US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has changed the I-94 process for foreign citizens visiting US. US keeps track on the entry and exit of all the legal visitors to US through I-94. Earlier, visitors were asked to fill a paper I-94 at the time or arrival, and surrender it at the time of departure. CBP kept records of arrival and departure through the paper I-94.
Starting from April 30, 2013 CBP has started a new paperless I-94 process. The arrival and departure of all the visitors arriving via sea or air will be automated. The visitors will no longer have to fill a paper I-94. CBP officer at the port of entry will create an electronic I-94 record utilizing advanced traveler information from the carriers, DHS, and Department of State systems. The CBP officer will continue to stamp the passport with the date of arrival, the date until the visitor can stay, and the visa class.
The travelers need not do anything different at the time of departure. If they were issued a paper I-94 then they have to surrender the I-94 to the carrier or the CBP. If their arrival was recorded electronically CBP will record their departure via the commercial carrier. This automation will expedite the entry-exit process, facilitate the security, and reduce federal costs. CBP estimates that the automated process will save them $15.5 million a year.
Visitors can always access their I-94 records online. At the time of arrival they will be given a flier containing information about the automated process and how to access their I-94 online. They can print their I-94 from CBP.gov/I94. The automated system is only for visitors entering US via air and sea carriers. Foreign visitors entering via land will still need to fill paper I-94.
CBP will slowly phase in the automated process starting from a few ports of entry. They plan to equip all the ports of entry in US with the automated I-94 system by May 21, 2013. Schedule is as follows:
Week 1 (4/30/13 – 5/03/13) – Charlotte Douglas International Airport,
Orlando International Airport,
Las Vegas Airport,
Miami International Airport and
Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport.
Week 2 (5/7/2013) – Major Air and Sea Ports within the following field offices: New York, Boston, Buffalo, Baltimore, Detroit, Atlanta, Tampa, Puerto Rico, Miami, Chicago, New Orleans and Houston.
Week 3 (5/14/13) – Major Air and Sea ports within the following field offices: Pre-Clearance, San Francisco (includes Hawaii and Guam), Tucson, El Paso, Seattle, Portland (includes Alaska), Los Angeles, San Diego and Laredo
Week 4 (5/21/2013) – All remaining airports and seaports.
Sample electronic I-94 Form available at the CBP website: