telling the reason for your travel is to update I-94
- Re-enter US by land.
- Once you re-enter US, you will fill out respective paperwork for new I-94 and then enter US with the same.
If you have vacation planned for other country or you live close by state to the border, this works well. The goal is to exit US and re-enter.
You can join I-94 Extension Community Telegram Group to share, exchange
Option 2 : Extend I-94 by Visiting Nearest SENTRI Enrollment Centre
SENTRI stands for Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection. SENTRI enrollment centers does a variety of things related to US-Mexico border CBP processes. You maybe also able to update or extend I-94 at a SENTRI enrollment center. This totally depends on the center and some had successes and some could not update I-94 due to closures or the officer not allowing it. So, it depends on officer and your luck.
If you use this option, you do not really need to cross the border, but you can get your I-94 update done at the US side itself at any of the designated SENTRI Enrollment Centers. The only catch is that SENTRI enrolment centres are only in states of Arizona, Texas and California and you probably need to drive or fly to the nearest one. You can check for the nearest SENTRI Enrollment Centers at CBP Website .
Process to Extend I-94 at SENTRI Enrollment Center :
- First, before you go to any center, call them before hand and verify, if they are allowing I-94 extensions or updates.
- If they allow it, it is very straightforward. You need to walk into the enrollment center and go to the Permits section. But, before that you can pay $6 USD at the cashier ( Carry cash ).
- Depending on the line, your name will be called by the officer and he may ask questions on your status and tell that you need to extend your I-94 as you got new Passport.
- They will ask for the documents, you show them and answer basic questions they ask and your I-94 should be updated. Many users shared their experiences in the past updating I-94 positively at “SENTRI / Global Entry – Otay Mesa Enrollment Centre, 2500 Paseo Internacional, San Diego, CA 92154 “
Option 3: Visit Port of Entry CBP office at Nearest Airport
This is probably the best option to extend I-94, if it works out. But, this option has mixed opinion, few have got success, many have not got success. When you call the airport CBP office, sometimes they say, they cannot update I-94. While some have reported that I-94 was updated when they visited in person. It all varies by state and location.
Process to update I-94 at Airports
- First call the CBP office at International Airport closer to you and verify, if they do I-94 update or extensions.
- If they say yes, try to go there and try out your luck. If you have time, you can directly visit them as well and try your luck.
- You can look up for a Port of Entry on CBP website that is nearest to where you live and go to their office and get the I-94 update.
- As I said, there are mixed opinions here and most of the times, you may get a No from them.
Option 4 : Attorney to file Extension with USCIS to extend I-94
If your visa related approval notice expiration (i-797 Approval Notice) is less than 6 months for certain visas like H1B, L1 then you can ask your employer and work with your Immigration attorney to file relevant extension for the same. Also, if you plan to move to other status by COS or apply for extension on your own, you can try this as well. But, there are few things to consider as it can be risky in some cases.
If your petition is not close to expiration, your employer may or may not file. Also, if you are on visas like F1, H4 or L2 visas, the processing times for the extensions are really long like 8 to 10 months for some centers and you need to wait…This is risky option to wait for I-94 with expired I-94.
You need to speak to your Immigration attorney for this option and make a call.
Option 5 : Call CBP Deferred Inspection Sites, Email
This option is not fully verified, only one user reported they had success. One of our readers had expired US Visa, so they could not travel out of the country. They called few CBP Deferred inspection sites phone numbers and eventually they had success with San Diego CBP office. Phone: (619) 491-2680 or (619) 491-2625.
- The officer gave the user an email id and asked to send I-94 correction request to that email id.
- There is an automated response to that email that has a form attached that you needed to fill and send along with old/new passport info page, US visa, I-797, last US entry stamp in the passport.
- After sometime, you get an automated response that the I-94 is updated. You can check online on I-94 website to see the update.
Documents Checklist for I-94 Extension in USA:
- Passports : Both Old and New Passports ( including the one that has US Visa Stamp)
- Approval Notices of Your Visa Status : USCIS approval forms tied to your visa status. E.g. I-797 Approval Forms, if on H1B, H4, L1, L2 approval notices
- Address Proof : Your current proof of address in US, where you reside like Rental Agreement, Utilities Bills, etc.
- I-94 Card : Your Current I-94 Card/ Info printed from I-94 Online System
- Supporting Documents based on Visa Status : Depending on your status in US, you need to carry additional supporting documents.
- If you are on H1B Visa : Current LCA that is tied to your H1B.
- If you are on H1B, L1, or other work visa :
- Employment Verification letter from Employer
- 3 to 6 most recent Pay Slips / Stubs showing your proof of employment in US
- (optional ) Copy of I-129 from your employer
- (optional ) Your Resume
- If you are on H4 or L2 and working on EAD :
- If you are on H4 or L2 and working on EAD, you should carry : Employment Letters, recent 3 to 6 pay stubs.
- Cash : $6 USD Cash to pay for the I-94 update. You may pay online ahead of time, but need to carry that print out and confirmation.
I-94 Extension in US – 13 Experiences by Users
Few of our users have been kind enough to share their experiences updating I-94. Below are their experiences.
- I-94 Extension by Crossing US Border – 5 Experiences at Otay Mesa CBP
- I-94 Extension without Crossing US Border – 3 Experiences – Otay Mesa
- L1A – I-94 Extension Experience – Crossing Border at CBP Otay Mesa
- 3 Experiences US Canada Border – I-94 Extension near Detroit
- I-94 Extension by Flying to Mexico City During COVID
Common FAQs for I-94 Extension in US
Let’s look at some common questions around I-94 Update or Extensions in US.
You can pay for I-94 using Cash or pay Online on CBP website. The only catch is that, you need to visit within 7 days from the day you do this online and you need carry a print out of the same. If you do not visit within 7 days, there are no refunds. You can pay online for I-94 at CBP DHS.Gov Website . In terms of which is better, sometimes the line for Payment at Counters can be long…so, it is a better idea to pay online and carry the print out the confirmation.
For I94 extension or update, you will meet CBP officer and the interview is same as the one you have at US Port of Entry process , when you enter US either by Flight, Ship or Road. You need to be prepared to answer questions around your employment, working, living in US, etc.
Yes, you will get a paper I-94 printed and given when you do I-94 extension or update by crossing border. Check Sample I-94 Cards given at US Port of Entry. Yes, the online system is updated as well. Usually they staple the new I-94 card with your passport, you will need to show that when entering back into US at border, so keep it careful. You can check online after you come back in online system too regarding your I-94 for the recent entry, it is updated in real-time.
Well, this all depends on the immigration officer and the process at the Land Port of Entry. Sometimes, you get lucky and you may not be asked to cross the border and everything is done at Port of Entry office in US….you may be asked to cross the border and re-enter. Many users have shared that they ended up crossing Mexico Border and re-enter when they did this at Laredo, Texas or San Diego, CA.
The process to update/ extend I94 is same for everyone as described above. You can use any of the three options. If does not matter, if you are on H4 or H1B visa…You will need to carry all your relevant documents and supporting documents.
What has been your experience updating I-94 ? Share your thoughts ? Anything I missed ?