Form I-94 (Arrival/Departure Record) documents/proves a lawful admission to the U.S. in a specific visa status and any defined expiration of that status in the U.S. This form is issued to all nonimmigrants upon entry to the United States. Form I-94 is a small white card which is normally stapled in or placed inside his or her passport. The "I-94 card" (as it is commonly referred to) is a very important document. When departing the U.S. an immigration official will often wish to confirm that an individual has maintained status, and will do so by referencing the I-94 card.
For many types of nonimmigrant visa classifications the I-94 card will be issued with a defined expiration. Individuals holding these types of I-94 cards must depart the U.S. or extend or change their status before the expiration on the I-94 card.
For other types of nonimmigrant visa classifications the I-94 card will indicate "D/S" which stands for "Duration of Status". These I-94 cards do not have a defined expiration date, and remain valid provided that all conditions of lawful status in the U.S. are met. F-1 students should be issued an I-94 card indicating "D/S".
When an application to change or extend nonimmigrant status is approved, the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) will issue Form I-797 containing an I-94 card (in the lower right of the form) which should be torn off and stapled into the applicant's passport, exactly as when an I-94 card is received when admitted to the U.S.
It is important to note that loss or defacement of an I-94 card can be an expensive and lengthy replacement process. The replacement cost is $320. If your I-94 is lost or defaced, please contact the Center for International Programs (CIP) immediately.