Soft landed @ Peace arch (i94 question)

We completed our landing procedures yesterday at peace arch in WA. Overall a very smooth experience. I’ll type up a separate post for my experience with soft landing at peace arch soon!

I am on H1 and wife on H4; both with expired visas and valid i797s.

We used AVR to return back. And it was very quick! The officer just scanned our passports and looked at our i797s. That’s really it. They didn’t give us any new i94s, but when asked about it — they pointed to our i94s in our I797 and said those are the new ones.

Note that the online i94 hasn’t updated but the travel history has.

Has anyone seen this situation before? Is this expected at a border crossing while using AVR?

I did land crossing with same scenario as you, expired Visas and valid i797s. And visa officer also did not give me new i94 or update online.

And similarly when I asked for i94, he pointed me to the i94 on 797s.

@usa2canada Oh, I see. So seems like it’s pretty common practice. You mentioned you’ve used AVR multiple times. Have they never issued a new I94 and never updated the online one? Just asked you to use the paper I94 in I797?

I also read experiences of @sasikbandi and @basky where they weren’t issue new I94s as well. Did y’alls online I94 record ever update in that case OR is it the same as before?

No. They never issued me a new i94 and it still shows the old one online.
And yes officer asked to use the i94 on 797.

hello @ameha - We are planning to do soft landing next week via road, i.e. we will be crossing the border in the car and be back the same day.

I was wondering:

  1. If you stayed in canada for more than 14 days?

  2. If you filled the Arrive Canada app and if so, what did you enter in the Arrive Can app for quarantine section.

Your feedback is very much appreciated. Thank you!

:wave: @shwitzu

  • We did not stay in Canada for 14 days. There is no need to quarantine if you have vaccination proof and a negative Covid test taken within 72 hours of entry.

  • One surprise was that the border agent did ask us to take a random covid test even though we had vaxx cards and our own covid test. But they were clear that they didn’t expect us to stay over and were okay with us returning back on the same day.

  • We did fill up ArriveCAN on the day of travel. We added our proof of vaccination and other details. We also added our friends address as quarantine address — as a fallback.

@ameha , thank you for sharing your experience. It’s helpful.

My spouse’s H-4 visa application was recently approved and we are contemplating doing our soft landing sometime next month. We haven’t received a physical copy of the official I-797 approval, but we do have a soft copy of the notice.

My spouse has an expired F-1 visa on the passport and the approval notice has a I-94 expiry in July 2022. Based on this scenario, can we travel back to the US using AVR?

@j9lad this is not legal advice — so take it with caution — but I’d play safe here.

As far as I know, they need official copies of i797 and the i94 in it. So, I’d just wait for the approval to land in your hands.

Yes, makes sense. Thank you. We do plan to wait for the official notice to land in our mailbox.

However, with the scenario of a valid I-94 and an approved H-4 I-797 notice, we’d be eligible for an AVR return without going through the visa stamping process?