I-94 Card Automation Underway

Contributed by Jacqueline Lentini McCullough

On April 30, 2013, Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) began automating the issuance of Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record for foreign nationals entering the United States by eliminating the paper form I-94. The form I-94 will be available in an electronic format for foreign national nonimmigrants arriving by air and sea, and does not apply to individuals seeking admission at land border crossings. At the time of entry, CBP will provide each traveler with an admission stamp in the passport that shows the date of admission, class of admission and admitted-until date. CBP already follows the automated I-94 card process for travelers entering the U.S. pursuant to the Visa Waiver Program.

Travelers will still be able to obtain their admission number and electronic I-94 record through the website. In order to retrieve an I-94 admission number, the applicant will need to enter the following information: full legal name, birth date, passport number, country of issuance, date of entry and class of admission.  Different versions of Form I-94 will still be issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), for instance on extension of status petitions and change of status applications.  Additionally, both the electronic and paper versions of Form I-94 are acceptable for Form I-9 purposes.

Chicago O’Hare Airport has already implemented the new I-94 procedure as of April 30, 2013.

CBP cites two reasons for automating the Form I-94. The data is already available through the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS), and the Department of State’s DS 160 application. Secondly, CBP will save time and money through the automation of the admissions process for nonimmigrant foreign nationals arriving at air and sea ports.