CBP on I-94 WebSite and Travel History Access05 Sep 2014
On August 6, 2014, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) held a teleconference with Ms. Suzanne Shepherd, a representative of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), concerning the agency’s website that provides I-94 records and related U.S. entry / exit history. During the teleconference, Ms. Shepherd explained that the website, which has only been in use since May 2014, currently offers limited travel history information. Thus, it should not be exclusively relied upon to determine a person’s U.S. entry / exit dates. She also discussed ways to address errors found in the records, and laid out some of the plans to improve the system.
Travel History Website Relies on Single, Incomplete Database
Ms. Shepherd noted that the travel information available on the website is based solely on data pulled from an I-94 database, meaning that the records are limited to situations where “an actual I-94, whether paper or electronic, was issued.” Therefore, Canadians entering at a land border will not have a crossing history, nor will anyone not issued an I-94 before the electronic I-94 system was implemented. Further, “[d]ata entry error can result in a no-match… For example, if a traveler’s name is spelled wrong on one or more occasions, a different travel history may be created under the alternate spelling.”
USCIS Not to Rely Solely on I-94 Database
Due to the limited data contained in the I-94 database, the CBP has cautioned the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) against making decisions on cases based solely on these travel records. Ms. Shepherd noted that USCIS officers are being trained to also use other databases in order to obtain a more accurate picture of an applicant’s travel history.
Correcting Travel Record Information
Incorrect or incomplete travel record information can be corrected by visiting a CBP deferred inspection office. More information about resolving errors related to a person’s travel history is provided in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, Emerging Issues with I-94 Card Automation (15.Jul.2013).
Plans to Include Travel History of U.S. Citizens / Permanent Residents
Ms. Shepherd noted that the CBP plans to create a permanent crossing history record for lawful permanent residents (commonly, “green card” holders) and U.S. citizens. There is no timeline yet available for when this may be implemented.
File FOIA to Obtain Travel History and Other Information
One way a foreign national may be able to obtain a complete record of one’s travel to and from the United States is by filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. FOIA Request Can Help Resolve Some Immigration Cases (23.Sep.2011) provides more details on the use of this powerful tool.
Faster I-94 Availability
Ms. Shepard stated that the CBP has made improvements to the website so that traveler information would be made available more quickly upon entering the United States. New I-94 information should be registered within 15 minutes of a person entering the country.
The travel history website is helpful, but it has limits. Still, there is hope that the site will continue to see improvements. The Murthy Law Firm will continue to track changes to the I-94 website and provide updates as new information becomes available.
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