Evidence of Admission for a T Derivative

Does my T derivative client who consular processed need an I-94?

Yes! T derivatives abroad are not admitted into T nonimmigrant status until they consular process, obtain a T entry visa, and are admitted via a port of entry. See 8 CFR § 214.11(a).[1] An I-94[2] serves as evidence of admission as a T nonimmigrant and is key to various processes, including access to public benefits, drivers licenses, in-state tuition and financial aid, employment authorization and extensions of status, and, importantly, eligibility to adjust status as a lawfully admitted T nonimmigrant as per 8 CFR § 245.23(b)(2).[3] U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has authority over individuals seeking admission at a port-of-entry[4] and therefore, the I-94, Arrival/Departure Record created at the time of admission will dictate the period of admission for a T derivative entering from abroad. As a result, legal practitioners should check for an I-94 when a T derivative client is admitted into the U.S. from abroad to verify the duration and class of admission are correct and that no extension is required.   

In 2013, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) stopped issuing paper I-94 cards and instead, began utilizing an online system where noncitizen visitors can access an electronic copy of their admission record (an electronic I-94) and their travel history. Around 2020, U and T nonimmigrants admitted via a port of entry stopped being able to access electronic I-94s in many cases.[5] Additionally, beginning in 2022, many ports of entry stopped providing an ink passport stamp containing the date, class, duration, and place of admission.[6] Without the I-94 or passport stamp, T nonimmigrants who have been admitted from abroad lack critical information about their status and the duration of that status.

Because of the potential ramifications of a T nonimmigrant’s lack of I-94, practitioners should make sure to check for an I-94 (paper or online) or passport admission stamp indicating the duration and class of admission. Practitioners should utilize CBP’s deferred inspection process to obtain an I-94 where no paper I-94 was issued and no electronic version is accessible via CBP’s I-94 online look-up or where the I-94 contains an error.[7] Alternately, practitioners may be able to file Form I-102 with USCIS to obtain a missing I-94 for a noncitizen who was admitted via a port of entry.[8] 

CBP’s list of deferred inspection sites can be found here. Note that the inspection sites are grouped regionally; to locate the closest site, select the dropdown of the closest city on the list. Any DIS can correct a CBP I-94 error, regardless of the original port of arrival.[9] Some offices may have an email address you can contact for instructions on the site’s specific I-94 correction instructions. Each DIS has a different process, and some may wholly refuse to issue an I-94.

CAST recommends that a legal representative accompany all T nonimmigrants who need to visit a CBP DIS in person to ensure that the I-94 is properly issued and the client has no problems. If a CBP DIS refuses to produce or correct an I-94 for a T or U nonimmigrant admitted from abroad, practitioners may want to consider contacting CBP’s Traveler Communications Center (TCC) at (202) 325-8000, via email at [email protected], or via the “Ask a Question” form on CBP’s website.[10]

CAST also recommends advising T derivatives prior to travel that they may, if they feel comfortable, request an I-94 or passport stamp from CBP during their admission.[11] CBP’s Office of Field Operations (OFO) has confirmed at several public engagements that an I-94 or passport stamp may be provided at admission upon request.[12]

AILA’s VAWA, Us, & Ts National Committee[13] has been working to address the issue of U holders and T derivatives who were admitted by CBP at a port-of-entry but were not issued an I-94 (and where no I-94 is downloadable from CBP’s website). In May 2022, January 2023, August 2023, and February 2024, AILA conducted calls for examples to share with CBP along with a request that CBP return to issuing paper I-94s to U and T entrants upon admission.

For technical assistance relating to I-94 issues for U nonimmigrants, CAST suggests reaching out to ASISTA, which also authored a 2019 Practice Pointer on this topic.

For technical assistance relating to a trafficking survivor, please reach out to CAST using the form linked at this page.

Last updated March 1, 2024


[1] See also 3 USCIS-PM B.7.E, explaining that derivative applicants inside the U.S. are provided with evidence of T nonimmigrant status upon I-914A approval, whereas derivative applicants abroad are not and must complete consular processing.

[2] Sometimes, depending on the benefit or process, an ink admission stamp containing the date, duration, class, and place of admission may be sufficient. However, in some instances, the ink admission stamp may be incomplete or inconsistent with the I-94, which is controlling.

[3] To be eligible to adjust status, a T nonimmigrant must have been properly admitted into T nonimmigrant status and must continue to hold T nonimmigrant status. 8 CFR §§ 245.23(a)(2) & (b)(2). While the lack of I-94 is typically an issue for T derivatives who consular process in from abroad, T-1 nonimmigrants who choose to travel abroad and return with advance parole will need an I-94 to demonstrate their re-admission into T status so they can adjust status as a T nonimmigrant.

While CAST is not aware of any relevant Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) T adjustment decisions at the time of this writing, there have been AAO decisions in the U adjustment context indicating that the duration of admission granted by CBP and indicated on a nonimmigrant’s I-94 is controlling, even where USCIS has issued an approval notice for a longer period. See, e.g., In Re: 11853918 (AAO Mar. 26, 2021) (non-precedent decision); In Re: 19716638 (AAO Jan. 11, 2022) (non-precedent decision).

[4] 8 CFR § 235.1(a); 7 USCIS-PM B.2.A.1.

[5] Though no announcement was made about this change, practitioners suspect online access to I-94s were eliminated due to CBP’s interpretation of 8 USC § 1367 confidentiality provisions. This ILRC advisory provides general guidance on these confidentiality provisions.

[6] This change in CBP practice regarding passport admission stamps is discussed in AILA Practice Pointer, CBP Stampless Entry Program (April 11, 2023, AILA Doc. No. 23041200) and AILA Practice Pointer, CBP Stampless Entry and Other Technological Initiatives (December 22, 2023, AILA Doc No. 23122233).

[7] CBP Deferred Inspection Site (DIS) practice regarding such I-94 requests currently varies, with some refusing to produce the I-94, some allowing attorney appearance in lieu of the nonimmigrant, some providing the I-94 via email, and some only providing the I-94 information or confirming an I-94 record exists but refusing to produce the actual I-94.

Note that USCIS must be contacted for I-94 errors made by USCIS, for example in the case of T-1 applicants or T derivative applicants residing inside the U.S. at the time of approval. See, e.g., CBP Fact Sheet, I-94 Automation (2013).

[8] The January 31, 2024 Federal Register announcement of new fee exemptions relating to applications for T nonimmigrant status and related filings through adjustment of status did not specify whether Form I-102 is among the fee exempt forms, but the G-1055, Fee Schedule effective 4/1/2024 indicates that there is no fee for an I-102 where the I-94 is unavailable on CBP's website. 

Additionally, the nonimmigrant may attempt to obtain their I-94 through a CBP FOIA, though CAST is only anecdotally aware of limited success utilizing this method.

[9] 2014 CBP Memo, I-94 Corrections, AILA Doc. No.  19081414; see also AILA Practice Pointer, Correcting Errors on Form I-94, AILA Doc. No. 22041300.

[10] Additional information on I-94 correction and the Traveler Communication Center can be found in AILA’s 2022 Practice Pointer, Correcting Errors on Form I-94, AILA Doc. No. 22041300, and on CBP’s website. As of this writing, it is unclear whether TCC will issue an I-94 in these cases.

[11] Practitioners may want to consider preparing a brief letter explaining the I-94/admission stamp request that the client may then present to CBP.

[12] AILA Doc. No. 22100700 (Q14 & Q15); AILA Doc. No. 23033001 (Q23).

[13] CAST staff currently sit on AILA’s VAWA/U/T National Committee and have been actively engaged in this project.