Customs & Border Protection: I-94 Automation

In May 2013, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) rolled out a new automated system of tracking admission to and departure from the United States, replacing the old I-94 card Arrival/Departure Record with a “digital” or electronic record.  The rollout started at select ports of entry on April 30, 2013 and expanded to include all air and sea ports by the end of May.  Because advance information is only transmitted for air and sea travelers, CBP will continue to issue a paper form I-94 at land border ports of entry.

Under the new the automated I-94 system, CBP no longer requires international visitors traveling to the United States by air or sea to complete a paper Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record upon arrival in the US. Instead, the agency now gathers the pertinent information automatically from their electronic travel records. Upon arrival at the port of entry, a CBP inspector will stamp the travel document of each arriving non-immigrant traveler. The admission stamp will show the date of admission, port of entry, class of admission, and the expiration date of status.  Travelers will also receive a flier alerting them to go to online for their admission record information.

After entry, visitors admitted at the port of entry are able to access their I-94 entry record information online.  A foreign national with an electronic I-94 record can print a copy from the CBP web site: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94.  The printout of the electronic I-94 information is equivalent to the small, paper I-94 card that was previously stapled into a traveler’s passport by the CBP.

We advise each visitor to check his or her entry stamp before leaving the CBP inspection area to ensure that the admission was properly recorded, including class of admission, date of entry and duration of admission.  There are instances when admission at the port of entry is recorded for a shorter or longer period than may have been previously authorized by US Citizenship & Immigration Service (USCIS).  It is more difficult to correct an admission error once you have left the CBP inspection area.  We suggest that if one has a USCIS-issued Form I-797 Approval Notice indicating approved nonimmigrant visa status, he or she must be ready to present it at the port of entry upon return from any from foreign travel, if necessary.  We also advise visitors to retrieve a copy ofthe new I-94 record from the CBP web site as soon as possible.

Travelers exiting the US will not need to do anything differently. Travelers previously issued a paper Form I-94 would surrender it to the commercial carrier or to CBP upon departure. If travelers did not receive a paper Form I-94, CBP will record the departure electronically via manifest information provided by the carrier or by CBP.

For more information and for answers to frequently asked questions, visit CBP’s Form I-94 webpages.

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