A12: Upon approach to the U.S., airline or border crossing officials will provide you with the Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record for you to present during U.S. immigration and customs inspections. When completing the Form I-94, please enter your name exactly as it appears per the passport. Having several forms with your name spelled differently can cause significant problems after your arrival to the U.S., so please be very careful!
After arrival, you and any family members will queue up for immigration and customs inspection with a Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Inspector. Make sure to hand-carry your passport and enabling document; do not pack them in your checked luggage. You will need to present them to the Inspector.
During the inspection process, you will be asked to describe the purpose of your visit and provide documents to support your entry (See Q13: What documents should I present during the inspection process at the U.S. port of entry?). You will also be fingerprinted and photographed under a security program through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM), formerly known as the U.S. Visitors and Immigration Status Indicator Technology (US VISIT). Additional information about what to expect is available on the CBP web site.
If you are permitted to enter the U.S., the Inspector will provide you “immigration status” by stamping your passport (andy any family member's passports) with your U.S. admission information:
Date of entry;
Port of entry;
Class of admission (which corresponds to your immigration status);
Length of stay you may remain in the U.S.; and
Any special conditions that may apply to your stay.
This admission information is also used to electronically generate the Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record.
Always check your admission stamp in your passport and electronic Form I-94 to ensure they are annotated appropriately based on your enabling document. See also Q14: I just entered the U.S. and need to access my Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record. How do I access the form? What is the purpose of this form?
NOTE: For J-1 and J-2 Exchange Visitors, your Form I-94 will *not* have an exact expiration date. Instead, it should be annotated as “D/S,” or “Duration of Status.” D/S refers to the expiration date listed on the Form DS-2019. This means that you (and any J-2 dependents) can remain in the U.S. until the expiration date on the DS-2019.