This week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) launched an initiative to automate the issuance of Forms I-94, Arrival/Departure Records for travelers arriving by sea or air. Records of admission will now be generated by CBP using traveler information captured through electronic means. Passengers arriving by sea or air will no longer complete a paper Form I-94. Rather, CBP will stamp a traveler’s passport to confirm an individual’s date of admission and immigration status. CBP is implementing this program now at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, Orlando International Airport, Las Vegas Airport, Chicago O’Hare, Miami International Airport and Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport. By May 21, 2013, CBP should have all air and sea ports of entry that admit international travelers on this new system. Land ports of entry will continue to issue paper Forms I-94.
Within 24 hours of entry into the United States, a traveler will be able to retrieve an electronic Form I-94 online at: www.cbp.gov/I94. An electronic Form I-94 printed from CBP’s web site will replace a handwritten Form I-94 and be used as evidence of lawful admission. A printed electronic Form I-94 may also be used to establish eligibility for immigration benefits, or for evidencing employment authorization eligibility and lawful status. When processing petitions and applications for benefits, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will accept photocopies of passport pages that contain an individual’s biographic information, visa and admission stamp in lieu of an electronic Form I-94. We expect more guidance from CBP and USCIS in the coming months.
Mintz Levin will continue to monitor developments with this program.