We were supposed to fly back to Canada on April 13, 2018 but because we already bought a house and we're just waiting for September so we could move in, we decided to just extend our stay here in the Philippines. Tutal nandito na rin lang kami. You see, Nathan doesn't want to go back to Canada na hehe. He loves it here, where there's so much space for him to play and lots of people to "entertain" him. Ako naman ayaw ko ng bumalik sa apartment namin haha. Kung pwede nga lang bang sa August na kami bumalik sa Canada eh, kaso I can't stay here longer than six months. Si husband naman, though miss na miss na ang anak, naisip that he'll be able to save a lot pa in the two months that we'll extend here kaya pumayag na rin. Marami kasi kaming gastos na haharapin come September kaya kailangan magtipid lol.
Anyway, after rebooking our return flight (na walang any fees, fortunately!), Ford reminded me to surrender the Form I-94 that's been stapled on my passport. Kasi nga May 3, 2018 ang expiration kaya hindi na ako aabot. Kaloka, it took me a month to mail it kasi tinamad talaga akong gawin.
Ooops by the way, ang US Customs and Border Protection Form I-94 (or Arrival/Departure Record) is issued to tourists entering the US via land border ports of entry.
If you live in British Columbia, para kasing part na talaga ng buhay mo ang regular na pagko-crossborder sa Washington. Ang dali lang if you are a Canadian citizen kasi dadaan ka lang sa toll booths tapos ipapakita ang passport mo. But for Canadian permanent residents, medyo hassle ng kaunti. Kasi every 6 months, we would have to go through the immigration process pa and pay USD6.00 fee. Sa immigration, may konting interview portion tapos picture-taking and finger printing churvah. Then they will issue na an I-94 that is valid for 6 months. Kapag meron kang ng valid na I-94 sa passport mo, next time na magcrossborder ka eh dadaan ka na lang din sa booth at hindi na bababa. My husband (who is a Canadian citizen already) would always tease me na ang hassle ko raw isama sa US kasi nga kelangan pang dumaan sa immigration at magbayad. Liability daw ako lol!
Anyway, my recent I-94 was issued on November 4, 2017 when we went to California to visit my in-laws. We crossed the border kasi sa Seattle-Tacoma International Airport kami lumipad. Ang mahal kasi kung sa Vancouver Airpot kasi bale international flight na yun, tapos tatlo pa kami. Kaya sulit na rin kahit na magdrive kami ng 2 1/2 hours going to Seattle dahil malaki talaga ang natipid namin.
We went back to Canada on November 14, 2018 and hindi na uli kami nakabalik ng US after that kaya nasa akin pa ang I-94 ko. We thought of returning it talaga pagbalik sana namin ni Nathan sa Canada by April, kaso nga hindi na aabot dahil sa vacation extension namin dito.
So to correct my records in their system at nang hindi ako maka-experience ng problema sa future travels ko in the US, ayun nga at binalik ko na sa kanila yung Form I-94 via registered mail (na binayaran ko ng Php175.00). Sana makarating huhu.
Nga pala, I wrote a letter to them explaining my situation (kung bakit nasa akin pa nga yung I-94) together with some "evidences" of my departure in the US. Kailangan talaga ng proper documentation. In my case, ang pinaka-strong evidence ko ay yung boarding passes ng flights ko (pauwi dito last January) at yung stamp of arrival in the Philippines sa passport. Enough proof na siguro yun na hindi ako nag-overstay in the US.
I kept a copy of the letter and documents that I mailed to them that I will bring the next time we cross the border. Naku, kakabahan ako for sure. Sana walang maging problema kasi sa Seattle (Tukwila) lang may Jollibee na malapit, I cannot live long without chickenjoy.