As we reported last month, U.S. Customs and Border Protection began efforts to automate Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Records. The interim final rule published in March has now taken effect. The new electronic system roll-out began on April 30 and is scheduled to be completed sometime this month.
Form I-94 is the record that evidences one’s lawful admission into the United States. With the new system, nonimmigrants traveling to the U.S. by air or sea will no longer need to fill out a paper Form I-94. However, individuals who go through secondary inspection, such as asylees, refugees, and parolees, will be provided a paper copy of Form I-94 by a CBP officer. Additionally, because advance information is only transmitted for air and sea travelers, CBP will still issue a paper form I-94 at land border ports of entry. Because there are sure to be situations in which foreign nationals will still need to provide a paper I-94 to document admission, CBP has set up a website where visitors can access and print their I-94 records.
CBP anticipates that the automation of I-94s will yield several benefits including streamlining the entry process for travelers, facilitating national security, and reducing federal costs. The automation is estimated to save CBP an estimated $15.5 million a year.