On April 30, 2013, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) began implementing its plan to automate the Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record. Paper I-94 forms will no longer be issued to visa holders arriving to the United States via air or sea ports. Passports will be stamped with the date of arrival and authorized period of stay but if the arriving visa holder needs a paper I-94 (e.g., for employment verification purposes for those who are admitted in work authorized status), he/she will be able to print it out from CBP’s website at www.cbp.gov/i94. CBP has confirmed that all US airports have now transitioned to the paperless I-94.
The American Immigration Lawyer’s Association has received reports that errors have occurred in the new on-line I-94 retrieval system, including errors in name/status, expiration date/category, or no information available at all. Nonimmigrant aliens should be sure to check the CBP’s on-line system (www.cbp.gov/i94) to verify their I-94 information after each arrival to the United States. Please contact us as soon as possible if there is an error in your information in the CBP system.
While there is no requirement that a nonimmigrant alien access and print out a record of admission in order to prove lawful admission and maintenance of status in the U.S., accessing and printing a record of admission should be a routine “best practices” policy. Printing a record of Form I-94 allows an individual to verify admission in the class and for the period of time indicated on the passport stamp. Furthermore, having a paper printout may facilitate applications for ancillary benefits, such as a driver’s license or a Social Security number.