• Emily McIntosh

I-94 Extensions - Things to know

The I-94 is an important piece of document that is issued to a foreign national employee by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to keep track of the individual’s arrival and departure to/from the U.S.. While the form is usually issued by CBP at ports of entry, USCIS also issues it as a part of the Form I-797A (approval notice) for a Form I-129 (petition for an alien worker) or a Form I-539 (application for extension of stay or change of status), in the case that the foreign national employee is already in the United States.


Besides tracking the expiration of their passport, foreign national employees also have to track the expiration date of their most recent I-94. If the passport expires, so does the I-94.



Visa Expiration Date vs I-94 Expiration Date

The date printed on I-94 is the official record of your entry and the authorized length of your stay. The visa date, on the other hand, is the last date that you are allowed to enter the U.S. Your visa might be valid for one or two years. But if your Form I-94 expires six months from the date of your entry, you’re required to leave within six months. Employees on the H-1B visa, for example, should abide by the date on their I-94 and would have to leave the U.S. before their I-94 expires, irrespective of the date on their I-797.



I-94 Extension

Employees can file for an I-94 extension by submitting an I-539 application through USCIS’ online portal. Things to note:

  • Can only apply as a single applicant (so dependents would have to file a separate online application)

  • Pay a filing fee

  • The individual needs to attend a biometric appointment at an USCIS office



Documents required for I-94 Extension

The foreign national employee needs the following documents to file an I-94 extension:


Visa Status Approval Notice - need the I-797 (approval notice) for the H-1B, L-1 or L-2 visa petition.


Passport - current passport but also the last (expired) passport if it has the visa stamp.


I-94 Card - provide the information from their current I-94.


Proof of Address - provide utility bills, rental agreements or anything else that proves your current residential address.


Supporting documents - specific documents may be needed at the time of the visit to the USCIS office:

H-1B, L-1 and L-2:

  • Resume

  • 3 - 6 most recent pay stubs

  • Employment verification letter from the employer

  • Copy of I-129 from the employer

  • LCA tied to the H-1B petition

H-4, L-2 and EAD workers:

  • 3 - 6 most recent pay stubs

  • Employment Letter


Getting an I-94 extension is possible during the COVID-19 closures. If you need further assistance with your visa petitions, please contact your company’s legal counsel.




Content in this publication is not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. For additional information on the issues discussed, consult a WayLit-affiliated attorney or another qualified professional.


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