I-94 and Grace Period

The I-94 Form is the most important immigration “document” all nonimmigrants have while in the United States. This is the only document that confirms your immigration status and controls the authorized period of stay. 

Once you reach the I-94 expiration date, your status ends, even if the other documents remain valid. 

There is no grace period beyond your I-94 expiration date while in H-1B status. Once your status ends or your employment ends, you need to make arrangements to depart the United States as soon as possible. People who stay in the United States beyond the expiration date of their I-94 risk being barred from re-entering the country for a period of three (3) or 10 years, depending on the length of the overstay.

The I-94 Form process is automated; as a result, you will receive a stamp in your passport indicating your status and the expiration date of the status. You will also receive a digital I-94 record that you can access through the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website. 

If there is a discrepancy between the stamp in the passport and the online I-94 record, the online I-94 record prevails. If you have not traveled internationally since the I-94 process was automated and you still have a paper I-94 card, that card remains valid. Each time that you receive a new I-94 record, it supersedes your previous I-94 even if the new I-94 has an earlier expiration date. You should print the I-94 confirmation page, as you may be asked for it when you apply for certain benefits in the United States, such as a driver license, social security number and extensions of your immigration status.