Multiple I-94s

Old Jun 23rd 2010, 5:08 am
  #1  
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Default Multiple I-94s

First of all, I know my story could sound strange and I acted irresponsibly. Before reprimanding me or asking me to consult a lawyer please keep in mind that I am already going through a hard time.

[EDIT: I screwed up the timelines]

1. I first came to the US in 2006 on a H1B visa sponsored by Barclays. The expiration date on the visa was 2009-10-12.

2. I worked at Barclays for two years and then in October 2008, I changed to Citibank which gave me a new I-129 with a brand new I-94. The new I-94 said expires in October 2011. So, at this stage I had two I-94s

3. I left the USA briefly in December 2008. When I left, I handed over the first I-94 (the one expiring in 2009), because it was on my passport. The newer I-94 was still in my Citibank I-129.

4. When I returned, the POE officer looked at my passport, and started entering "Barclays" as my employer, when I interrupted him and said I was actually with Citibank now, and also showed him my Citibank I-129.
He became angry and said I should have told him earlier. He then filled out whatever he had to, and gave me an I-94 which also expired on 2009.10.12

I have now quit my job and have come back to UK and would like to know if I have overstayed. I returned in March, and handed over both my I-94s...the one that expires in 2011 and also the one that has already expired.

I did speak to a lawyer before I left and she said that my I-129's I-94 supersedes the one that the POE officer gave me, but I'm having doubts and feel that maybe I'll never be able to enter the US again.

I searched the forums for answers but haven't found anything relevant. Someone please advise what I should look forward to if I ever re-apply for a work visa.

Last edited by Overstay; Jun 23rd 2010 at 6:04 am.
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Old Jun 23rd 2010, 5:41 am
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Default Re: Multiple I-94s

Wow. Confusing. I can see why you're concerned. Might be a good idea to get a second legal opinion.
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Old Jun 23rd 2010, 5:41 am
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Default Re: Multiple I-94s

You already consulted an attorney and she gave you her opinion based on the facts that you gave her.

I am not sure why you doubt what she told you but if you want a second opinion you would be better off consulting a different attorney than posting your question on an internet message board.
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Old Jun 23rd 2010, 5:44 am
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Default Re: Multiple I-94s

Hang on, the timeline you posted doesn't quite make sense.

Did you leave and reenter before or after being issued the "second" (Citibank) I-94?
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Old Jun 23rd 2010, 5:58 am
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Default Re: Multiple I-94s

Originally Posted by henryh
Hang on, the timeline you posted doesn't quite make sense.

Did you leave and reenter before or after being issued the "second" (Citibank) I-94?

"After". Hence the confusion. All the time I had the citibank I-94 among the rest of my paperwork.
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Old Jun 23rd 2010, 11:45 am
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Default Re: Multiple I-94s

Originally Posted by Overstay
I have now quit my job and have come back to UK and would like to know if I have overstayed.
From where I sit, no... you didn't. As long as you left the US before the expiry date of whichever I-94 was current, you're fine. Each subsequent I-94 did supersede the prior one... so your attorney is correct.

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Old Jun 23rd 2010, 3:23 pm
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Default Re: Multiple I-94s

I'm not sure I fully agree with what's been stated, but I''m often wrong.

My understanding is that the LAST i-94 issued to you is the one that counts. The other(s) should have been turned in when you last exited, and have no bearing on your authorized period of stay for your current entry.

Current Period of Authorized Stay ends on the date of the i-94 issued LAST.

The officer on your last entry, should have issued your i-94 with the same ending date as your petition, but he did not. I still think you were bound to that incorrect date.

If I may ask, on What date did you leave the US ?

This is so convoluted, USCIS may or may not have full and correct record of what happened. I would keep a copy of that petition with the later expiration date, along with your exit info, and that ought to allow you to explain any issues on your next entry attempt. You don't have to lie, but I would refrain from disclosing too much.

My advice to other posters.. ALWAYS look at the date on the LAST I-94 issued to you. The i-94 at the bottom of a notice of approval is not special or different from the one you get at the point of entry, it just supersedes the last one you got. The new one becomes "The good one" for that entry.

When departing the US, You are supposed to give the agent your then current i-94 on exit, (Even if it's the little square at the bottom of your petition approval form) and you will get a new i-94 on entry. If you are re-entering on a Visa, but with a new petition, SHOW THE Petition to the Agent, and Make Sure the new i-94 expiration date is the same as your petition's old i-94 expiration date. if NOT, tell the agent BEFORE you leave the booth.

If you catch a discrepancy in the dates after you enter the country, sometimes you can go to a deferred inspection site and have it corrected.

Do your best to never stay in the country past the current and applicable i-94 expiration date unless you know what you are doing (Pending Change of Status, AOS, etc, Your Lawyer will tell you when it's OK. otherwise, assume it's not and seek the Lawyer's help.)

Good Luck!

Last edited by A I; Jun 23rd 2010 at 3:26 pm.
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Old Jun 23rd 2010, 5:37 pm
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Default Re: Multiple I-94s

Originally Posted by A I
If I may ask, on What date did you leave the US ?
I left in March, 2010. I'd like to err on the side of caution and assume that I'll be rejected if I ever try to enter the USA again.

I also wanted to ask, is there a way we can check I-94 records online? Even after I left the US, my I-129 case status still says "Decision" and does not show any post-decision activity.

Also, the I-94 that came with my I-129 petition did not have any date on it and just showed the case number.

thanks so much!

Last edited by Overstay; Jun 23rd 2010 at 5:40 pm.
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Old Jun 23rd 2010, 6:42 pm
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Default Re: Multiple I-94s

Originally Posted by Overstay
... is there a way we can check I-94 records online?
No.

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Old Jun 23rd 2010, 7:04 pm
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Default Re: Multiple I-94s

Originally Posted by Overstay
I left in March, 2010.
If your overstay did not exceed 6 months and the whole thing blows up, at least you will not have a three year ban for entry, so that's some good news.

Originally Posted by Overstay
I'd like to err on the side of caution and assume that I'll be rejected if I ever try to enter the USA again.
Well, that's a little extreme... If you really need or want to go back, you might be able to pull it off...

Originally Posted by Overstay
I also wanted to ask, is there a way we can check I-94 records online? Even after I left the US, my I-129 case status still says "Decision" and does not show any post-decision activity.

Also, the I-94 that came with my I-129 petition did not have any date on it and just showed the case number.

thanks so much!
As Ian stated, No way to check I-94 records online. There are ways to research what USCIS as on you via Freedom of Information request. These usually take a LONG time and are not always worth it/successful. But it's worth Google-ing about if you are curious.

Don't trust the online status. Works most of the time, but often it's not fully in sync. (Case approval not reflected online is fairly common)
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Old Jun 24th 2010, 10:20 pm
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Default Re: Multiple I-94s

Hmm. Nice one. OK, this is the way it works: First, USCIS generally applies a "last action rule" to situations like this. Thus, the last I-94 issued had an expiry date of 2009.10.12. This is the I-94 that controls the amount of time you are permitted to remain in the USA.

What creates a wrinkle here -- see? these things are never easy! -- is that the border guard made an error. He used the expiry date of the Barclays petition, instead of the expiry date of the Citibank petition. That is to say: your petition to work for Citibank controls how long you are permitted to work legally for Citibank, and the maximum stay on the I-94 should reflect that. Your new I-94 should have expired in 2011.

In this case, the border guard put 2009.10.12 (Barclays date) on your recent, Citibank-related I-94. The date used should have been the 2011 expiry date of the CITIBANK petition.

But, the I-94 controls. So, this would mean that you should have exited the USA -- or applied for an EOS -- prior to the 2009.10.12 date on your I-94. You overstayed by 5 months.

If you had caught this problem earlier, you could have gone down to Customs and Border Protection and gotten them to correct the I-94.

If you try to enter the USA again, you might be well advised to go to the US Embassy in London and get a B-1/B-2. Bring all the I-94s and the petitions, and explain the overstay. I think they would understand and issue the B-1/B-2.

(It would have been even more complex and interesting if the expiry date of the I-94 was BEYOND the expiration of the actual petition. Then, you would have been out of status for working with the company, but your physical presence would not have been considered an overstay.)

Best of luck,

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Los Angeles, CA
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Old Jun 25th 2010, 10:35 am
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Default Re: Multiple I-94s

Originally Posted by JCraigFong
Hmm. Nice one. OK, this is the way it works: First, USCIS generally applies a "last action rule" to situations like this. Thus, the last I-94 issued had an expiry date of 2009.10.12. This is the I-94 that controls the amount of time you are permitted to remain in the USA.

What creates a wrinkle here -- see? these things are never easy! -- is that the border guard made an error. He used the expiry date of the Barclays petition, instead of the expiry date of the Citibank petition. That is to say: your petition to work for Citibank controls how long you are permitted to work legally for Citibank, and the maximum stay on the I-94 should reflect that. Your new I-94 should have expired in 2011.

In this case, the border guard put 2009.10.12 (Barclays date) on your recent, Citibank-related I-94. The date used should have been the 2011 expiry date of the CITIBANK petition.

But, the I-94 controls. So, this would mean that you should have exited the USA -- or applied for an EOS -- prior to the 2009.10.12 date on your I-94. You overstayed by 5 months.

If you had caught this problem earlier, you could have gone down to Customs and Border Protection and gotten them to correct the I-94.

If you try to enter the USA again, you might be well advised to go to the US Embassy in London and get a B-1/B-2. Bring all the I-94s and the petitions, and explain the overstay. I think they would understand and issue the B-1/B-2.

(It would have been even more complex and interesting if the expiry date of the I-94 was BEYOND the expiration of the actual petition. Then, you would have been out of status for working with the company, but your physical presence would not have been considered an overstay.)

Best of luck,

--J Craig Fong
Los Angeles, CA
Thanks, this is what makes most sense to me. Now my question is. If I was asked in the visa application whether I was out of status or had unlawful presence, would I tick "Yes" and then risk a denial? I also fear that once I tick "Yes", it will be a permanent mark on my record and no way will I be able to change the answer again.

Further, I'd like to know how these things work in the background. Lets say instead of saying "Yes" I said "No", and at the window the consulate officer approved my visa. The visa arrives a few days later with the passport. During this period, if they cross-check and discover that I had committed "fraud" what will the consequences be?

Next, lets assume my visa was approved, and no problems were encountered along the way. When I arrive at the POE, I face the same problem. The port officer will look at my records and discover that I had overstayed, and then charge me with fraud?
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Old Jun 25th 2010, 1:16 pm
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Default Re: Multiple I-94s

Originally Posted by Overstay
If I was asked in the visa application whether I was out of status or had unlawful presence, would I tick "Yes" and then risk a denial?
If, by ticking "yes", you are telling the truth, then you do risk a denial.


I also fear that once I tick "Yes", it will be a permanent mark on my record and no way will I be able to change the answer again.
The alternative, then, is to lie - but that's a lot worse!


... what will the consequences be?
I believe lying to get an immigration benefit carries a lifetime ban from the US.

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Old Jun 25th 2010, 2:24 pm
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Default Re: Multiple I-94s

Originally Posted by ian-mstm
I believe lying to get an immigration benefit carries a lifetime ban from the US.
That is correct, misrepresentation carries a lifetime ban. A misrepresentation charge can be waived in some circumstances, but a waiver for misrep is difficult to get.
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Old Jun 25th 2010, 2:28 pm
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Default Re: Multiple I-94s

Originally Posted by ian-mstm
If, by ticking "yes", you are telling the truth, then you do risk a denial.

The alternative, then, is to lie - but that's a lot worse!

I believe lying to get an immigration benefit carries a lifetime ban from the US.

Ian
So, it appears that I cannot be rescued. Risking visa denials and lifetime ban are both scary to me. Once I'm denied a visa, I'll have to mention that to other countries I travel to.

Infact, I think even if someone in my situation marries a USC, they will not be able to return to the US without problems. If you marry and then apply for a resident permit, they'd bring up the overstay and decline the green card or a visa to enter the country, correct?

I don't know if I'm frustrated, depressed, or confused.
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