How long are your records of visa issuance, arrival and departure from the US kept on file?

At least five years.

The Department of Homeland Security – through the Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP)– says your five-year record of arrivals and departures are available online. 

In an announcement before Philippine Labor Day, the CBP says nonimmigrants – example, tourists, students, workers, business persons – could access arrival/departure records going back from the request date.  The program has been in place since April 2013.

“This electronic travel-history function from the CBP web page “means that travelers may no longer need to file Freedom of Information Act requests to receive their arrival/departure history, greatly speeding their process. Travelers will have electronic access to the date and port of entry of their arrivals and departures.”

The online service was initiated to facilitate requests for records through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)  process saving administrative time and resources.

What if you are requesting records of your arrival ten years from the date the online access became available?  You can make a paper request application on Form I-102 (Application for Replacement/Initial Non-immigrant Arrival Departure Document).

If you have inadvertently forgot to return your I-94 and it remains stapled to your passport, it would be wise to return it to the CBP together with evidence that you returned to the Philippines within the period of your authorized stay in the United States. Otherwise, your record could mean that you have “arrived” but have not “departed” from the US.  A copy of your passport page with the arrival stamp from Philippine immigration, a copy of your ticket and boarding pass would also be useful.

How long do the DHS and the Embassy keep your record on file?  Visas issued have control numbers and are therefore on record; same with visa refusals, especially if you either have been asked to submit additional document and you failed to do so, or your visa application was refused based on suspicion of misrepresentation, fraud or dubious documentation such as falsified bank statements or income tax returns.

Not disclosing a previous visa application – especially a denial – could be a basis for permanent bar or inadmissibility.

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