An Arrival-Departure Record, or Form I-94 is a type of immigration document used by the Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP).  It is a record of an immigrant’s arrival and departure to and from the United States.  The upper portion of the document pertains to the person’s arrival, while the bottom portion deals with departures.

For the upper portion of the Arrival-Departure Record, the immigrant needs to supply the following information:

  • The traveler’s first and last name
  • Date of birth
  • Country of origin and citizenship
  • Sex (Male or Female)
  • Passport #
  • Airline and Flight information (if applicable)
  • Country where the person lives (“Lawful permanent residence”)
  • City where the person boarded
  • Date and city where the visa was issued
  • Address where the person will be staying while in the U.S.

What Do I Do With My Arrival/Departure Record?

Once the person has successfully passed through the various inspections and processing at the entry point, they will have their Form I-94 inspected.  If it is satisfactory, the CBP officer will stamp the arrival/departure record to indicate the date, time, and location of the person’s arrival and entry into the U.S.  Immigration authorities will then detach the upper portion of the form (the arrival information) and keep it for their records.

The person will then retain the lower departure part of the Form I-94.  They should keep this portion of the arrival/departure form at all times until they finally depart from the U.S.  Once they are set for departure, they will present this portion of the form to CBP officials for their record keeping. 

Thus, the person should be responsible with their departure record during their stay in the U.S.  This will help make their travels easier, and will also reflect well on their record in case they wish to return to the U.S. in the future.

What if I Have Any Questions or Inconsistencies With My Arrival-Departure Record?

It’s important to fill out the Form I-94 Arrival-Departure record in a manner that is truthful and accurate.  Any inconsistencies in the form can lead to an investigation by immigration authorities to determine whether there is any proof of fraudulent intent.  Immigrations violations can often result in serious measures such as removal from the U.S.

A common issue with arrival/departure records is when the non-citizen visitor enters the U.S., and then leaves the country for a short while with the intent to return.  This is common for foreign exchange students who wish to return to their home country for a short while before continuing studies in the U.S.  Special care needs to be taken in these cases, to make sure that the person’s overall visa stay time clock is properly calculated.

Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance With an Arrival-Departure Record?

The arrival-departure record is one of the most important documents for non-citizen visitors to the United States.  It keeps track of when the person entered and exited the U.S.  If you have any questions or concerns involving immigration laws and policies, you should speak with an immigration lawyer immediately.  It’s important that you don’t delay if you need to hire an immigration attorney, as any delays could affect your ability to stay in the U.S.  You may also wish to contact a lawyer if a loved one of yours needs advice or legal representation.