Litwin & Smith, A Law Corporation
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B1/ B2 Canadian Visitors Can Avoid Unintended Visitor Violations

We encourage all Canadian visitors to routinely check the CBP I-94 website after being admitted to the U.S. to avoid an unintentional overstay.

Canadians, when entering the U.S. by air, like all travelers, are issued electronic I-94 cards. To determine the duration of their authorized admission travelers should check the CBP I-94 website for their authorized period of stay in the U.S. At land ports of entry, I-94 cards are not typically issued and a Canadian visitor may not know they have been issued an I-94. Or, a Canadian visitor may assume that they have been admitted for six months and not check their I-94 or the CBP website to verify their period of admission.

Canadian visitors have reported to us circumstances where, subsequent to the issuance of a 6-month electronic I-94 at an airport, the Canadian visitor returned to Canada and then reentered the U.S. at a land border crossing during the original I-94 validity period only to find they did not receive an extended period of admission, but an admission for the original period of authorized stay. In this scenario, it is common practice for CBP at the land border to "revalidate" the existing I-94 and original period of admission rather than create a new I-94 record with a new period of admission. For example, a Canadian visitor enters the U.S. by air on June 1 and is given a 6-month period of admission, through December 1. When s/he departs the U.S. in August and seeks readmission in September, s/he may only be readmitted until December 1, without any notice from CBP. The Canadian visitor would not necessarily know that s/he was admitted pursuant to a pre-existing I-94 unless s/he checks the CBP website. As a result, Canadians who frequently travel to the United States may unknowingly overstay and may only find out upon a later attempt to reenter.

The lack of notice given to Canadian visitors is problematic, and the practice of revalidation, at least for B-2 entrants, may also violate 8 CFR §214.2(b)(2), which states:

Minimum six month admissions. Any B-2 visitor who is found otherwise admissible and is issued a Form I-94 (see §1.4), will be admitted for a minimum period of six months, regardless of whether less time is requested, provided, that any required passport is valid as specified in section 212(a)(26) of the Act. Exceptions to the minimum six month admission may be made only in individual cases upon the specific approval of the district director for good cause.

We have raised this issue with CBP and CBP is reviewing their practice.

Canadian citizens re-entering the United States as B-1 or B-2 visitors can avoid an unintended overstay of their admission by checking the website after being re-admitted to the U.S.

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