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Visa waiver (I-94W) not collected at border.

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  • Visa waiver (I-94W) not collected at border.

    Hello! My Spanish friend entered the US a few years ago on a visa waiver (essentially, without a visa as EU nationals are allowed to do for 90 days) and when she left the US shortly thereafter through the Niagara Falls border, the border official did not take her green I-94W form (I think that is what it is called) or stamp her passport, but just waved her through. She thought nothing of it at the time but now that she wants to come and visit me in the US, she is frightened that the immigration people will somehow think that she is still illegally in the country (which she never was, having left before the 90 days were up) or that she overstayed her 90-day limit because there is no evidence of her having left before that time elapsed.

    Does this issue need to be addressed or is it simply something that happens frequently and causes no problems? I did ask about this when I had my green card interview but the Dudes there said it was Not Their Field.

    This website shows a sample of the visa waiver forms that EU and some other nationals get when they come to the US:


    I apologise if we are getting all paranoid about a non-problem - the thing is, we don't know if it's a non-problem and we are generally frightened of the immigration people because we have heard grim stories about how strict they can be if they set their mind to it.

    Thanks very much for your time - Ants.

  • #2
    It is a problem.

    Follow this and send along any proof that shows the person left the country on XYZ date or is living in another country. A boarding pass on the departing airline from Canada, anything that helps to establish the facts. They should also carry all such proof to prove that they did not overstay to have a trouble free entry again. They will likely have to go to secondary inspection upon reentry.


    I am not a lawyer and you need to consult with one to validate any info posted on the forum and discuss your case specifics. H1b Question? Read the FAQ first.


    • #3
      I-94W not collected at border.

      Hello, and thanks for your swift reply.

      Aaaargh! What a scary situation. I read the page you sent and it mentions that one should retain the form if one takes a short trip to Canada or Mexico. My friend went to Canada overland, and the border official just didn't take the form but waved them through; in fact I have seen this often, since the same thing happened to my father when he visited us for Christmas and we went to Canada for a few days. I guess the officials were assuming that this was one of these 'short visits'.

      Well, I will tell her to find some of the necessary documents - thanks very much and a happy new year to you. -Ants.