New I-94 Procedure at the Border
CBP has announced the implementation of a new procedure which will take the place of the physical I-94 card you currently receive at the border. Instead of receiving a physical card, the arrival/departure process is now automated. Foriegn nationals will now only receive an entry (or admission) stamp in their passport which will include the entry date, class of admission (or status) and the expiration date. You can now print your I-94 in an electronic format at www.cbp.gov/I94.
- The previous Form I-94 was a small, white card often stapled into the passport. It serves as evidence of a lawful admission and “alien registration” for foreign nationals. Those entering by land may still receive the paper card.
- Form I-94 lists the person’s immigration category, the port of entry, the date of entry into the U.S., the expiration of their stay, and a unique 11-digit identifying number on top.
The new automated system will be implemented in four stages at U.S. air and sea ports starting on April 30, 2013.
- The first week, paper Forms I-94 will be eliminated at the following international airports: Charlotte, Orlando, Las Vegas, Miami and Chicago O’Hare.
- The second week will continue at major air and sea ports in New York, Boston, Buffalo, Baltimore, Atlanta, Detroit, Tampa, Puerto Rico, New Orleans and Houston.
- The third week will continue at major air and sea ports at pre-clearance, San Francisco, Hawaii, Guam, El Paso, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, San Diego and Laredo.
- As of fourth week, CBP will institute these procedures at all remaining air and sea ports.
- Please note that the rollout schedule could change.
- The land border entry procedures are not affected by the new rule.
- CBP anticipates that this automation will streamline CBP’s inspection process and reduce wait times at passenger processing at air and sea ports.
- Foreign nationals will have the convenience of being able to access their own I-94 electronically at www.cbp.gov/I94 (not yet operational), and will be able to print a new copy if one is lost, or to print multiple copies if needed.
- As you may know, currently the paper I-94 replacement application costs over $300 and takes a few months.
- Please note that the I-94 card comes with the I-797 Approval Notice (e.g. for H-1Bs) cannot be reprinted at the new CBP website as I-797s are USCIS documents
- Additionally, carriers will no longer have to print, store, and distribute the paper I-94 forms. Thus, this may result in significant cost savings for foreign travelers.
- There are a few unanswered questions as to how the new system will work in practice, especially in relation to other government agencies such as the Social Security Administration, DelDOT, etc. as they have long been relying on paper I-94 cards.
- According to CBP, foreign nationals who want to verify proper admission and length, or need a printed I-94 could do so by going to www.cbp.gov/I94 (not yet operational) by entering their biographical information, date of entry and class of admission.
- OISS is working closely with local SSA, DelDOT, and CBP to clarify and ensure minimum disruption to our international students and scholars.
- As we have more information, we will update our website.
- CBP stated that employers would be able to accept an I-94 printout along with an unexpired passport.
- Foreign nationals will be able to print their I-94 at www.cbp.gov/I94 (not yet operational). At the time of immigration inspection at the port of entry, CBP will distribute a tear sheet with information about procedures for obtaining a printout I-94.
- However, there has not been specific guidance from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), another component of DHS, which oversees the I-9 requirements.
- CBP stated that in some situations (like the I-515A), because it is a secondary inspection procedure, the foreign national will be given a special paper form annotated with the electronic I-94 number.
- In other words, if an I-515A is required, the recipient will still receive a paper I-94 so that she or he can complete the
I-515A process with ICE.
- CBP anticipates that nothing is going to change with automatic revalidation. If you depart the U.S., and upon return, if you meet the revalidation criteria, CBP will already have the electronic I-94 on record, and it will be revalidated.
- You will be provided with another stamp in the passport, and the I-94 will just be revalidated electronically.
- Previously the requirement was that the traveler had to have the I-94 in her or his possession, but because it will be an electronic record, CBP will have the record, and there will be no need to present a paper I-94.
- Those who fly back to the U.S. will receive a new passport stamp with entry/admission information, and those who drive in will be processed according to the land border port of entry process and receive a paper I-94.
- OISS recommends foreign nationals to print their I-94 at www.cbp.gov/I94 before leaving the U.S. as a back up.