CBP I-94

With the exception of E visas and K visas, Canadian citizens are visa-exempt and do not require a visa stamp before entering the United States. In most cases when entering the United States as a visitor, Canadians are admitted with a brief inspection and no record of admission or I-94. This is called a “non-controlled” admission. We discuss going from a visitor as a “non-controlled Canadian” to a green card here.

What is a “non-controlled” admission to the United States?

A typical admission of a foreign national to the United States is recorded through CBP Form I-94. When a foreign national is admitted to the United States without an I-94 record, this is commonly referred to as “non-controlled“. A non-controlled admission is common for Canadians who are visa exempt. Most Canadians entering the United States are admitted as non-controlled aliens.

Admissions as “non-controlled Canadians” are governed as follows:

In general, a Canadian citizen who was admitted as a visitor for business or pleasure and not issued a Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record (also known as a “non-controlled” Canadian nonimmigrant) is lawfully admitted for a period of 6 months. For that reason, unless there is evidence, including verifiable evidence provided by the individual, that they were specifically advised that their admission would be for a different length of time, DHS will consider, for purposes of 8 CFR 236.21-236.25 only, that the noncitizen was lawfully admitted for a period of 6 months.

How long can I stay in the US as a non-controlled Canadian?

How can I verify if I was issued an I-94 or not?

In most cases, CBP Form I-94 is required if you are filing for an immigration benefit with USCIS, such as a visa extension, a visa renewal, a change of status, or an adjustment of status. With the passport you used to enter the United States, you can verify with CBP if you were issued an I-94 or if you are a “non-controlled Canadian” without an I-94.

How do I get my CBP Form I-94 Record?

Can I get a green card as a “non-controlled Canadian” without an I-94?

If you entered the United States through a port of entry, were inspected by an immigration officer, and were not issued an I-94 upon entry, you are a non-controlled Canadian. When you are admitted as a non-controlled Canadian you are typically admitted for a time period not to exceed 6 months as a visitor. Although this is a non-immigrant admission, it doesn’t prevent you from obtaining a green card. In most cases, we see non-controlled Canadians obtain green cards through marriage to a US Citizen (USCS) spouse.  This is done by filing both USCIS Form I-130 Petition for Alien Relative and USCIS Form I-485 Adjustment of Status with USCIS. There are timing considerations when going from a non-controlled Canadian to a green card through marriage but it can be done and we help Canadians through this process often.

Green Cards for Spouses

How can I prove that I was admitted as a “non-controlled Canadian”?

The ability to adjust status through marriage to a USC spouse depends on many factors including your lawful inspection and admission to the United States. If you were legally admitted to the United States as a non-controlled Canadian, you cannot simply provide a CBP I-94 record of admission because one was not issued. However,  there are several ways you can prove that you were legally admitted without CBP Form I-94. For example:

  • Although you might not have been issued an I-94 your travel might still be recorded with CBP. Your travel history can prove your entry as a “non-controlled Canadian.” Click Here to View your Travel History with CBP.
  • An affidavit that details how, when, and where you entered the United States.
  • Receipts at the time of entry from the purchase of gas, food, etc.
  • Proof of hotel or other accommodations.
  • Any other proof to support the entry such as travel itinerary, photos, concert or sporting events attended, etc.

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We Can Help!

The US immigration lawyers at Richards and Jurusik Immigration Law have more than 30+ years of experience helping non-controlled Canadians to obtain green cards in the United States. Read some of our hundreds of 5-star client reviews! Contact us today for an assessment of your legal situation.

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