The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that it will be automating Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record. CBP recently submitted a rule for publication in the Federal Register allowing for the change, which will take effect 30 days after publication.
Form I-94 is typically completed when a nonimmigrant enters the U.S. The Form is not used for the admission of U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, or foreign nationals with immigrant visas. The I-94 is an important piece of documentation as it provides proof of lawful admission. This becomes important not only for travel purposes, but also in verifying immigration status and eligibility for employment authorization, immigrant visa petitions, and other subsequent applications.
The Form has traditionally been in paper form, completed at the border, which made tracking and documentation of arrivals and departures difficult at times. Automation of the form will improve procedures, allowing CBP to better track arriving foreign nationals and achieve its national security objectives. The change will also help to drastically reduce costs for the agency by an estimated $15.5 million per year. Travelers will be benefited as well, as the new procedure will require less paperwork and make documenting admissions for use in subsequent applications much easier. Travelers will still be able to obtain a hard copy of admission records by printing such records from the CBP website.