ZE’s Q&A About the New CBP I-94 Automation Process

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Automation of Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record

On April 30, 2013 CBP will begin to rollout a new automation process for Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record. Form I-94 provides non-immigrants with evidence of their lawful admission to the United States, and the paper form is required by numerous agencies such as: USCIS, universities, State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMVs), and the Social Security Administration (SSA) when certain benefits or service are requested. Effective April 30, 2013, CBP will begin electronically registering Form I-94 and will no longer issue paper Form I-94s to non-immigrants being admitted at most air or sea ports of entry. The new process is expected to be in place at all air and sea ports of entry by the end of May. Non-immigrants that are not provided a paper Form I-94 at the time of admission will be able to access a new CBP online system to print out a paper Form I-94 to submit to other agencies as required.

Questions and Answers

Q: Who is affected by the new automation process?

A: Most non-immigrants traveling to the U.S. by air or sea will no longer receive paper Form I-94. At this time, non-immigrants entering at land ports of entry will continue to receive paper Form I-94. Furthermore, certain individuals who go through secondary inspection (asylees, refugees, and parolees) will continue to receive paper Form I-94.

Q: Will this new process be in place at all air and sea ports of entry on April 30, 2013?

A: No, the rollout will begin at four air ports of entry (Orlando, Chicago, Las Vegas, Charlotte) for one week. Over the following three weeks the program will be slowly expanded to all air and sea ports of entry with a target date of the end of May for full implementation.

Q: How will the new automated process differ from the current paper-based Form I-94 process?

A: Under the current I-94 paper-based process, after a non-immigrant fills out paper Form I-94 and submits it to CBP at the port of entry, CBP mails Form I-94 to the Nonimmigrant Data Processing Services (NIDPS) processing center in London, Kentucky where the forms are manually entered into CBP’s Non-Immigrant Information System (NIIS). Upon departure, the nonimmigrant submits the departure portion of paper Form I-94 to the air or sea carrier who then delivers the form to CBP to be manually entered into NIIS.

CBP regulations require air and sea carriers to electronically submit manifest information on all passengers arriving and departing the U.S. through the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS). Under the new process, CBP will gather all of the Form I-94 information through APIS (and the Department of State’s Consolidated Consular Database (CCD)) and will display an electronic version of Form I-94 to the nonimmigrant as they pass through inspection. If any information is missing or needs to be amended, the CBP officer will collect the information from the nonimmigrant and submit it electronically.

Q: Will non-immigrants still receive an admission stamp?

A: Although non-immigrants will no longer be provided a paper copy of Form I-94, CBP officers will continue stamping passports and travel documents upon admission to the U.S. The admission stamp will show the date of admission, class of admission, and the date the nonimmigrant is admitted until.

Q: But the USCIS/DMV/SSA still requires non-immigrants to submit paper Form I-94 with many applications, what can they do?

A: CBP is establishing a website for non-immigrants to log-in and print out paper copies of the new electronic Form I-94 (http://www.cbp.gov/I94). The website will request: last name, first (given) name, date of birth, passport number, country of issuance, date of entry, and class of admission. The website will provide a read-only form with limited information containing the I-94 number, and the “Admit Until” date. Upon admission, CBP officers will provide non-immigrants with a flier containing instructions on how to log into CBP.gov/I94 to access their new electronic Form I-94 information.

Q: Can non-immigrants still supply their I-94 as part of the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification process?

A: Yes, in the relevant circumstances, non-immigrants will be able to submit the new electronic Form I-94 print out from the CBP website just as they previously submitted paper Form I-94 during the I-9 process.

Q: Can non-immigrants still utilize automatic visa revalidation? What will they submit if they do not have a paper Form I94?

A: The automatic revalidation process will remain the same. CBP will have the non-immigrants I-94 information electronically stored and will be able to revalidate without submission of a paper Form I-94. The nonimmigrant will receive another stamp in their passport, and the I-94 will be revalidated electronically.

If you have any questions about the new I-94 automation process, please contact an attorney at Zelnick & Erickson.