Iowa Immigration Law Blog: How do I prove my lawful admission now that the government is no longer issuing I-94 cards?


On April 30, 2013, U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) began substituting a passport stamp and an electronic entry record for the paper I-94s that had been filled out by people entering the U.S. by air or sea ports (Note: Refugees, asylees and parolees will still receive paper I-94s, but will have to go to secondary inspection to obtain them).

While this is a good initiative in many ways, like any transition, it will be a little rocky.

People applying for driver’s licenses or Social Security numbers in some locations are being asked to present I-94s rather than the passport stamp alone. The I-9 instructions arguably require a printed I-94 card as well. And it is always a good idea to have proof of status that is easily recognized.

Therefore, we advise that you:

  • Print the electronic I-94 by going to This page also contains a tab for FAQs that you can read if you have trouble finding the I-94 on line. Note that you should use your passport name rather than your visa name if they are different.
  • Print the FAQ page to take with you to the driver’s license facility, SSA or other government office.
  • Take your passport with the stamp and visa page as proof also.
  • If you have a problem that you cannot resolve, the “deferred action” sites of CBP are the contact points to help you. See
  • If you continue to have problems, you can ask for a paper I-94 upon entry if you are “nonimmigrant” (entering on a visa). However, you will have to go to secondary inspection to do this, so schedule enough time between flights to allow for the extra time it will take.

CBP is supposed to provide travelers with this information upon entry. If they do not, or if you have problems with the electronic I-94 process, please let us know so we can report these transitional issues to them.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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