News Update: Automation of For I-94

CBP Announces Automation of Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record

We had already indicated in our E-mail Blast of August 24, 2012, “CBP Plans to Phase Out Paper I-94s”, that CBP would be eliminating paper Form I-94s and replacing them with an electronic record of arrival of nonimmigrant aliens. However, CBP had not specified at the time when the elimination would be initiated. CBP just announced that the new procedures would become effective at the conclusion of the required notice period on April 26, 2013.

CBP currently collects information on aliens traveling by air or sea to the US electronically from carriers in advance of arrivals. Thus, CBP obtains most of the information contained in the paper Form I-94 electronically in advance. Starting April 26, 2013, CBP will take the next step in this process by creating an electronic Form I-94 and phasing out paper Form I-94. CBP will continue to stamp the alien’s passport at the time of admission.

Alien travelers will be able to access and print their electronic Form I-94 from a website set up by CBP in this respect, Access to the website will be based on information from the alien’s passport, so that third parties without the passport information should not be able to access other individuals’ I-94s. While generally the printout is not needed, aliens who are required to show the I-94 to third parties for purposes such as employment or benefit eligibility would be able to present documentation.

According to CBP, the automation of the I-94 should bring substantial benefits. The benefits described by CBP include the streamlining of the inspection process and thus the reduction of the wait times for passenger processing, as well as contract/processing/printing cost savings. They estimate a net benefit of $15.5 million, and indicate this should enable the agency to focus its resources on other areas such as improving security.

For now the new automated system will apply only to aliens arriving at air and sea ports of entry. Furthermore, CBP will continue to provide a paper Form I-94 to certain classes of aliens, such as certain refugees, asylees, and parolees.
Please advise your employees of the impending change. You may continue to provide us with I-94 information so we can continue to monitor their nonimmigrant status.