Visitors to the United States — New Process for Entry Documentation
Beginning April 30, 2013, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will no longer issue hard copies of Form I-94 (record of admission to the United States) to visitors to the United States for business or pleasure (tourists) at certain ports of entry. The visitors will get an admission stamp on their travel documents (passports) upon entry into the United States. The admission stamp will show the date of admission, class of admission, and admitted until date. The officer will generate an electronic record of the I-94 (through CBP’s new I-94 automation process). The I-94 will be available electronically at www.cbp.gov/I94 and can be accessed by the visitor if needed.
Form I-94 is the paper that was completed by the visitor on the commercial carrier or at the port of entry showing the purpose of the trip to the United States and length of stay. A portion of the I-94 was then stapled into the individual’s passport. The individual has to exit the United States on or before the departure date stamped on the I-94 and turn in the I-94 to the commercial carrier or CBP so that the departure is properly recorded. Any overstay of the I-94 (assuming no petition had been filed with US Citizenship and Immigration Services to extend the authorized stay) results in the accrual of unlawful presence in the United States which can make the individual removable from the United States and/or inadmissible to the United States in the future.
Visitors in nonimmigrant statuses such as E, H-1B, L, O, and TN who need to show the I-94 to their employer as part of the Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification process, will need to print a copy of their I-94 from www.cbp.gov/I94.
Visitors who were issued a paper Form I-94 (either because their entry was prior to April 30, 2013 or they entered at a port of entry that is not yet automated) will need to give their I-94 to the commercial carrier or CBP upon departure from the United States. Visitors with the admission stamp will not need to do anything upon departure from the United States. Nevertheless, as a best practice to comply with US immigration law, a record of the departure from the United States should be maintained (such as keeping the boarding pass) in order to have proof of the departure in the event that there are any issues with CBP’s new system.
If you have any questions regarding the I-94 automation or other immigration-related matters, please contact the Arent Fox attorney with whom you work or contact Nancy A. Noonan with Arent Fox’s International Trade and Labor & Employment Practices.