Why Didn't My Employee Get a Form I-94 When Entering the United States?

by Holland & Knight LLP
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Answers to Common Questions About the Immigration Arrival-Departure Form

U.S. employers and others dealing with immigration matters should be aware that U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) no longer issues Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record) upon entry into the United States. As a result, when entering the country, a foreign national can request that a hard copy be issued to him or her, which requires going into secondary screening at the airport to make such a request. Alternatively, the foreign national can go to the CBP's website at http://cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/id_visa/i-94_instructions/and follow the "Get I-94 Number" link to print out his or her Form I-94 information.

The following Q&A is designed to answer other frequently asked questions about this important form:

Why should a foreign national print out their Form I-94 from the CBP's website?

  • The CBP has been making errors when inputting I-94 information into its database. Printing out Form I-94 provides an opportunity to review the information and confirm that no errors regarding an individual's class of admission or the date through which the foreign national is authorized to remain in the United States have been made.
  • New employees need Form I-94 for Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) purposes, as evidence that they are authorized to work in the United States.
  • If an individual plans to extend or amend their stay in the United States or apply for any other immigration benefit, they need to submit a copy of their Form I-94 as part of their underlying application.
  • There are additional reasons for printing the form, such as if an individual needs to apply for a U.S. social security number or a driver's license.

What information will an individual need to electronically retrieve their Form I-94 information from the CBP website?

  • their family name as it appears on the travel document used to enter the United States (CBP has advised that the name on the passport and not the visa should be used if the names are different)
  • their first name as it appears on the travel document used to enter the United States (CBP has advised that the name on the passport and not the visa should be used if the names are different)
  • their birth date
  • their passport number, being careful to distinguish between letters and numbers — e.g., the letter "O" and the number "0"
  • their country of passport issuance, which is also their country of citizenship regardless of where the passport was actually obtained
  • their date of entry into the United States, which should match the date on the entry stamp in the individual's passport
  • their class of admission, which can also be found on the individual's entry stamp

What does CBP give foreign nationals when they enter the United States?

CBP provides an entry stamp in a foreign national's passport that includes the date of admission, class of admission and the date through which the traveler is authorized to remain in the United States. All travelers should carefully check the entry stamp provided upon entry to make sure there are no errors.

When should a foreign national print out a Form I-94 from the CBP website?

Every time he or she enters the United States, because a new Form I-94 is provided upon each entry into the United States.

What happens if a foreign national notices an error or cannot find their Form I-94 online?

The traveler needs to contact his or her closest CBP Deferred Inspection Office to have the error fixed or to obtain a Form I-94 record. We see many errors regarding the date entry of Forms I-94, especially for foreign nationals with multiple names or unusually long names. A misspelling can cause the Form I-94 record not to be found.

Answers to Common Questions About the Immigration Arrival-Departure Form - See more at: http://www.hklaw.com/publications/Why-Didnt-My-Employee-Get-a-Form-I-94-When-Entering-the-United-States-10-07-2013/#sthash.NbYuM3LH.dpuf

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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