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How Can I Easily Go Back and Find All Of My Travel Records?

13 May

Do you need to figure out how many days you spent in the United States in a given year? It is easier than you think. In early 2013, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency started a program to automate the collection of data for non-immigrants who enter the U.S. The data was historically collected in a paper form, the I-94, and the program to automate the data collection was meant to save money and time as well as provide a more accurate record of the non-American residents who enter and leave the U.S. legally.

For many non-Americans, their relationship with the U.S. may change in a variety of ways whereby they need to produce a record of the exact number of days when they were in the U.S. over a given number of years. Some non-Americans find themselves wanting or needing to file a 1040NR (non-resident) tax return; in many cases to claim a treaty position or to get a refund. In other cases, a visitor to the U.S. may now be applying for a Green Card or a visa that will allow them to live in the U.S. for a period of time due to employment, education or for other purposes.

Many applications to the U.S. government for visas as well as the filing of a 1040NR tax return require the applicant to state precisely when they were in the U.S. In other cases, a taxpayer may need to file an 8840 form, for example, to show a closer connection to another country even if they spent a considerable amount of time in the U.S. If this information is not presented accurately it could cause delays or rejections in visa applications or challenges to a position taken on a tax return.

Now, perhaps you are working with a tax preparer, immigration attorney or other professional who has asked you for these records (because they are completing the paperwork for you) and you think, “How can I easily go back and find all of my travel records?” Perhaps you will be advised to look at the stamps on your passport, or check your frequent-flyer account online, or look at your calendar to try to determine the precise number of days. Well, there is an easier way.

If you need this information, you need to have the following: your first and last name, your full date of birth, your passport number, and the country of issuance of your passport. Next, go to this link at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) website and in just a couple of minutes you will be looking at the complete record of your travel history to the U.S. For more information on the I-94 form you can go to the CBP instructions page.

The CBP database provides you with your most recent I-94 admission record including the port of entry, and this can be used as evidence of lawful admission into the U.S. The website will also provide a five-year travel history containing the arrival and departure date for a given passport number. It’s possible in some cases that your travel records don’t appear in the CBP system, but you can check out the CBP FAQs for more info.

For all kinds of additional useful information about traveling to the U.S., whether you are a U.S. citizen or an international visitor, you can visit cbp.gov/travel.

So, the next time you need to produce records of your travel into and out of the U.S., the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency has done most of the work for you. Though remember, they only keep up to five years of history available online.

http://blogs.wsj.com/expat/2016/05/12/how-can-i-easily-go-back-and-find-all-of-my-travel-records/