Access Your "Travel" I-94 Record

Travel I-94s

There are two types of I-94 records.  They are both I-94s  they control your "stay" in the USA but they are obtained in different ways. Please see our explanation of what an I-94 record is here

To find your travel I-94 record, please read the instructions below under "Air Travel" (if you entered the US by airplane) or "Land Travel" (if you entered the US by land).

Air Travel

If you entered the US on an airplane from another country, you must access the electronic record (I-94) that was created at the moment you physically entered the USA. This moment is called "admission". (By the way, the conversation you had with a Customs and Immigration officer at the airport or land crossing prior to arriving in the USA the "port of entry" is called your "inspection").

  1. Go to the website for the US government agency called Customs and Border Protection, which is responsible for conducting inspections and managing admissions, at
  2. At the bottom of the box titled "Already Visiting & Need Proof of Visitor Status," click on the blue box called "GET MOST RECENT I-94."
  3. A pop-up screen will appear with the government's terms of service. You may read these over. In general, individuals should access the government's I-94 website to access only their own records. (But as a reminder, as part of the eforms you submitted to our office, you agreed to permit team members within the ISS office access the I-94 system on your behalf, as needed during your visit.) Click "I ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE" to move to the next window.
  4. Enter the following information:
    • Your first name and last name. The way you enter your name should align with (a) the way your name is presented in the passport you used to enter the USA, and (b) the way you presented your name when the flight was purchased. This is because airlines are responsible for providing the initial information to the US government about arriving foreign travelers. The information from the airline flight manifest often determines how your name will appear in the government's I-94 system
    • Your birthdate
    • The passport number and country of citizenship of the passport you presented during admission
    • Then click "NEXT"
  5. The next screen should show the most recent "travel" I-94 record for you. Please provide this during your check-in (see below), either as a PDF on your computer/phone, or as a paper printout. It is also fine to photograph the I-94 information with your mobile phone and supply that photo during your check-in. Finally, if that also is not possible, the PISA (Purdue International Scholar Assistance) team is happy to provide you with a print or electronic copy of this for you during or prior to checkin. 

Land Travel

If you enter the USA at a land crossing, you might receive either a paper I-94 record (hand-written by a government officer), or you might not receive any I-94 record at all. Since I-94 records are extremely important to demonstrate permission to work or research, if you are entering the USA in H-1B, J-1, E-3, TN or O-1 status, we recommend ensuring that you are issued an I-94 record during admission, either electronically or in paper form. You might need to park your car and enter into the Inspection Building to get the record. 

Things to remember 

The government is staffed by humans, and humans can make mistakes. The flight manifests that provide information to the government system often have data errors, also.

BUT if an error is made on the I-94 record, the consequence affects you, not the person who made the mistake.

An error on your I-94 record can prevent you from completing necessary onboarding steps (if you are being employed by Purdue), prevent Purdue from paying wages to you, or even place you in unauthorized status so that Purdue needs to stop you from engaging in the activitities you are visiting Purdue to perform. 

Therefore, it is incredibly important to access and read the electronic I-94 record every time you re-enter the USA. Every time you re-enter the USA, you should access the electronic I-94 record and verify that it is accurate. If you are traveling with family, you should also check each traveling family member's I-94 record too.

PISA is happy to assist and show you how to access the government's I-94 system, but ultimately, you need to be comfortable with the process of accessing your I-94 record. 

If there is a mistake in the I-94 

Because the I-94 record is your personal admission record, the government expects you to request correction of errors within the record. Fortunately, the government is very responsive to requests for corrections. 

  1. Draft an email that explains exactly what happened. We recommend the following format:
    • "I am [NAME]. I entered the USA on [DATE]. I am arriving to visit/work/research at Purdue University. The dates I am supposed to be here are [START DATE] through to [END DATE]. I presented the following documents during admission: [LIST] (for example, my passport, my J-1 visa, my DS-2019, etc; OR ALTERNATIVELY my passport, my Form I-797 approval, and my H-1B visa). The officer placed a stamp in my passport that lists [EXPLAIN] (for example - B-1 or F-1, etc.). My electronic I-94 record shows [INCORRECT INFORMATION]. I respectfully request that the incorrect information, namely the [WHAT] be corrected to [THE NEEDED INFORMATION].
  2. Attach the evidence. Please note that Purdue generally discourages emailing documents or images that contain "personally identifying information." However, this is the only way the government will process a request to correct an I-94 error. The government's instructions say you must attach the following items to the email in PDF format only, and without password encryption or security.
    • Your passport biographic page(s)
    • The visa foil (visa stamp) you presented during admission (presumably, showing one of the following classifications: J-1, H-1B, H-1B1, E-3, TN, or O-1)
    • The paperwork sent to you by ISS: DS-2019, DS-7002 and/or I-797, depending on your situation
    • Your permanent address in the USA. If you do not yet have a permanent address, list the address where you are staying.
  3. Send the email to This goes to the local Indianapolis Customs and Border Protection agency. You may send this email to them if you are on one of Purdue's Indiana campuses, regardless of where you actually entered the USA. (Individuals at PNW might prefer to send their correction requests to Chicago O'Hare - please email if you have questions about this.) We recommend that you CC yourself to the email to confirm that it sends.
  4. Watch for the email confirmation. You will receive a confirmation email from CBP reasonably quickly (within a day or so). The local CBP office asks for 2-4 weeks to process the correction. As noted, an erroneous I-94 record might create a situation where Purdue is required (by law) to take certain actions, or to limit your actions on campus. It is very important that you request an I-94 correction as soon as possible, to show that you are making all reasonable efforts to obtain an accurate I-94 record. In rare circumstances, the CBP might ask that you go to Indianapolis to meet with them to correct the record.
  5. Download your corrected record. Once you receive email confirmation the record has been corrected, please go to the I-94 website again ( and download your record.

If you want to talk with an International Scholar Services counselor before requesting the correction, please check our availability here.

Complete Your Check-in

J-1 Scholars

All arriving J-1 Scholars must check-in with International Scholar Services to verify their arrival. This is the law. 

The check-in procedure is 

  • Submit your Visa and Travel Plans. Before you arrive on campus, if you are traveling to the USA from another country, you will receive an email with a link to complete some eforms in MyISS relating to "Visa and Travel Plans." This includes information about the issued visa, flight plans, health insurance, and the DS-2019 signed by the consular office. We recommend that you complete these eforms as each task/document is completed, so that all eforms are finished before you arrive in the USA.
  • Watch for your check-in scheduling email. The Purdue International Scholar Assistance (PISA) team will email you to schedule your check-in. You will not receive this email until you submit your Visa and Travel Plans, and they have been approved.
  • Use the email link to schedule your check-in. After you receive the scheduling email, book an appointment with them for check-in as soon as possible following your physical arrival in the USA.
  • Bring the requested items to your check-in appointment. Your appointment will take place at the scheduled time. Check-in appointments are at 155 S. Grant Street, Fifth Floor, by appointment only. Bring these to your check-in appointment 
    • Your passport
    • Your fully signed DS-2019 and DS-7002 (if you are a student intern)
    • A PDF or printout of your "travel" I-94 record (if you have found it)
    • Your US residential address and phone number

H-1B, H-1B1, E-3, TN and O-1 Workers

All arriving foreign workers must check-in with International Scholar Services to verify their arrival. 

The procedure consists of two parts:

  1. You will receive an email with a hyperlink to an "Arrival and Stay" eform. You must submit your current information to our office using this eform, including your PUID, Purdue email, residential address and other details, and all immigration paperwork. Your ability to continue accessing MyISS the main way of communicating with our office depends on our having current and accurate information for you.
  2. When the Arrival and Stay eform is complete, you must schedule to attend a virtual, live orientation meeting. You may schedule for that orientation meeting here. In that meeting, we review the rules relating to what you may do in the USA, what you may not do in the USA, and other things you need to do to maintain your status. 

Employees Only: Attend Your I-9 Employment Verification Meeting

If you are employed by Purdue University, your Department's business office must verify your employment eligibility using a government Form I-9. This is a legal requirement. There are strict deadlines on this task. (Visiting Scholars do NOT complete this task!)

Information about the I-9 Employment Verification process is here.

Usually, there are two parts to this process 

  1. Your identity must be verified. The business office must compare you-in-person to the image of you on a "reliable" document such as a passport or driver's license. The law restricts which documents can be used to verify identity.
  2. Your ability to engage in your work must be verified. The business office must ensure that your "status" in the USA (the rights assigned to you during physical admission to the USA, or during USCIS petition approval)
    • is a status to permits professional or research activities, and
    • is the same as the status that the US government's database thinks you hold.

Most visa-holders (people who hold visas such as J-1 Research Scholar, J-1 Professor, J-1 Short-Term Scholar, J-1 Student Intern, J-1 Specialist, H-1B, H-1B1, E-3, TN or O-1) meet the I-9 requirement by providing an unexpired passport and their current I-94 record. 

Obtain Your Purdue ID Card

Everyone with Purdue privileges (faculty, staff, postdocs, and visiting scholars) are eligible for a Purdue University Identification Document (PUID). Purdue's Card Operations office is responsible for this.

If you hold J-1 visa status, you MUST check-in with our office before you attempt to obtain a PUID. Employees holding H-1B (H-1B1), E-3, TN or O-1 status do not need to check-in with ISS first. 

Social Security Card

What is a Social Security Number?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is the government agency responsible for administering several social insurance programs and issuing social security numbers (SSNs). An SSN is a unique, 9-digit identification number used for many purposes including employer payroll, tax, and credit history. United States employers are required to report any wages earned by an employee to the SSA using the employee’s SSN; therefore, all United States employees must have an SSN. 

If Purdue University employs you, you must obtain an SSN. 

For more general information about the SSA, please visit their website at For information about foreign workers and Social Security Numbers, click here

Do You Need a Social Security Number?

Typically, you only need an SSN if you will be employed in the United States. Dependents of scholars are not eligible for an SSN unless they obtain work authorization from the government. 

However, many US organizations use SSNs to confirm credit history, such as cell phone companies, rental companies, and banks. If you do not have an SSN and you are asked for an SSN in order to check your credit history, explain that you are ineligible for an SSN and ask how you can apply for their services without one. 

If an organization asks you to prove that you are ineligible for an SSN, the SSA can provide you with a “Letter of Social Security Number Ineligibility” that you can use as proof of ineligibility. If you plan to apply for an Indiana driver’s license with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV) without an SSN, you will need this document.

How to Apply for a Social Security Number

  1. Wait 24 hours after check-in. Do not begin the process of applying for an SSN until AT LEAST 24 hours after receiving e-checkin approval.
  2. Set up an SSA appointment. Call your local SSA field office to set up an appointment at 1-888-884-0522. You may also call their National 800 Number for additional assistance at 1-800-772-1213 if you require a translator.
  3. Prepare your required identity documents. Bring these documents to your appointment 
    • Unexpired passport with admission stamp and visa
    • Offer/Appointment letter from your Purdue department
  4. Prepare your required immigration paperwork. You must bring additional documents depending on your status 
    • J-1 Exchange Visitors must bring DS-2019 form
    • J-1 Visiting Undergraduate Students also must bring a letter from the International Scholar Services team confirming your authorization to work. To obtain this letter, email
    • H-1B workers must bring their original I-797 H-1B approval notice
    • Admission document: I-94 printed from the online site:
  5. Prepare Form SS-5. Find this form at the online site: In general, you should type the information fillable form PDF. Individually handwritten forms are sometimes hard to read. You can also ask the SSA Officer during your appointment to help you fill out the form.
  6. Attend your appointment with your documents. The Lafayette SSA office is located at 10 S. Second Street, Lafayette, Indiana 47901.
  7. Watch for your SSN card to arrive in the mail. You should receive the SSN card within 2 weeks after your appointment at the address you provided on the application form. If additional security procedures are necessary, processing times may range from 4-8 weeks. Once you have received your SSN card, please present the card to your department’s business office.

Obtaining a Letter of Social Security Ineligibility

If you are not employed by a US organization in the United States, you cannot obtain an SSN. However, you may obtain a Letter of Social Security Number Ineligibility. This document acts as proof of SSN ineligibility and can be used to apply for an Indiana Driver’s License. 

To obtain a Letter of Social Security Number Ineligibility, fill out the application for an SSN (form SS-5) and write the word “WAIVER” at the top of the page. Send this application, along with a photocopy of your passport main page and your DS-2019/I-20/H1-B approval notice, to the Lafayette SSA office. You can either do this via mail or via their drop box located at their office during normal business hours. Their address is 10 S. Second Street, Lafayette, Indiana 47901.

Social Security Numbers and Identity Theft

Keep your Social Security Number private and secure. Simply by knowing your SSN, an identity thief might access your bank accounts, take out loans in your name, or take other adverse actions. Tips to keep your SSN and identity safe 

  • DO avoid giving out your SSN to anyone other than trusted sources
  • DO shred mail and documents displaying your SSN after their use
  • DO NOT keep your SSN card in your wallet or purse
  • DO NOT use your SSN as a password
  • DO NOT give your SSN to phone scammers. You may receive phone calls from identity thieves pretending to be an SSA officer. The SSA will rarely call you, unless they provide you with a notice in advance. If the SSA does need to contact you, they will send you a letter in the mail. You can also always contact your local office at 1-888-884-0522 or visit your SSA online account at to verify if the SSA is trying to contact you.

For more information on how to protect your identity, please see the SSA publication “Identity Theft and Your Social Security Number” here: 


See also this SSA publication: 
More info from SSA available on
SSA Office Locator: 

Indiana Driver's Licenses

The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicle (BMV) is the state government agency responsible for regulating vehicles and licensing drivers. This is the bureau where you can apply for a driver’s license, driver’s permit, or Indiana state ID card.

  • Driver’s License: A card that permits a person to drive a car in the United States
  • Learner’s Permit: A card that permits a person over the age of 18 who has never had a license beforeto practice driving only when a licensed driver over the age of 25 is in the front seat of the car withthem. After holding the learner’s permit for 180 days, you may apply for a permanent driver’s license.
  • Indiana State ID: A card that does not permit a person to drive a card, but can be used as a form of ID in most situations.

These cards are often seen as the “standard” form of identification within the US and act as proof of identity in most situations. Exchange visitors are not required to apply for any of these cards, but it is something you might want to do, especially if you plan to drive within the US.

Bureau of Motor Vehicle Offices

The BMV office located in the greater Lafayette area is at:

Lafayette BMV
2200 Elmwood Ave, Suite A6
Lafayette, IN
Phone: 888-692-6841

For more information about the Indiana BMV, visit their website at 

Three Different “Routes” to Driving Legally in the US

Before arriving in the US, think about whether you intend to drive during your time here. If you wish to drive, you might be interested in an international driving permit. An international driving permit is a document you can obtain in your home country before you arrive in the US. It translates your current driver’s license into 10 different languages.

There are three different paths to driving legally within the US, depending on your situation:

Valid, unexpired home country driver’s license AND an official international driving permit

  • You are permitted to drive within the US for one year with these documents.
  • You must have both documents while you are driving.

Valid, unexpired home country driver’s license but NO international driving permit

  • You must apply for a driver's license in Indiana if you will be driving here for more than 30 days. Follow the instructions below for “Obtaining your Indiana Driver’s License”.
  • To apply, you need an official translation of your driver’s license if it is not already in English. The translation must be typed on a separate page and on the letterhead of a government entity, accredited educational institution, or translation agency. The translation must include a signed statement from the translator indicating that the translation is complete and accurate, attest to his or her competence as a translator, and state that the document has not been translated for a family member, friend, or business associate. Visit your BMV and follow the instructions under “Obtaining your Indiana Driver’s License” below.
  • See the section titled “Out-of-Country Licenses” at the bottom of the BMV’s Website for more information.

NO driver’s license from your home country

You will first need to obtain a learner’s permit from the BMV. Follow the same instructions listed under “Obtaining your Indiana Driver’s License” below. Instead of receiving a driver’s license, you will receive a learner’s permit. This permit allows you drive when a licensed driver over the age of 25 is in the front seat with you. After holding this permit for 180 days, you can apply for a permanent driver’s license.

Obtaining Your First Indiana Driver’s License

  1. Wait until your start date. You must wait until the DS-2019/Form I-797 start date before trying to apply for a license. The BMV cannot issue licenses until on or after the status start date.
  2. Prepare for the written knowledge exam. Review the Driver's Manual ( before attempting the exam.
  3. Collect your documents. You need the following documents  
    • Unexpired passport (with visa)
    • Printout of electronic I-94 Admission record from
    • Current Form DS-2019 or I-797 H-1B Approval
    • Social Security Card or Letter of Social Security Number Ineligibility (see section on Social Security)
    • Two documents with your name and address that prove your residency in Indiana, e.g. utility bill, bank statement, official transcript, lease, etc.
    • Driver’s license from your home country and an official translation into English, if applicable. An international driving permit serves as a translation.
  4. Schedule an appointment with the BMV. If you plan to take the driving test, you must schedule an appointment by visiting the BMV website or by calling 888-692-6841.
  5. Go to your BMV appointment. At the BMV you will  
    • Present the documents listed above
    • Take a written knowledge test
    • Complete a vision screening test
    • Take a driving skills test in a vehicle you bring with you. The BMV will not provide a vehicle for your test. You must arrive at least one hour before the office closes in order to take the test. If you are applying for a learner’s permit, you do not need to take the driving skills test at this time, but will be required to take the test to apply for a permanent driver license after the 180-day waiting period.
  6. If you pass all of your exams, the BMV will give you a temporary 30-day license. After the office completes full verification of your US lawful presence, they will mail your new driver’s license or learner’s permit to you.
For more information about obtaining a driver’s license, visit the BMV website at

Obtaining Your First Indiana State ID

If you do not intend to drive while in the US, but would prefer to have an alternate ID that you can use instead of your passport, you can apply for an Indiana State ID through the BMV. To apply, take the same documents listed under the “Obtaining an Indiana Driver’s License” to the BMV and request a state ID. You do not need to take the written knowledge, vision screening, or driving skills tests to apply for this card.

For more information about the Indiana State ID, click