As previously indicated in our firm’s Immigration Alert dated March 27, 2013, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has indicated that it will be eliminating the paper Form I-94 and automating the Form I-94 process, except in limited circumstances, beginning on April 30, 2013. Once Form I-94 automation is fully implemented, international travelers arriving by air or sea will no longer be provided a paper Form I-94 (except in limited circumstances). Instead, an electronic admission record will be created. However, all travelers requiring a Form I-94 will still be provided a properly annotated admission stamp in their passports. Travelers who are placed in secondary inspection (including but not limited to refugees, asylees, parolees and F-1 students issued Forms I-515 to resolve admission missing documents) may still be issued paper Forms I-94 with the I-94 number crossed off the paper form and a new admission number entered into the paper form. Finally, travelers who enter at land ports will still be issued paper Forms I-94.

CBP has indicated that it will begin implementation of Form I-94 automation on April 30, 2013. It will be rolling out Form I-94 automation over a period of four weeks. Although international travelers will not receive a paper Form I-94 after Form I-94 automation is implemented, international travelers will be able to access and confirm their admission information on the CBP website at www.cbp.gov\I94 (with no hyphen between the I and the 94). When accessing this website, international travelers should enter all of the information requested based upon the information contained on their visa stamp, unless they are visa exempt. If the international traveler is visa exempt, the information should be provided from the international traveler’s passport. If there is a discrepancy between the information contained on the international traveler’s visa and the biographic page of the international traveler’s passport, the international traveler must enter the information contained on the visa stamp. The following information will be required to retrieve Form I-94 information from the CBP website:

  1. Family name.
  2. First (Given) name.
  3. Birthdate.
  4. Passport number.
  5. Country of issuance.
  6. Date of entry.
  7. Class of admission.

Tips for entering this information as provided by CBP are contained on our firm’s website at http://www.masudafunai.com/Files/13406_I-94_Automation.pdf. After this information is entered, the international traveler’s Form I-94 information should be provided on the CBP website and the traveler may print out this information which according to CBP will "serve the same purpose as any other paper Form I-94 version." Therefore, this printout should be accepted by employers in the Form I-9 employment eligibility verification process, by the Social Security Administration (SSA) as part of the Social Security Number (SSN) issuance process and states’ Department of Motor Vehicles during the Driver’s License issuance process. A quick reference guide for Local, State and Federal agencies and employers of all of the various versions (both paper and electronic) of the Form I-9 is available on our firm’s website at http://www.masudafunai.com/Files/13404_I-94_Quick_Reference.pdf. International travelers who need to present the new website printout of the Form I-94 may want to also print out a copy of this quick reference guide issued by CBP in order to potentially resolve any issues or questions that a government agency and/or an employer may have with the new electronic Form I-94 record.

Although CBP has indicated that it is implementing automation of the Form I-94 in order to save approximately $15 million a year, CBP will not be establishing a Customer Service Call Center to resolve issues encountered by international travelers with the new CBP website. Therefore if an international traveler cannot access their automated Form I-94 record on the CBP website, we strongly recommend that the traveler first check the information entered into the CBP system to make sure that it is consistent with the information contained on the international traveler’s visa stamp (or if the traveler is visa exempt, on the biographic page of his/her passport) and the admission stamp. Also, the traveler may want to attempt to enter variations on the class of admission, especially when the traveler was admitted in a category such as B-1/2 and the admission stamp does not indicate whether the CBP officer admitted the traveler as a B-1 or B-2. If the international traveler has entered all of the information correctly and has attempted different potential variations of admission class and the traveler still cannot access his/her admission record on the CBP website, the traveler will have to schedule an InfoPass appointment through the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov to attempt to correct his/her record at the local USCIS office. Alternatively, the traveler may attempt to return to the port of entry where he/she was admitted to inquire about the record. However, depending on the port, the traveler may still be instructed to schedule an InfoPass appointment at the local USCIS office.

We would strongly encourage international travelers to access the CBP website and print out the Form I-94 admission record with each entry into the United States. The international traveler should confirm that the information contained in this record is accurate, especially reviewing whether the class of admission and the expiration date is accurate. If information contained in the automated record is not accurate, the international traveler may have to follow the procedures indicated above to have their admission record corrected. The traveler should retain evidence of his/her admission for future use and reference.