Last summer I went for a trip in the USA. They stapled the I-94 form in my passport and was suppose to return it within three months (I think). I left the USA after 2 weeks only and did not return since. However, I forgot to return my I-94 on time.

I returned the I-94 a few weeks later! Following the advice on this webpage, I did my best to give them evidences that I left on time. I could give them the contract for my lease, the bus ticket I bought to leave (my name is not on it) and a few signed documents that I am a PhD students in Canada. I would assume it is fine and they accepted my excuses and believe I left on time.


How can I make sure I will not get any trouble next time I re-enter because of this issue? Should I expect much trouble?


My passport is swiss and I live in Vancouver, Canada with a study permit.


Short answer: You've already done everying you can do to make sure you won't have trouble, aside from bringing a copy of the evidence of your departure when you next come to the United States.

More detail:

The purpose of the I-94 is to connect your departure record with your entry record. When it is not returned, it appears as if you have overstayed your welcome in the USA.

There's no penalty for failing to return the form; there is only a penalty for overstaying. If you didn't actually overstay, and can prove it, there is no problem, other than your visa potentially being cancelled, or your ESTA application being denied. In either case you'd be out $160 for a new visa application.

Since you've already sent your evidence of departure, you should be fine. However, you should bring a copy the next time you come to the US, in case the originals were lost in the mail or some other bureaucratic problem has prevented the correction of your record in the database.

This was paraphrased from https://help.cbp.gov/app/answers/detail/a_id/752/~/i-still-have-my-i-94, which has a much more detailed discussion.

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