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How Long Will It Take To Get I-94 Update After Port Of Entry


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Ariadne Braxton



When traveling to the United States, it’s important to have a valid immigration document that allows you to enter and stay in the country legally. One such document is the I-94, which provides information on your arrival and departure dates, as well as the duration of your authorized stay.


Obtaining an I-94 update is crucial if there are any changes to your travel plans or visa status. Understanding the process and time frame for getting an I-94 update can help ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience during your stay in the US.


In this article, we will delve into the details of the I-94 update process, factors that can affect the processing time, and possible reasons for delayed updates. Whether you are a tourist, student, or temporary worker, this information will be invaluable in navigating the intricacies of the US immigration system.


So, let’s dive in and explore everything you need to know about the duration it takes to get an I-94 update after entering the US.


Understanding I-94

The I-94 form, officially known as the Arrival/Departure Record, is a crucial document for non-immigrants entering the United States. It serves as proof of legal entry and provides important information about the duration of authorized stay. The I-94 record contains details such as your name, date of birth, passport information, visa category, and the date until which you are authorized to stay in the country.


In the past, the I-94 form used to be a physical paper card that was handed to travelers upon arrival. However, the process has now transitioned to an electronic system for most travelers. When you arrive at a US port of entry, such as an airport or land border crossing, your passport will be stamped and an electronic I-94 record will be created.


It’s important to distinguish between the form itself (I-94) and the electronic record. The physical form is still used in certain cases, such as for certain visa types or if you encounter any technical issues with the electronic system.


Accessing your electronic I-94 record is simple. You can visit the official Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website and retrieve your record by providing basic information, including your passport number, date of entry, and country of citizenship.


Now that we have a basic understanding of the I-94 document, let’s move on to the process of getting an I-94 update.


Process of Getting an I-94 Update

There are various reasons why you might need to update your I-94 record, such as extending your stay, changing your visa status, or correcting any errors on the existing record. The process for updating your I-94 involves several steps, which we will outline below:

  1. Evaluate your eligibility: Before initiating the process, ensure that you are eligible for an I-94 update. Certain visa categories may have restrictions or limitations on extending your stay, so it’s important to consult the appropriate immigration authorities or an immigration attorney to understand your options.
  2. File the necessary application: Depending on the nature of the update, you may need to file specific forms with the appropriate government agency. For example, if you wish to extend your stay, you will typically need to file Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. Make sure to fill out the form accurately and provide all required documentation.
  3. Pay the fees: Most I-94 updates require payment of filing fees. The fee amount will depend on the type of update you are requesting. Make sure to check the most up-to-date fee schedule and submit the payment along with your application.
  4. Submit the application: Once you have completed the necessary forms and gathered the required documentation, submit your application to the appropriate address provided by the government agency. Be sure to keep copies of all documents and proof of submission for your records.
  5. Track the status: After submitting your application, you can track the status of your I-94 update online. The government agency will provide updates on the progress of your application, including any requests for additional information. It’s important to respond promptly and provide any requested documentation to avoid delays in processing.
  6. Receive the updated I-94: Once your application is approved, you will receive an updated I-94 record reflecting the changes you requested. This may be in the form of a new electronic record or a physical paper document, depending on your specific circumstances.

It’s important to note that the process and requirements may vary depending on your visa status and the nature of the update. It’s always advisable to consult with an immigration attorney or seek guidance from the appropriate government agency for accurate and up-to-date information.


Factors Affecting the Processing Time

The processing time for an I-94 update can vary depending on several factors. Understanding these factors can help you manage your expectations and plan accordingly. Here are some key factors that can influence the processing time:

  1. Volume of applications: The number of applications received by the government agency at any given time can impact processing times. If there is a high volume of applications, it may lead to longer processing times as the agency needs to review each application thoroughly.
  2. Seasonal fluctuations: The processing times for I-94 updates can vary based on seasonal demand. For instance, certain visa categories may experience increased applications during holiday periods or peak travel seasons, which can result in longer processing times.
  3. Complexity of the request: The nature and complexity of the update you are requesting can affect processing times. Some updates may require additional verification or review by immigration officers, which can prolong the processing time compared to more straightforward requests.
  4. Backlogs and prioritization: Government agencies may prioritize certain types of applications over others due to resource constraints or policy requirements. For example, applications related to national security or humanitarian reasons may receive priority processing, which can impact the processing time for other types of requests.
  5. Quality of application: The accuracy and completeness of your application can significantly impact the processing time. Any errors or missing information can result in delays as the agency may need to request additional documentation or clarification.
  6. Request for additional evidence: In some cases, the government agency may request additional evidence or documentation to support your request for an I-94 update. Failure to provide the requested information within the specified time can lead to further delays in processing.

It’s important to keep these factors in mind when applying for an I-94 update. While some factors are beyond your control, ensuring that you submit a well-prepared and accurate application can help expedite the processing time. Additionally, staying informed about any updates or changes to immigration policies can also help you manage your expectations.


Estimated Time Frame for I-94 Update

The processing time for an I-94 update can vary depending on several factors, as mentioned earlier. While it is difficult to provide an exact timeline, it is helpful to have a general understanding of the estimated time frames. Please note that these are only rough estimates and individual cases may vary.


For straightforward updates, such as correcting minor errors on your existing I-94 record, the processing time is typically shorter. You can expect to receive the updated I-94 record within a few weeks to a couple of months from the date of submission.


However, for more complex requests or updates that require additional verification or documentation, the processing time may be longer. It is not uncommon for these types of updates to take several months to process.


If you are applying for an extension of stay or a change in visa status, the processing time can be even longer. On average, it can take anywhere from a few months to several months to receive a decision on your application.


It is important to keep in mind that these time frames are subject to change and can be influenced by various factors, as mentioned in the previous section. It is always a good idea to regularly check the official government websites or consult with an immigration attorney for the most up-to-date information.


If you have an urgent need for an I-94 update, it is advisable to clearly communicate the urgency and reasons for your request when submitting your application. In some cases, expedited processing may be available for certain circumstances, such as emergencies or humanitarian reasons. However, expedited processing requests are typically granted on a case-by-case basis and additional fees may apply.


Remember to plan ahead and allow sufficient time for your I-94 update to be processed. Applying well in advance of any travel or legal status expiration will help minimize any potential issues or disruptions to your stay in the United States.


Delayed I-94 Updates: Possible Reasons and Solutions

Unfortunately, sometimes there may be delays in receiving an updated I-94 record. While it can be frustrating, there are several common reasons for these delays and potential solutions to consider. Let’s explore them below:


1. Administrative backlog: Government agencies responsible for processing I-94 updates may experience backlogs due to high volumes of applications. If there is a backlog, it can lead to delays in processing. Unfortunately, there is little control over this, but regularly checking the status of your application and following up with the appropriate agency can help keep the process on track.


2. Request for additional documentation: If the government agency reviewing your application requires additional evidence or documentation, it can significantly delay the processing time. To avoid delays, ensure that your application is complete and includes all the necessary supporting documents. Respond promptly to any requests for additional information to expedite the process.


3. Complexity of the request: Certain types of I-94 updates, such as changes in visa status or extensions of stay, can be more complex and require additional verification. These types of updates typically take longer to process compared to straightforward corrections. Understanding the complexity of your request and managing your expectations accordingly can help reduce frustration.


4. Policy changes or updates: Changes in immigration policies or procedures can impact processing times. These changes may be implemented suddenly, leading to delays in processing as agencies adjust to new requirements. Staying informed about any updates or changes to immigration policies can help you understand if your delay is due to policy changes.


5. Errors or inconsistencies in the application: If there are errors or inconsistencies in your application, it can cause delays as the agency may need to request clarification or correct the information provided. It is crucial to thoroughly review your application before submission to ensure accuracy and consistency in the information provided.


6. Technical issues: Occasionally, technical issues with the electronic system or other unforeseen circumstances can cause delays in processing. While these instances are relatively rare, they can happen. If you suspect a technical issue, it may be helpful to reach out to the appropriate government agency for assistance.


To mitigate delays, it’s important to maintain regular communication with the government agency processing your I-94 update. Checking the status of your application online and contacting the agency for updates can provide clarity on any potential issues or delays. Additionally, consulting with an immigration attorney can help navigate any complexities and ensure your application is prepared correctly.


Remember to plan ahead and submit your I-94 update application with sufficient time to account for potential delays. Keeping track of the processing time estimates and staying informed about any procedural changes can help you manage your expectations and address any issues that may arise.



Obtaining an I-94 update is an important process for individuals traveling to the United States. Whether you need to correct errors, extend your stay, or change your visa status, understanding the process and estimated time frames can help you navigate the complexities of the immigration system.


In this article, we have explored the key aspects of the I-94 update process, including understanding the document itself, the steps involved in getting an update, factors that can affect processing times, and potential reasons for delays. By being aware of these factors and following the necessary guidelines, you can maximize your chances of a smooth and timely I-94 update.


However, it is important to note that individual circumstances may vary, and processing times are subject to change. It is always advisable to stay informed and regularly check the official government websites for the most up-to-date information on processing times and requirements.


If you encounter delays or face any issues during the I-94 update process, it is recommended to seek professional advice. Consulting with an immigration attorney can provide valuable insights and guidance tailored to your specific situation.


Remember, planning ahead and allowing sufficient time for the I-94 update process is essential to avoid any disruptions to your stay in the United States. Being proactive, accurate, and responsive during the application process will help ensure a smooth transition and a successful outcome.


By staying informed, understanding the process, and seeking the right guidance when needed, you can navigate the I-94 update process with confidence and enjoy your time in the United States.