October 2, 2022

Volume XII, Number 275

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September 30, 2022

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Travel Warning for Foreign National Employees: The Importance of Electronic I-94 Arrival/Departure Records

Until recently, foreign nationals received a paper I-94 Arrival/Departure record when entering the United States. The I-94 record listed the individual’s date of entry, class of admission, and the date on which the individual was required to leave the United States. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) now keeps these records electronically, issuing paper I-94 records to foreign nationals only upon request. The I-94 record serves as proof of legal immigration status and is required in many circumstances, such as Form I-9 completion and driver’s license issuance.

Because foreign nationals no longer receive paper copies of their I-94 records, many do not monitor such records as closely as in the past. This trend may cause serious immigration-related complications. For example, almost without exception, CBP limits a foreign national’s authorized period of stay on his or her I-94 record to the expiration date of the individual’s passport. It is crucial that foreign nationals do not assume they have been authorized to stay in the United States for the full period listed on their U.S. visas or on their I-797 approval notices.  It is the date listed on the I-94 record, not the date listed on one’s visa stamp or approval notice that indicates the authorized period of stay. CBP errors, such as in the class of admission or admit until date listed on an I-94 record are equally problematic.

Neglecting to monitor one’s electronic I-94 record can lead to devastating results. Namely, a foreign national can inadvertently overstay his or her period of authorized stay. Likewise, the CBP could have mistakenly admitted a work-authorized foreign national into the United States under a class of admission that does not in fact allow the individual to be employed. Either scenario could have severe short-term and long-term implications for both the foreign national and his or her U.S. employer.

The most effective way to reduce the impact of such scenarios is for foreign nationals to monitor their electronic I-94 records. Employers should remind their foreign national workers of this requirement, especially when foreign travel is planned. After every entry into the United States, the foreign national should access his or her electronic I-94 record, available here. (TIP: When attempting to access an I-94 record, note that CBP usually lists the foreign national’s name exactly as it appears on the passport.) The individual should verify that the date of entry, class of admission, and admit until date are listed correctly and should print a copy of the I-94 record.

©2022 MICHAEL BEST & FRIEDRICH LLPNational Law Review, Volume IV, Number 287
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About this Author

Jose Olivieri, Michael Best Law Firm, Higher Education, Labor and Immigration Attorney
Partner, Industry Group Chair

José is the founder and co-chair of Michael Best’s immigration law practice. Clients depend on his deep knowledge of and experience with U.S. immigration law and employment-based immigration matters, including:

  • Immigration status

  • Permanent labor certification

  • National interest waiver

  • Adjustment of status

  • Consular processing

  • Citizenship and...

414-225-4967
Kelly M. Fortier, Michael Best Law Firm, Business immigration, Attorney
Partner

Kelly helps employers of all sizes meet their staffing needs by handling the immigration issues they face in hiring foreign nationals and moving employees around the globe.

A partner in the firm’s Labor and Employment Relations practice group and Co-chair of the Immigration and International Migration team, she handles compliance issues for corporations that transfer dozens of employees into and out of the United States each year as well as small companies seeking to bring in a few key hires from abroad.

Kelly is highly...

414-277-3460
Kelly Rourke, Michael Best Law Firm, Immigration and Employment Attorney
Associate

Kelly assists employers with administrative law matters, focusing her practice primarily on employment-based immigration.

She regularly helps clients meet critical staffing needs by obtaining nonimmigrant status for foreign workers and securing and maintaining legal permanent residence for foreign nationals. To this end, she handles an array of nonimmigrant petitions, applications for labor certification, adjustment of status and naturalization filings, consular processing matters, motions to reopen, and motions to reconsider. She also...

414-347-4741
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