Understanding the I-94 Arrival/Departure Record


The I-94: Proof of Legal Entry into the United States

When entering the United States as a nonimmigrant, the Customs Border Protection (CBP) officer examines your passport and visa and in most cases issues an electronic Arrival/Departure document called the Form I-94. The I-94 how long a student or scholar is allowed to stay in the United States, proves that they arrived in the country legally in the U.S., and confirms the current immigration status.

Nonimmigrants who arrive in the United States by air or sea may also be given a passport admission stamp, although physical admissions stamps are being phased out at many large ports of entry. If a student or scholar has received a passport admission stamp, there will also be an electronic I-94 record. To access this record, visit the CBP's website. Your electronic I-94 record should be printed immediately after arrival.

Nonimmigrants who arrive in the United States by crossing a land border may still continue to receive a paper I-94 card. In these cases, you may not receive an electronic I-94 record and will need to retain the paper I-94 and give up up again on your next exit.

Duration of Status (D/S)

On the passport admission stamp or the paper I-94 card, the inspector writes either a date or "D/S" (duration of status). Students and scholars on F or J status should receive a stamp marked "D/S" or "duration of status." This means that they may remain in the United States as long as they are properly maintaining status and their I-20 (F-1) or DS-2019 (J-1) has not expired. Students and scholars are required to keep the passport entry stamp or I-94 card for the duration of their visit. Make sure to keep it in a safe place so it doesn't get lost.

The Admission Number

Every I-94 record has an eleven-digit admission number. This number may be needed at the Department of Motor Vehicles and for employment purposes, but it is not a number that needs to be memorized. In fact, a new I-94 number will be given each time the student or scholar re-enters the United States.

More Information

For more information on the new I-94 automation process and passport admission stamps, please review the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Fact Sheet.

I-94 Image

Electronic Form I-94

Customs Stamp

Passport Admission Stamp

Paper Form I-94

Paper Form I-94