Depending on the type of US visa you get, at times you get visa issued for longer duration than your passport validity. When you enter US at Port of entry, your current passport details are captured by CBP officer and has the same details on your I-94 as well and most likely your I-94 validity is typically tied to your passport validity (Check : I-94, Sample, how to fill ) . Now, when you are in US and your passport is about to expire, you will go to either your country’s high commission or embassy and get your passport renewed, but one step remains, which is your I-94 that you got at US Port of Entry still has your old passport information and its validity is still tied to your old passport. Now the question is how do you either update or extend your I-94 to reflect your new Passport details. We will try to share few options to get the I-94 updated, when you renew or re-issue your passport.
Before you understand options, it is important for you to have all your documents ready. Below is check checklist
Documents Required / Checklist for I-94 Extension / Update after Passport Re-issue / Renewal 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.
What are the options to get I-94 Extended with Re-issued or Renewed passport ?
There are few options to extend your I-94. While there are mixed opinions and answers, we will try to give all of those so that you can choose what works for you.
Option 1: Cross Border by Land and Return Back :
This one is probably the one that has little controversies and always works. All you need to cross the border at any of the border checkpoints by land and come back. If you have vacation planned for other country, that works as well. The goal is to exit US and re-enter. Many just try to go to their nearest border checkpoints and get it done. If you are going to Mexico border, you do not even need a visa, you can just go by land and come back. You will be asked to pay $6 USD fee for updating the I-94.
Option 2 : Visit Nearest SENTRI Enrollment Centres :
With 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 the border checkpoint by visiting SENTRI Enrollment Centers. This option also probably works well all the time. 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 : It is very simple, 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 International Airport :
This option has mixed opinion, some have got success, some 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. 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.
Option 4 : Ask your attorney to file Extension of Status :
This option also varies and has mixed opinions, you can always ask your attorney to file extension of Status with USCIS or seek their opinion on if they can do it for you and file extension of status with USCIS as your passport has changed. You need to speak to your H1B attorney for this option and make a call.
Tip : You can get your I-94 updated before the expiry anywhere like 6 months before expiry. So, the suggestion is to have your passport renewed at least 6 months before expiry and get your I-94 updated before it expires.
Common FAQs on I-94 Extension/ Update / Correction in US :
Let’s look at some common questions around I-94 Update or Extensions in US.
I-94 Extension / Correction Fee Option – Cash or Online Payment ? Which is Better ?
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.
What are I94 Extension Interview Questions by CBP officer ?
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.
Do you get a Physical I94 Card ? Does the online system get updated too ?
Yes, you will get a paper I-94 printed and given when you do I-94 extension or update by crossing border. 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.
For I-94 Update, will I be asked to Cross the Border or will it be done at Land Port of Entry Office in USA ?
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….but, most of the times, you will 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.
Is the I-94 Process any different for H4 Visa Holders vs H1B Holders ? How about other visas like L1, L2, etc ?
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 ?