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Elimination of Paper-Based Form I-94

Immigration officer port of entry dv2073044 Immigration officer port of entry dv2073044

Immigration officer port of entry dv2073044Beginning April 26, 2013, US Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) will be eliminating the paper-based Form I-94 arrival/ departure admissions record in four phases across US airports and pre-flight inspections stations nationwide. Form I-94 admissions record is the white card that individuals receive on a US-bound flight, and which is then stamped by border officers and stapled to your passport upon entry to the United States.

Form I-94 is a key document for demonstrating lawful US immigration status and for obtaining various benefits including, but not limited to, the following:

  • proof of lawful US immigration status;
  • US employment eligibility;
  • extensions and/or changes of status;
  • social security number applications; and,
  • driver license applications and renewals.

CBP has said that travelers will be able to print electronic I-94s at this link, which is supposed to go live and be fully functional as of April 26, 2013. It is unclear what information will be necessary to access the electronic Form I-94, but we recommend that individuals entering the US retain any evidence of entry to the US available, such as baggage claim stubs, boarding passes and travel itineraries, until they actually access and print an electronic Form I-94.

Upon request, travelers to the US can still obtain a paper-based Form I-94 upon entry to the US. We strongly recommend that travelers request a paper Form I-94 when entering until further notice. At this time, we do not encourage reliance on CPB’s electronic system to obtain this critical Form I-94 document–at least not during the system’s infancy, given the snags that often plague such government electronic systems as they are rolled out (and long after).

Those who forget to request a paper-based Form I-94 record when entering the US, and who are subsequently unable to print an electronic version of Form I-94, may find it extremely difficult to extend US immigration status, prove US employment eligibility, obtain a new US driver license, or obtain a host of other benefits. So attention to this Form I-94 issue is critical.

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