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Understanding Your I-94 Arrival/Departure Record
When you enter the country as a nonimmigrant, a U.S. immigration inspector examines your passport and visa and then gives you a small white card, the Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record. This document, not your visa stamp, indicates how long you are allowed to stay in the U.S. and proves that you arrived in the country legally.
On the I-94, the inspector writes either a date or "D/S" (duration of status). If you are a student, "duration of status" means that you may remain in the U.S. as long as you are enrolled full-time and your I-20 (F-1) or DS 2019 (J-1) has not expired. You are required to keep the I-94 card for the duration of your visit, so make sure to keep it in a safe place so it doesn't get lost.
The Admission Number
Each form I-94 has an eleven-digit admission number printed on the upper left corner of the card. You may need to use this number for social security and employment purposes, but it is not a number you need to memorize. In fact, you will get a new I-94 number each time you re-enter the U.S.
Departure from the U.S.
As you prepare to board your flight to depart the U.S., you will be asked to surrender your I-94 to the airline representative who will in turn deliver it to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS). The USCIS will record the date of your departure for future reference. Any time you return to the U.S. you will receive a new I-94 for that particular stay.
If you lose your I-94
Contact the ISSS Office if you lose your I-94. The ISSS Office can give you forms, instructions and advice about replacing the I-94. Please be aware that it is expensive to replace a lost an I-94 card; it should be stapled in your passport for safe keeping.
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