My in laws were in US about 10 years ago and they left the country within their allowed period of stay. However, they took their I-94 card with them in the passports and forgot to return them. Now they are looking to revisit the US and wondering if this is going to cause an issue. I went to the I94 - Official Website (dhs.gov) site and looked up their travel history, and I can clearly see that their departure has been recorded there, so it seems to be like they should be okay. Can this still cause issues?

Should they bring back the I-94 card in their passports from 10 years ago, or since the departure has been recorded as per the dhs.gov site, just take it off the passports to not cause unnecessary issues?

Thanks for any pointers. They don't have much time to do much more as they only realized this recently.

  • 4
    If it really is 10 years ago, the passports won’t be valid anyway, so there’s no need to remove them; just get new passports.
    – Tim
    Jul 7, 2022 at 15:25
  • @Tim about 10 years ago.
    – EarlGrey
    Jul 8, 2022 at 12:25

2 Answers 2


If departure is recorded correctly, then you don't have to do anything. Remove that i94 card from the passport. Do not confuse the immigration agents as it can create unnecessary delays.

If they had departed via air, more than likely case is their exit is automatically recorded.

  • I would like to add: people are humans. There is a non-zero chance of an employee removing the I-94 card, recording the exit and not disposing properly the physical card. If OP removes the card, there is no way for the future border guard to distinguish between the case "one of ours lost the physical I94 card somewhere along the process" and "OP removed the I94 card from the passport".
    – EarlGrey
    Jul 8, 2022 at 12:25

I had the same thing happen to me. I left on a flight where the people doing the check-in didn't take out the I-94 form from my passport and I was unaware of this until my flight was somewhere over the Atlantic. At home I contacted the relevant authorities and the told me to sent it back in the mail together with proof that I had left the country (their suggestion was a credit card statement, but in my country nobody uses credit cards for local purchases, they use debit cards. In the end they accepted a bank statement where local purchases were recorded from the debit card). As I have visited the USA after this incident it seems like that solved the issue.

A colleague of mine left it in his passport (he was unaware that he was in effect violating the rules by not returning it on exit) and he got some hassle the next time he came into the USA, but nothing major.

With the introduction of EFTA this should no longer cause any problems, but it did of course add a fee to your visit to the USA.

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