Most individuals who apply to adjust their status inside the U.S. must provide evidence that they were inspected and admitted or paroled upon their last entry into the U.S. But what happens when you cannot find proof of your last entry? Do not worry. There are several ways to obtain proof of your admission or parole into the U.S.
The terms inspection, admission, and parole are all terms of art. In simple terms, inspection refers to the process of a foreign national physically presenting himself or herself to an immigration officer at a U.S. port of entry to determine whether or not they are eligible to enter the U.S. Once the foreign national is inspected, the immigration officer usually does one of the following:
- admit them to the U.S. meaning that they are allowed to enter;
- parole them into the U.S. meaning that they are temporarily permitted to enter but not fully admitted to the U.S.;
- allow them to withdraw their application for admission to the U.S.;
- deny them admission to the U.S.; or
- defer their admission to the U.S.
The focus of this article is how a foreign national can obtain proof of their inspection and admission or parole into the U.S.
EVIDENCE OF ADMISSION/PAROLE WITH AN I-94:
Most individuals who enter the U.S. at a port of entry are given a Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record (Form I-94) to document their admission or parole.
- Form I-102: To request a new or replacement Form I-94, you may submit a Form I-102, Application for Replacement/Initial Nonimmigrant Arrival-Departure Document to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It is important to note that this application requires a filing fee and can take several months to process. The current processing time is 5 months to 17.5 months.
- I-94 Website: If you were admitted to the United States at an airport or seaport after April 30, 2013, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) may have issued you an electronic Form I-94. If so, you can access your electronic Form I-94 online at www.cbp.gov/I94.
- FOIA Request: Another way to obtain evidence of your admission or parole is through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. A FOIA request allows you to ask a federal agency for certain information. To request evidence of your Form I-94, your Arrival/Departure Record or other evidence of your entry into the U.S., you can submit a FOIA request to the CBP FOIA Division of the Department of Homeland Security. However, similar to the Form I-102, this request can take several months to process.
OTHER EVIDENCE OF ADMISSION:
Some individuals enter the U.S. with a Border Crossing Card, Temporary Resident Card, visa or other travel document. If you were not issued an I-94 and your passport or travel document was not stamped by CBP, it can be hard to demonstrate that you entered the U.S. on a particular date. In these cases, individuals should provide (1) proof they had a valid travel document at the time of entry and (2) corroborating evidence of their admission to the United States such as flight tickets, travel itineraries, or other similar evidence. [2 USCIS PM A.2].
- FOIA Request: If you do not have evidence of the travel document you used to enter the U.S., you can submit a FOIA request to the agency that issued your travel document such as the Department of State or USCIS.
WAVED THROUGH AT PORT-OF-ENTRY:
In some cases, a foreign national arrives at a port of entry, presents himself or herself for inspection to an immigration officer, and is subsequently waved through the port of entry. In these cases, if the foreign national makes no false claim to U.S. citizenship, they may be considered inspected and admitted by an immigration officer.See Matter of Quilantan, 25 I&N Dec. 285, 291-92 (BIA 2010); Matter of Areguillin, 17 I&N Dec. 308 (BIA 1980). See 8 CFR 103.2(b).These cases can be quite complex. The applicant must submit sufficient evidence to show (1) that they were waved in at a port of entry; and (2) the adjudicating officer must find their claim to be credible.
Regardless of the manner of your last entry, we, at Wilner and O’Reilly, can help you determine the best course of action for your unique set of circumstances. For individualized advice on your immigration matter, please feel free to contact our experienced professionals at Wilner and O’Reilly. We offer free telephonic and video consultations at our offices in Orange, Riverside, San Diego, Fresno, Sacramento, and San Francisco, California; Salt Lake City and Orem, Utah; and Boise, Idaho.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Juliana Ramirez is an immigration attorney at Wilner & O’Reilly. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara and her Juris Doctorate from Southwestern Law School, where she graduated in the top 30% of her class. Mrs. Ramirez is admitted to the California State Bar. Mrs. Ramirez has dedicated her legal career to the practice of immigration law. She has extensive experience assisting clients with both employment-based and family-based immigration solutions. Also, as the daughter of an immigrant, she takes great pride in providing clients with tailor-made solutions to their individual situations and counseling them through the immigration process.
Richard M. Wilner is a founding member of Wilner & O’Reilly, APLC, and is Board Certified by the State Bar of California as a Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law. He is admitted to practice law in the State of California and before the U.S. District Courts for the Central, Northern and Southern Districts of California, the Northern District of Texas, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the U.S. Supreme Court.Mr. Wilner has received the coveted Martindale-Hubbell AV Rating, the highest legal and ethical rating that one can receive from one’s peers in the legal community. Similarly, he has been awarded the title of Super Lawyer from 2007 to the present. He is best known for his work in advising Fortune 500 companies, middle and small market businesses, entrepreneurs and foreign nationals of extraordinary ability in athletics, arts, and sciences in the complex area of U.S. Immigration and Nationality Law.