Errors in the admission of foreign nationals to the United States are not uncommon, and while some errors
are immaterial, others can have serious consequences such as an overstay of the authorized period of
admission, resulting in visa cancellation per INA222(g), and potential application of the 3-and 10-year bars.
ALWAYS PROVIDE A COPY OF YOUR MOST RECENT I-94 TO YOUR ATTORNEY AND IMMIGRATION LEGAL TEAM!
Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) will correct admission errors made by its officers at U.S. ports of
entry, sometimes but they may not always be able to correct the errors. CBP also believes in port
autonomy, such that there are significant differences in where CBP will allow for corrections (e.g., at the
port of entry or at a deferred inspections office), how CBP will accept corrections (e.g., in person, by mail,
by email, etc.) and whether CBP will accept certain corrections (some ports will only consider requests by
those resident or employed in the area, or by those who were admitted at that port). Each CBP port director
has the discretion to modify how Form I-94 corrections are made and there may be variances in accessibility
due to capacity issues and other operational needs.
As some CBP offices may be more responsive or flexible than others, those offices may receive a higher
volume of requests which can cause those offices to become overwhelmed, resulting in the implementation
of more restrictive policies.
Issues if the Form I-94 Correction will be In-Person
A CBP office instituting (or re-instituting) an in-person appearance requirement for corrections may
negatively impact some foreign nationals, for example, due to inconvenience or additional cost of the inperson appearance.
Also, in a worst-case scenario, if the CBP office’s conclusion is that a Form I-94, as
issued, is correct and the foreign national is unlawfully present, there is an increased possibility of issuance
of a Notice to Appear. However, if a correction is issued, and the passport admission stamp also had an
error, it will generally be corrected as well.
Issues If the Form I-94 Correction Will Be Done via Email, Mail, Etc.
While corrections via fax/phone/email/mail have the advantage of being convenient, there are
potential downsides. Sending documents with personally identifiable information such as passports and I94 cards
via unprotected email raises security issues, and CBP offices may vary in terms of whether they
will accept password protection of documents submitted with emailed requests.
Another issue with corrections made in the absence of an in-person appearance is that only the electronic Form I-94 record is
corrected. If the passport admission stamp also reflects an error, it cannot also be corrected.
Early Expirations that are not CBP Error
If a passport expires on or within six months of7 the requested end validity date, the foreign national’s
admission may be shortened. CBP does not consider this to be a CBP error and will generally refuse to
“correct” a Form I-94 admission record that was shortened on this basis. Further, obtaining a new passport
does not serve to extend the foreign national’s status.
CBP reiterated its long-standing position that there is no right to an attorney at the port of entry, at primary
or secondary inspection, or at deferred inspections in 2014.9. However, at officer discretion an attorney may
be present. Some offices may require a Form G-28, and some may require a DHS Form 590, to formalize
the foreign national’s consent to representation.
No Record/Incorrect Record
Local deferred inspections offices may not be capable of correcting errors that involve certain incorrect
records. For example, if the individual departed timely but there is an erroneous record that they did not
depart, per CBP’s StayCompliance10 or the CBP One11 mobile application, correction of an erroneous
record of overstay may need to be communicated via the CBP Traveler Communications Center (TCC) at
(202) 325-5120 or by email: email@example.com, or by writing to the Department of Homeland
7. In addition, CBP recently indicated that the TCC may also have capacity to accept simple correction
requests by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The process for correcting an improperly issued Form I-94 from CBP is dynamic and can change with no notice. What worked previously may not always work in the future, and is very case dependent.
Credit: American Immigration Lawyer’s Association (AILA)