Automated I-94 FAQs24 May 2013
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) initiated the roll out, on April 30, 2013, of a completely new system for documenting arrivals and departures at U.S. airports and seaports. The schedule for the transition to all U.S. airports and seaports allowed for a four-week phase in, ending on May 21, 2013. These changes were explained to readers in the MurthyDotCom article, I-94 Card Automation and Filing Alternatives (13.May.2013). While the CBP has eliminated paper I-94s at air and seaports, travelers’ passports are still stamped. The dated stamp signifies the class of one’s admission to the United States, as well as the expiration of the allowed period of stay. Some frequently asked questions (FAQs) [select I-94 FAQ tab at top] related to the automation of I-94 arrival / departure documentation are available on the CBP WebSite. Following is a summary of this information for the benefit of MurthyDotCom readers.
I-94 Retrieval and Verification
While the CBP no longer issues paper I-94 cards at U.S. air or seaports, the I-94 information can be retrieved by travelers through a portal on the CBP WebSite. The FAQs clarify that individuals need to provide some basic personal data in order to access their I-94 information from the CBP WebSite. It is requested that one enter his/her name (as set forth in the travel document used for entry to the United States), birth date, passport number, passport country, date of entry, and the class or category of last admission to the United States.
The I-94 information remains available online until the individual departs the United States. However, foreign nationals are encouraged to review the data promptly after entering the U.S. In the event that there is an error on the I-94, the FAQs direct the foreign national to contact any local CBP Deferred Inspection office or port of entry (POE).
Potential Problems if Entering by Air and Departing by Land
The CBP FAQs point out one potential problem for individuals who enter the United States by air and depart to either Mexico or Canada via a land border. The CBP will only properly record the land departure of a foreign national who has an electronic I-94 and returns to the United States prior to the expiration date stamped in the individual’s passport. If the foreign national does not return to the United States prior to this expiration date, s/he should be prepared to provide the CBP with evidence of the departure. Such evidence may include, but is not limited to, a Canadian or Mexican entry stamps in the passport, receipts, or transportation tickets.
I-9 Employment Verification
The automation of the I-94 has not changed the I-9 employment authorization verification process. However, employees may now provide a printout of the I-94 from the CBP WebSite as one of the acceptable forms of documentation.
Foreign nationals with general questions about the I-94 automation process and related changes can learn more on the CBP WebSite. We at the Murthy Law Firm will continue to track this issue and updates will be provided on MurthyDotCom as new information becomes available.
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