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When you enter or leave a country, you will receive a proof of your entry or leaving. In the U.S. this form is issued as Form I-94. However, Form I-94 is not only working as the proof of your entry or leave to or from the U.S. this document is also important for your stay in the U.S. therefore, but you also need to understand more about this form, to know and avoid any problems.

What is Form I-94?

Form I-94 is a record of your arrival or departure to and from the U.S. You will receive a form you need to fill up when you cross the border of the U.S. then, you submit this form as the proof that you arrive or leave the U.S. area. This is what we call the Form I-94.

In the past, you must have this physical type of Form I-94 as the evidence of your arrival or departure. However, today, you don’t need it anymore. Now, everything has been digitalized, which makes everything easier. Moreover, you also can check the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) official website to find more information about your record. 

What is the I-94 Expiration Date?

Similar to other documents, Form I-94 also has a validity period. And, at the end of that period, there is an expiration date of this document. It means your Form I-94 document will only valid or authorize you to stay in the U.S. until the date that is printed on your document. 

What the Expiration Date on Your I-94 Means

When you apply for I-94, you will also receive the date. This is the expiration date of your I-94. It means this is the limit of your authorized stay in the U.S. if you stay to pass through this date, it means you stay in the U.S. illegally. You can solve this problem by applying for an extension. And, one thing that you need to remember, the I-94 expiration date is different than your Visa expiration date.

Moreover, there is also some case where you don’t receive the date. Instead, you get D/S status. It means “Duration of Status”. This sign is used for student or worker that got permission to stay in the U.S. to study or work. However, you can only stay legally, if you keep your initial status according to the D/S you receive on your I-94. For example, if you stay in the U.S. for study, you need to keep this status and do not do other activities that different from the status you have been granted.

Difference between I-94 Expiration and Visa Expiration

As we mentioned before, the I-94 expiration date is different than Visa expiration date. The simple explanation is the I-94 expiration date show how long you can stay in the U.S. When the expiration date of this document is coming, that is the time you must leave the U.S. 

On the other hand, Visa expiration date is the last date when you can enter the U.S. for example, if you enter at the date when your visa expired, you can still enter legally to the U.S. Of course, you need to renew your Visa right away to keep yourself from any problem during your stay.

For your safety, it would be better, if you use the I-94 expiration date as the base to know how long you can stay in the U.S. you can easily know the date you should leave or ask for an extension. This helps you to keep your status in a legal position during your stay.

What Will Happen If You Overstay the Expiration Date on Your I-94?

There are several consequences you will receive for your overstay, such as:

–        Your visa will be automatically canceled,

–        You can’t get another Visa for entering the U.S. in the future,

–        You will be considered as “unlawful presence”. When you get this status, you will lose all immigration benefits, such as Visa, Green Card and others. 

Understanding the I-94 expiration date will help you to stay from those problems. So, make sure you check your document carefully. Do not overstay or apply for an extension if you stay more than the expiration date.