I-94 Card Automation and Filing Alternatives

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is transitioning the nation’s sea and air ports of entry (POEs) to the automated I-94 arrival / departure card system. At the same time, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is updating forms and procedures to adapt to the automated I-94 cards. The steps being taken by the USCIS, as explained in this NewsBrief, are designed to help foreign nationals avoid potential problems with the online I-94 card after being admitted to the United States.

I-94 Automation

The automated I-94 card system was covered earlier on MurthyDotCom in the articles, Phase Out of Paper I-94 Cards at POEs (April 1, 2013) and Potential Delays in E-Verify Caused by I-94 Automation. I-94 automation has already been instituted in a number of airports, including Chicago O’Hare, Miami International, Boston’s Logan International, Baltimore-Washington International, and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International. The automated system is expected to be in all sea and air POEs by May 21, 2013. A full implementation schedule can be found on CBP WebSite.

Printable I-94 Card Available Online

A foreign national who is issued an electronic I-94 can print a copy of the card from the CBP WebSite. The printout of the I-94 card is equivalent to the small, paper I-94 card that was previously stapled into a traveler’s passport by the CBP.

USCIS Works to Adapt to Automated I-94 Cards

The USICS is hoping to avoid some of the potential problems of “virtual” I-94s by modifying many forms that, until now, have required the inclusion of the foreign national’s I-94 information. These forms are being updated to provide each applicant with the option to instead include passport or travel document number information. If the applicant includes passport information on the form, a copy of the passport pages that contain biographic information, visa, and admission stamp should be included with the filing. If s/he provides the traditional I-94 information, the applicant should print a copy of the I-94 card per the instructions above, and include it with the filing. A comprehensive list of USCIS forms that are in the process of being updated to accommodate this alternative travel evidence is available online.


We at the Murthy Law Firm appreciate efforts on the part of the USCIS to create safety provisions allowing for submission of alternative evidence of admission to the United States. This will facilitate a smoother transition to the automated I-94 card system. The Murthy Law Firm will monitor changes to this automated system and updates will be reported on MurthyDotCom.


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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.