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What really happens if my passport was not stamped when I entered the United States? I will have problems? How long can I stay or stay in the country?

This publication will answer these and other questions. In addition to the information on the blog, you have the legal support from our immigration lawyers in Los Angeles at Lluis Law. The firm has been helping foreigners in all types of immigration matters for more than 40 years.


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Why Wasn’t My Passport Stamped When I entered The US In 2024?

Stamping the American passport is something of the past as it is becoming less and less common. It can be evidenced in an ESTA authorization to travel to the United States .

According to authorities, this speeds up arrivals and departures, improves efficiency and waiting times. It is especially noticeable at airports with high international traffic.

change of status from visitor visa to green card

This blog focuses on answering the question of “My passport was not stamped when I entered the US.” However, if you are already in the US on a tourist visa, you may be interested in reading our blog: Change of status from visitor visa to Green Card.

What Happens If I Don’t Know How To Stamp My Passport When Entering Or Leaving The United States?

In this case you do not have to do anything, because nothing will happen but, if you want to check the arrival or departure records, you can access Form I-94 online.

how to check my us arrival and departure record

This contains a record of arrivals and departures to the United States territory for the last 5 years. Of course, you must obtain it through the CBP website . Such form:

  • Is only available to foreigners;
  • Allows immigrants in the country to calculate how long they can stay.
  • Can be used by lawful permanent residents to find out if they meet the minimum stay to renew the Green Card or become a citizen.

Note: Keep airline tickets as evidence of your travel dates. If you enter by land from Mexico or Canada, you can use the exit stamp provided by your country of origin.

Do you already know how to dress for the citizenship interview? Keep in mind that there are certain criminal bars to citizenship.

When Is It Necessary To Stamp The Passport?

US airports no longer stamp passports upon entry. Instead, CBP generates an electronic record. It is essential to save screenshots of the I-94 of each entry, as it is the only official proof of entry.

Although the absence of a passport stamp may be disconcerting to some, it has no negative implications. In other words, the lack of a seal does not indicate that the arrival or departure has not been registered, since it is now digital.

That said, those who enter by land or sea are likely to receive a stamp. The same applies to travelers who are part of an exchange program, such as the J-1 visa.

How Long Did They Give Me To Stay In The United States?

Generally, you can only stay in the United States for a maximum period of 180 days or 6 months. Of course, if you entered the US with ESTA authorization, it will only be 90 days. In any case, to know how long you were allowed to stay in the country you must:

  1. Enter the official I-94 site.
  2. Select the “Get Most Recent I-94” option.
  3. Accept the conditions.
  4. Enter the following information: Name, date of birth and passport number.

If you have questions about how to verify the length of stay in the United States, consult with an immigration attorney at Lluis Law.

How To Check Arrivals And Departures From The USA?

united states passport stamps

Now that you know what happens if your passport is not stamped, it is important to know that if you leave the country on a commercial plane or cruise ship, it is not necessary to go through immigration. 

However, to check entries and exits from the United States, you only have to access the I-94 website. Once inside, you will be presented with several options, the third tells you your check-in and check-out.

Why Are Stamps No Longer Used In Passports In The United States?

US immigration authorities omit stamping passports to simplify and speed up the entry and exit process.

This is because technology has allowed the process to be digitized, so this is no longer necessary. 

Should My Passport Be Stamped When Leaving The United States?

Don’t expect them to, as passports are rarely stamped these days when entering or leaving the U. S. However, there are certain exceptions, such as travelers entering by land or sea. 

How Do I Register My Arrival and departure From The United States?

Not all individuals entering the US are required to complete paper forms. Below we will explain it in detail:

For Travel By Air Or Sea

Travelers entering the US by plane or ship generally will not be asked to fill out the paper form. It is for this reason that airlines and cruise ships stopped delivering these forms since 2013.

Once travelers enter the US, the CBP officer will review the passport and generate an electronic proof of entry. The CBP officer will tell travelers the date of admission, type of admission, and the date they can remain in the United States until.

Copy Of Form I-94 Or I-94W

To obtain a copy of Form I-94 or I-94W, you must request it:

  • During the inspection process at the port of entry, or
  • Through CBP electronic form I-94.
I entered the united states and my passport was not stamped

When departing the US, travelers who have a paper copy of Form I-94 must give it to the carrier representative or CBP personnel.

If you do not have a form when leaving the country, CBP will use the departure data recorded electronically by the personnel themselves or the maritime or air transportation company. 

For Land Travel

Land entries to the US require travelers to complete the electronic application for Form I-94 or I-94W. Once they leave the country, they must submit the paper form.

If Form I-94 is lost, damaged, or stolen, travelers must complete and submit a replacement Form I-102.

For detailed information on this, see the USCIS filing directions for Form I-102.

Steps To Register Departure If The I-94 Was Not Submitted When Leaving The United States

The steps to register departure in case of not submitting the I-94 are as follows:

  • For travel by air or sea. It can be verified through the transport company used. In these cases, foreigners do not need to take any further action. Of course, it is recommended to keep your boarding pass.
  • For travel by land, boat or private plane. Steps must be taken to correct the departure record as CBP could conclude that foreigners remained in the country longer than authorized. If this happens, authorities could cancel their visa or prevent them from entering the US.

Required Documentation

Foreigners who have an I-94 must send it with a letter explaining the situation. This letter must be in English. 

Additionally, foreigners can include any other documentation that demonstrates their departure from the US:

  • Photocopies of passport arrival or departure stamps indicating entry to another country after departure from the US;
  • Original boarding passes;
  • Photocopies of other documents such as:
    • Payment receipts from an employer showing that the foreign national worked in another country after leaving the US;
    • Bank records with transactions made by the foreigner when he was already in another country after leaving the US;
    • School records showing that the foreign national attended classes in another country after leaving the US;
    • Credit card receipts in the foreigner’s name showing purchases made in another country after leaving the US.

How To Process An I-94 Permit In The United States? 

As we have mentioned before, foreigners arriving by air or sea do not need to complete paper I-94 forms as CBP collects automatic arrival/departure information.

At the land border, travelers receive the I-94 electronically and will no longer receive a paper I-94. CBP recommends travelers who require the I-94 use the CBP One™ mobile app to request the form. 

When leaving the United States, travelers who have a paper I-94 permit must submit it to the commercial transportation company, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), or the CBP office.

Note: For travelers who received an electronic I-94 upon arrival by air, sea, or land and depart by land, your departure may not be accurately recorded. 

Documentation For Border Travel

Certain travelers who receive an I-94 when departing by land and re-entering the US must present evidence of their departure. This applies to those who are not residents of Canada or Mexico and their trip is to these two countries. 

That said, the evidence can be:

  • Transportation tickets,
  • Entry stamps in the passport, 
  • Pay stubs and/or other receipts.

Travelers can request an arrival stamp from:

  1. The CBSA office upon entering Canada, or 
  2. The National Migration Institute (INM) when entering Mexico. 

If you do not do this, when departing by air or sea, CBP will record the departure electronically through the information provided by the carrier.

Are There Places Where They Stamp Your Passport?

There are places where they stamp the passport and others do not. For example, in Hong Kong and Australia they do not stamp the passport at arrival or departure. 

However, when entering the Schengen Area with a non-European passport, they only stamp at the entrances and exits of the community area. There are also certain countries that although they can stamp a passport upon entry, they do not do so upon exit. These are: 

  • Mexico,
  • Canada, 
  • United Kingdom, 
  • United States, and 
  • Other countries.

If a foreigner’s country has an agreement with other nations, they may only need to go through a passport reading machine.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Passport Stamping Process

stamps in us passports

Will It Affect My Visa Extension If My Passport Was Not Stamped When I entered The USA?

No, if you arrived in the United States and your passport was not stamped, you should have no problems extending your visa (as long as you have an electronic I-94 record).

Can The I-94 Record Be Used To Renew A Visa?

Yes, the I-94 record can be used to renew an American visa. Additionally, nonimmigrants can also use valid Form I-94 for automatic renewals.

For What Reasons Can I Be Denied Entry To The US?

CBP can deny entry to the US to any foreign national, even if they have a valid visa. The reasons may be criminal records, inappropriate documents, or failure to cooperate with airport officials. 

Will I Be Denied Re-Entry Into The United States If My Passport Was Not Stamped The Last Time I Entered The Country?

If you entered the US and did not have your passport stamped or did not stamp it upon exit, CBP will not deny you re-entry because of this. The latest I-94 record will be the primary proof of your previous entry and stay in the US.

How Can Lluis Law Help Me If My Passport Was Not Stamped When Entering The United States?

Now that you know the answer to the question raised, you can travel safely with your tourist visa for the United StatesQ visa or any other visa that is eligible to enter the US. 

Currently, entering and leaving the USA no longer requires a stamp in the passport, since everything is digitized. 

If you have questions about how to check your arrivals and departures from the USA or the length of your stay in the country, contact our firm. 

Through a personalized consultation, we can help you with all types of immigration procedures.


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