When you arrive at the Port of Entry to enter US either via Flight at an Airport or via land, including seaports, your arrival and departure is tracked by US Department of State using a form of I-94, called as Arrival / Departure Card for USA.
In the past, it was mandatory to physically complete this form by every foreign citizen entering USA with a Visa. Now, the I-94 process is fully electronic for the most part if you arrive by Flight/ Air or Sea. The CBP systems get the travel records for passengers electronically from airlines/ ships operators. You need to fill out I-94 when you arrive in US by land/ road. Also, sometimes, when you arrive by air or sea, if their online I-94 system is not working, then you will be asked to fill out the paper based I-94 form, to capture arrival and departures.
Step by Step Guide : How to fill out I-94 Form at Port of Entry in US ?
Below is a step by step guide to fill out I94 form at port of entry for anyone entering US. If you look at the Sample I-94 form below ( scroll down ), there are three sections in the I-94 Form.
- Top Part with Number
- Arrival Record
- Departure Record.
Top part with number and Arrival record are taken by CBP officer at Port of Entry and you only get one part of the I-94 form. On all three sections, there is a big number, that is the arrival departure number that is used for tracking. It is the one that you use to track your status online.
When you fill in I-94 Card, you need to enter all details in Capital Letters and you need to enter information exactly between the lines. Below are various fields that you will have by section of the I-94 form and details on what you need to enter.
I-94 Arrival Record Section
- Family Name : Your Surname / Family name / Last name as in Passport and Visa
- First ( Given ) name : Your first name or given name as in visa and passport.
- Birth Date : Enter date of birth
- Country of Citizenship : Enter your citizenship country based on your passport.
- Passport Number : Enter your passport number
- Country where you live : Your resident country, where you currently live.
- City where you boarded : The City where you took flight/ship/ road transport to arrive in US at Port of Entry.
- City where Visa was Issued : City where you got your US Visa. Consulate office where you got visa stamping done.
- Date Issued : Date your Visa was issued. You can see it on your visa stamp in Passport.
- Address while in the US : You need to enter US address, where you will stay. If you are staying in hotel, put in hotel address or if you are at your relatives place, put that address. It usually has a number and street name
- City and State : City and state tied to your address, where you will stay in US
I-94 Departure Record Section
- You fill in the same details like in arrival record, but you just need to enter only 4 things
- Family Name, First Name, Date of Birth and Country of Citizenship
- This is the part that CBP officer will give you after taking the arrival record and top part. You need to keep it carefully and return it, when you exit the country at the airport.
- In the new electronic system, you do not have to return, but if you have the physical copy, just return it to the airline.
Do you need to fill I-94 Form – Back Side ?
You do not have to fill anything here, it is used for official purposes only and CBP officer uses it. So, DO NOT fill anything !
I-94 Form : Arrival Departure Card Sample Form – Back Side
Also, you can check your Arrival Departure I-94 Records online
What does CBP Officer do with I-94 Form at US Port of Entry ?
As you go through US Port of Entry Procedures, when you arrive at US Port of entry either Airport, Land or Seaport, the CBP officer will review the I-94 and take the top part and give you the bottom most part of the I-94 card, which is the ‘I-94 Departure Record’ section. The CBP officer will stamp and put a date on the card, indicating your duration of stay and your Visa type that you used to enter. If you were to do electronic I-94, you will not get any card and then the date is put on your passport stamp, how long you can stay. Below is sample for someone, who entered US on H1B Visa after the CBP officer stamped. The end date on the I-94 card vary and class of the entry vary based on your visa type. To check out other types of Visas and their I-94 cards, read more Sample I-94 Forms