United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has now fully implemented its program to automate Form I-94 at all air and sea ports. The change means that international travelers to the US will no longer receive a paper I-94 card when entering the US. CBP is now substituting paper Forms I-94 with a passport stamp and an electronic record. Travelers arriving at a land border will continue to receive a paper Form I-94 from CBP.
Upon arrival, all travelers not receiving a paper Form I-94 should immediately go to the CBP automated website and print out a copy of their I-94 record. This should be done each time a traveler enters the United States. Please note that the CBP website does not provide data for multiple entries. If an international traveler enters the US, does not print out the Form I-94, leaves the US and subsequently re-enters, the data from the prior entry will no longer be available in the system. I-94 records should be printed immediately after entry to insure the record is available for future use.
There is no legal requirement that a nonimmigrant alien access and print out a record of admission in order to prove lawful admission and maintenance of status in the U.S. The electronic record or the passport stamp issued by CBP should be sufficient to establish lawful status for nonimmigrant aliens and parolees.
For a variety of reasons, however, accessing and printing a record of admission should be done after each entry. Printing a record of Form I-94 allows an individual to verify admission in the class and for the period of time indicated on the passport stamp. Furthermore, having a paper printout may facilitate applications for other benefits such as a driver’s license or a Social Security number.
Having the paper Form I-94 may also allow a smoother boarding process when presenting travel documents to a common carrier. An equally important reason to carry a paper Form I-94 is that it would function as a backup document in the event that CBP officers cannot access the electronic record of admission due to a systems failure at the time that alien seeks re-admission to the U.S.
For all of the above reasons, we strongly recommend printing out these records immediately after arrival in the US.
The tips below should help locate and print the Form I-94 via CBP’s automated system at www.cbp.gov/I94
I Found My I-94 On The CBP Website. What Should I Do Next?
1. Print the Form I-94 each time that the nonimmigrant alien arrives in the U.S.
2. Verify that the information on the Form I-94 is correct. The Form I-94 may be needed for I-9 compliance in future immigration petitions or applications and/or to apply for other benefits, such as a social security card or a driver’s license.
I Cannot Locate The Form I-94 On The CBP Website, And Instead, I Received A “Not Found” Message. What Should I Do Next?
It is possible that the Form I-94 does not exist because of a system error. However, it is more likely that the Form I-94 is in the CBP system, but the data is formatted differently than you entered it. Below are some tips to assist you in obtaining the Form I-94 out of the CBP automation system.
Enter The Name As Stated In The Passport, Visa, Or The Submitted Form DS-160
Although CBP has stated it will draw the name for the Form I-94 from the travel document (e.g., passport biographic page), that is not always the case. The instructions on CBP’s website state that the name is drawn from the visa, if any. Therefore, check the passport, visa, and a copy of the submitted Form DS-160 (if available) for name variations. Try entering the name as stated on each document.
Enter The First And Middle Name In The First Name Field
In the first name field, type the first and the middle name (if any) with a space in between. Do this even if the middle name is not stated on the passport or visa.
Switch The Order Of The Names
Switch the last and first name when entering the information on the website. Some countries state the name in the passport as first name, last name, rather than the more standard order of last name, first name. This may cause the name to be recorded incorrectly in the CBP system.
Enter Multiple First Names Or Multiple Last Names Without Spaces
If a person has two first names or two last names, type the first names without a space between them or the last names without a space between them. Example: type the first names “Mary Jane” as “Maryjane”.
Check For Multiple Passport Numbers
Check the Form DS-160 (if available) for the passport number stated. If the passport number on the Form DS-160 is different than the passport number on which the person was admitted, type the passport number as stated on the submitted Form DS-160. Also, check the passport number stated on the visa. If the passport number is different than the current passport, enter the passport number stated on the visa.
Do Not Enter The Year If Included In The Passport Number
Some passport numbers may begin with the year in which the passport was issued, causing the number to be too long for the relevant field in CBP’s automation system. If relevant, try entering the passport number without the year. For example, a Mexican passport that was issued in 2008 may have a passport number that starts with “08” followed by nine digits. Try entering the passport number without the “08.” This problem should not arise for newer Mexican passports, as those passports do not begin with the year.
Check the Classification
Check the classification designated on the visa and compare it to the classification stated on the admission stamp in the passport, as there may be a slight variation. Be sure to try both designations. For example, the visa may state “E-3D” for an E-3 dependent, but the admission stamp may state only “E-3.” The automated I-94 could state the classification either way.
Call or visit the Deferred Inspection office
If none of the above efforts resolve the issue, telephone or visit the CBP Deferred Inspection Office and explain the problem. Some of the Deferred Inspection Offices have been able to resolve the problem over the phone without an in-person visit; however, other offices may require an in-person visit. Contact information for the Deferred Inspection Offices can be found on CBP’s website.
Contact Your Attorney
If none of the above result in you being able to print a copy of your Form I-94, contact your attorney, who may be able to help through the use of CBP liaisons.