U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers are implementing a major change this month in its admission process for foreign travelers.
CBP will no longer be issuing white I-94 cards to travelers when they enter the U.S. These white arrival/departure cards have been considered essential documents for proving valid status for immigration and public benefits. Travelers had been completing the Form I-94 for CBP officers to review, stamp, detach a portion of the paper form, and attach to the foreign traveler’s passport. When travelers depart, they surrender the paper I-94 card to the commercial carrier or CBP.
To reduce costs and expedite passenger processing, CBP has now automated the I-94 form, creating a record of admission and departure, but without issuing paper cards at air and sea ports. Instead, CBP officers will stamp passports with the date and class of admission, and when authorized stay expires. Travelers will get written instructions how to print a copy of their record of admission if needed through a web site at www.cbp.gov/I94. Travelers without a paper I-94 card will not be required to surrender any record upon leaving; their departure will be automatically recorded using manifest information from commercial carriers.
We suggest that travelers print a paper record upon their arrival because written evidence of lawful admission is still needed by other agencies and for other purposes. Travelers need admission documentation for public benefits, such as a driver’s license or a social security card, and travelers with work authorized status need the written I-94 record to complete the I-9 form to start or resume work. Agencies and employers relying on the I-94 form continue to rely on a paper record of admission.