CBP Moving Away from Paper I-94 Cards to Electronic Records
CBP has announced that they will be moving away from issuing paper I-94 cards and will transition to a fully electronic and automated process to collect the arrival/departure information. Following 9/11, most biographic information on passengers is already collected in advance through CBP’s Advance Passenger Information System (APIS). The electronic system is projected to save money, time, and eliminate unnecessary paperwork for both the government and carriers. All passports will continue to be stamped.
CBP recognizes that foreign nationals in the U.S. often need their I-94 card information for other matters, such as completing employment eligibility verification (Form I-9), applying for immigration benefits, or to present to a university to verify eligibility for enrollment. Therefore, travelers will be able to access their travel/departure record online and print out copies if required. The electronic I-94 records will go back for up to two years and will provide more personal security than a paper document. In making this transition, CBP will continue to work with government and private stakeholders on this matter to ensure they are prepared for the acceptance of the electronic Form I-94.
The Current I-94 Card Process
Currently, a paper Form I-94 (view a sample here) is issued to certain nonimmigrants upon their arrival to the U.S. It is used for various purposes such as documenting lawful status, and communicating the approved length of stay and date the person must depart the U.S. Land and sea carriers distribute I-94 forms to all foreign crew and passengers to complete while en route to the U.S. The visitor then presents the completed I-94 form to a Customs & Border Officer at inspection. The CBP officer detaches and staples the bottom portion of the form to the passport, and sends the top portion of the form to a data entry facility where the information is entered into the CBP’s computer system. Most visitors keep the bottom portion of the form with their passport until they depart the U.S.
Berardi Immigration Law remains current with all issues impacting border crossing into the U.S. as well as other immigration matters. If you would like to speak with one of our Immigration Lawyers, contact us to schedule a consultation.
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