U.S. Customs and Border Protection has started to implement Automated Form I-94, Arrival/ Departure: What you should know?

(Newsletter Vol. XXIII, no. 08, May 23, 2013, Issue No. 2)

Last month we published an article about the newly implemented automated Form I-94, Arrival/ Departure Record for international travelers. Beginning April 30, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) began implementing the automated Form I-94 for travelers entering the United States via air and sea ports of entry (POEs). The paper form is substituted with a passport stamp and an electronic record. This change has already began at major airports. At those POEs international visitors will no longer have to complete the form before arriving at the airport. The electronic record of admission may be accessed by a nonimmigrant alien at www.cbp.gov/I94. Foreign visitors will continue to receive the paper Form I-94 until the automated process arrives at their port of entry. Aliens arriving at a land border will continue to receive a paper form I-94 from CBP.

CBP will contine to provide paper Form- I-94 for certain aliens 

The CBP will continue to provide a paper Form I–94 to those who request such form, as well as to certain classes of aliens, such as certain refugees, asylees, and parolees, and whenever CBP determines the issuance of the paper form is appropriate. For these individuals arriving by air and sea carriers, an electronic Form I-94 will also be created. CBP will continue to stamp travelers’ passports at the time of inspection and any admission or parole and will annotate the stamp with the class and duration of admission or parole.

CBP will provide a tear sheet 

CBP will distribute a tear sheet (a flyer) to each alien who is issued an electronic Form I-94 at the time of inspection with information about the Website and the procedures for obtaining a printout.

Reasons to print a Form I-94 after admission

There is no legal requirement that a nonimmigrant alien access and print out a record of admission found at www.cbp.gov/I94 in order to prove lawful admission and maintenance of status in the U.S. The electronic record or the passport stamp issued by CBP should be sufficient to establish lawful status for nonimmigrant aliens and parolees. For a number of reasons, however, visiting the CBP website to access the electronic record and printing a record of admission would likely be the best practice. Nonimmigrant aliens should consider the following:

  • Print out I-94 entry records through the CBP website. Multiple copies are recommended.  A paper print out may facilitate applications for benefits, such as driver’s license or social security card.
  • A copy should be given to the employer.
  • Aliens planning to utilize the automatic visa revalidation process may find it useful to carry a paper Form I-94 as a backup document in the event that CBP officers cannot access the electronic record of admission due to a systems failure at the time the alien seeks re-admission to the U.S. In some cases, CBP officers may not understand or apply the automatic visa revalidation provisions, therefore printing a copy of the CBP FAQ web page to be presented as an optional education tool for the CBP officer also is prudent.
  • To complete the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, a paper print out of Form I-94 may need to be presented to employer.

How to correct information and errors on electronic I-94 record ? 

If an individual cannot locate a record at www.cbp.gov/I94 or if the information at that site does not correlate with the passport stamp and written notation of class and term of admission made by CBP at the porty of entry, be sure to verify that the individual entered the correct name as it appears in the passport, passport number etc. The CBP I-94 FAQ page  instructs individuals to enter the first and last names as they appear on the “travel document” used to gain admission to the U.S., that is, the name on the passport, rather than the visa, is required to access a record of admission.

If a nonimmigrant alien, refugee, or parolee could not access the record of admisson online or found a discrepancy between the electronic record and the notation in the individual’s passport, immidiately contact CBP through their inspection offices. The deferred inspection officers will continue to be the port of contact for resolving admission errors.

If the inspection office is unable to resolve the issue, report this problem to our office. We might be able to liaison with CBP to resolve the issue.