Client just called and asked for a change of status from B2 visitor to F1 student. I said, great we can help, but when does your status expire. He said, no worries I am good for 10 years!!! Been here for 4 only.
I said: No you are not, the I-94 (little white card in the passport) is what controls your status, this only good for 6 months max. I heard a loud sound of falling and silence. For those who are in the U.S. temporarily as nonimmigrants, the most important date to track is perhaps the expiration date of their I-94 arrival / departure cards. The I-94 is a small card that is usually stapled into one’s passport. It is obtained in one of two ways. It can be issued by a Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the port of entry upon arrival in the United States. It can also be issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) when one is granted an extension or change of nonimmigrant status from within the United States.
The I-94 card reflects how long one is permitted to stay in the United States, provided s/he complies with the terms of her/his status. Occasionally, the CBP or USCIS will issue an I-94 card with an erroneous date (either issuing an approval for a longer period than is permitted by law or granting an individual less time than appropriate.) In either case, one should immediately obtain competent legal advice on the proper steps to correct the error.
One should never rely upon an erroneous grant of more time in a nonimmigrant category than was requested or than one is eligible to receive. So if you are pending change of status for 2 years, it does not mean that you are legal for 2 years.
It is important to remember that the expiration date on a visa stamp in the passport and the expiration date on the I-94 card are often not the same. The visa is an entry document, only. The time that one is actually allowed to remain in the United States after an entry could be much shorter or longer than the duration of the visa.
The appropriate amount of time is determined by the CBP at the port of entry. This is based on applicable law as well as the CBP’s discretion.