Under the automated I-94 system, CBP will create an electronic record when travelers are admitted to the US via air and sea ports of entry. The system was rolled out on April 30, 2013.
The automated system pulls arrival/departure information automatically from travelers’ electronic travel records (i.e. electronic visa application, Advance Passenger Information System). Upon a traveler’s entry, an immigration officer will scan the traveler’s passport, which will generate a record of admission in the automated system. CBP has stated that electronic Form I-94 record of admission printed off CBP’s website, is the equivalent of the paper versions of Form I-94 issued by CBP and USCIS. Travelers admitted to the US through the automated system will not need to complete a paper Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record. When exiting the US by an air or sea port of entry, CBP will automatically record the traveler’s departure electronically via manifest information provided by the carrier or by CBP.
In lieu of submitting the electronic Form I-94 in paper format, USCIS will also accept photocopies of the passport pages that contain the individual’s biographical information, visa and admission stamp.”Immigration officers will continue stamping travelers’ passports with their date of admission and writing in the class and term of admission. Officers will also provide travelers with information on how to access and print out their records of admission online.
Travelers should be aware of the following:
- CBP will continue providing paper Forms I-94 to certain classes of aliens (i.e. refugees, certain asylees, and parolees), and whenever CBP determines the issuance of a paper form is appropriate.
- Since automation only affects air and sea arrivals, paper Form I-94s will still be issued at land border ports of entry.
- Travelers who are issued paper Forms I-94 on entering the US must surrender the form to the commercial carrier or to CBP upon departure.
If a traveler receives an electronic I-94 on entering the US and departs from the US via land, his exit may not be recorded accurately. More specifically, where a traveler who is not a resident of Canada or Mexico, receives an electronic I-94, departs from the US via land, and does not re-enter the United States prior to the expiration date stamped in his passport, the traveler should retain evidence of his departure into Canada or Mexico. Examples of evidence include, but are not limited to passport entry stamps from Canadian or Mexican immigration authorities, transportation tickets, pay stubs and/or other receipts. (If a traveler, who is admitted to the US with an electronic I-94, departs from the US via land and re-enters the US prior to the expiration date stamped in his passport, his departure will be recorded.)
If traveler meets the conditions for automatic visa revalidation, CBP will re-validate expired visas by verifying I-94s electronically. To demonstrate eligibility for automatic revalidation, a traveler should present a copy of the I-94 printout from the CBP website, prior to boarding. If the traveler’s entry occurred prior to I-94 automation, a paper form must be presented in order to comply with validation requirements.
If a traveler is not able to obtain a paper copy of the Form I-94 from CBP’s website, even after confirming that the data was entered correctly in the CBP system, the traveler should try the following: (1) Enter the first and middle name in the First Name field; (2) Switch the order of the first and last names; (3) Enter multiple first names or multiple last names without spaces; (4) Check for multiple passport numbers; (5) Refrain from entering the year if the year is included in the passport number; (6) Check and compare the designated classification on the visa with the designated classification on the admission stamp; (7) Call or visit a CBP Deferred Inspection office for assistance in obtaining a paper copy of Form I-94.
A traveler who believes that he was admitted incorrectly to the US should visit a local CBP Deferred Inspection Site or port of entry to have his admission information corrected. (A list of Deferred Inspection Sites and ports of entry can be found at www.cbp.gov, under the “Ports” link at the bottom of the page.)
For more information see:
- US CBP. 2013. I-94 Automation. March. Available online. (pdf)
- US CBP. 2013. “CBP to Rollout New Arrival/Departure-Record Process for Foreign Visitors” April 17. Available online.
- US CBP. Admission (I-94) Number Retrieval: Get I-94 Number. Available online.
- US CBP. Admission (I-94) Number Retrieval: I-94 Frequently Asked Questions. Available online.
- US CBP. 2013. I-94 Quick Reference Guide for Local, State and Federal Agencies. March. Available Online. (pdf)