How to Get an I-94 Extension

Updated on April 10, 2024

At a Glance

  • Form I-94 is a document issued by Customs and Border Protection upon entering the United States, serving as proof of legal entry and indicating the allowed duration of stay.
  • It can be obtained through passport admission stamps or electronically for air or sea arrivals, while land border crossings receive it in card form.
  • The form can be extended to prolong authorized stay, requiring the submission of necessary documents such as visa status approval notices, passports, I-94 card, proof of address, and specific supporting documents based on visa status.
  • During COVID-19, contacting CBP and following the appropriate procedures are crucial for I-94 extension, emphasizing honesty, fee payment, and awareness of travel restrictions and border agency requirements.

Aside from worrying about the expiration date of your passport, you have to worry about the I-94 expiration date as well. In general, your I-94 is linked to your passport, and the validity is the same. If your passport expires, so does your I-94. What can you do in this situation? Well, you might want to consider an I-94 extension, and thus make sure the new one has the details of the new passport.

What Is Form I-94?

Form I-94 is basically a white card that will serve to prove that you are legally entering the United States. Not to mention that it also shows the amount of time the person can stay in the U.S. Form I-94 will be issued by the Customs Border Protection after they take a look at your visa and your passport.

Usually, a nonimmigrant that gets into the United States either by sea or by air must have the passport admission stamp issued. For students who receive this stamp, an I-94 record will be available in electronic form. The record can be accessed by visiting the CBP site. After you arrive, the electronic form has to be printed as soon as possible.

Other than that, people who do it by crossing the land border will receive it in card form and not electronically.

Can Form I-94 Be Extended?

Form I-94 can be extended when it’s about to expire. Basically, whereas you can enter the U.S. until the date mentioned in your visa stamp, the duration of your stay is influenced by the date that was stamped in your passport when you entered the U.S. You will see that date in your Form I-94.

But if you wish to stay in the U.S. for much longer than the amount of time intended at first, getting an I-94 extension is a must. It will actually extend the date in the I-94, not in the visa stamp. By getting an extension, you will have an authorized stay in the United States.

Getting the I-94 extended is possible by submitting an online application through USCIS ELIS or sending it by mail.

Documents Required for I-94 Extension

Did you notice that your I-94 is expiring on a specific date, yet something occurred and you want to stay in the U.S. for much longer? If that’s the case, and you want to apply for an extension, you will need some documents to have it approved. So, make sure to have the following documents readily available just in case.

  • Visa Status Approval Notices – One of the things you will have to provide is represented by the approval notices of your visa status. So, the approval form that you got from USCIS needs to be provided. For example, it could be an approval form for an H1B, L1, L2, or I-797.
  • Passports – You will be asked to provide your passport, but not only the current one. If you had an old one, it should be presented as well. The one with the U.S. Visa Stamp has to be included as well.
  • I-94 Card – Provide your info printed from the I-94 online system or the current actual I-94 card.
  • Proof of Address – Let them know where you’re residing while in the United States. To show proof of this, you can bring documents such as utility bills, rental agreements, and anything of the sort.
  • Supporting Documents Depending on Your Visa Status – Specific supporting documents will have to be carried, depending on what your visa status is. For instance:
    • H1B, L1, or Other Work Visas: You will have to bring your resume, 3 to 6 most recent Pay Slips that show evidence of U.S. employment, Employment Verification letter from your employer, and a copy of I-129 from your employer. The I-129 copy and the resume are optional. The H1B visa worker alone will also have to bring the LCA that is currently tied to their H1B visa.
    • H4 or L2 and EAD workers: If you are working on EAD while having an H4 or L2 visa, then you should have a recent 3 to 6 pay stubs and your employment letters.

How to Extend Your I-94 During COVID-19

Do you want to extend the I-94, but don’t know how to do it during these times we’re dealing with? Here are the steps to go through:

Contact the CBP

The first thing you should do is contacting the CBP office of the state you want to enter and explain your problem to them. If you come from Canada, for example, you may be then asked to contact the Canada border agency because there’s a travel ban between Canada and the U.S.

Contacting the Border Agency

If you contact the border agency such as the Canada border agency, then you should explain the situation to them as well. They will understand and explain what you should be doing next.

Answering Questions

Once you go to the border, the officers will ask you a few things, such as the reason for being there. You will state that you want an I-94 extension and that your purpose is to cross the border and be able to get the I-94 you want. You will be asked about multiple things by the officers, and then they will deal with some papers and hand you the passport, as well as a letter where it states your travel category. Then, you will be guided on how to get to the U.S. and you will be told to give the letter to the U.S. CBP officer.

CBP Officer Interview

When you arrive, you will be interviewed at the port of entry. You will be asked the reason for being there. If you filed the I-94 request form online and also paid the fees there, it will be easier to proceed. You can simply give the officer the I-94 request form, and they will then take you to the CBP office in border crossing. Inside, you will have a typical POE interview.

Tips for I-94 Extension

COVID-19 may make it harder for an I-94 extension to happen, or you may just worry that it is not possible given the current circumstances with the virus. But if you know what to do, it shouldn’t be that hard. Here are some tips to consider before extending the I-94.

Don’t Lie

You may want your I-94 extended so badly that you may be even willing to give the wrong answers to obtain what you desire. But you should not do that. You may get lost among the lies you are coming up with and it would be easy for them to tell that you’re lying. Besides, there’s no guarantee that the lie will even help you out.

Make sure to be honest with your answers, because you want to obtain the I-94 legally.

Pay the Fees

There are some fees you will have to deal with to extend your I-94. You cannot exactly pay in person during COVID-19 times, but you can easily pay online. On the I-94 website, you can fill and pay online, after which the print out is available and will stay valid for 7 days.

Check Travel Restrictions

There may be some travel restrictions in place, so check them out before traveling. Otherwise, you may be unable to travel from a state to another, or you may have to stay in quarantine for 14 days.

Try Canada Border

If you have a valid Canada Visitor VISA, you can try the Canada border during the coronavirus outbreak. If you don’t have one, though, you should make sure to confirm with the border agency before entering, or you risk facing the consequences.

Read More


Getting an I-94 extension is possible even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hopefully, this article helped explain it properly.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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