The U.S Customs and Border Protection (CPB) has come up with a new and more efficient way to make it easier for non-immigrant visitors to travel to the U.S by creating an automated I-94 form for all air and sea travelers. This new process saves a great amount of money and more importantly for foreign travelers; it significantly reduces wait time for the passengers at airports and seaports.
There are many other beneficial aspects of this new automation process. One of them is that foreign visitors traveling to the U.S. can access their own I-94 number online at the following website address: www.cbp.gov/I94. Another beneficial fact is that the traveler has access from any computer to print out a new copy or multiple copies just in case they are misplaced or lost.
There are precautions in place with this new automated system to insure that there is as little disruption to travel as possible. There may be questions to address regarding this new process and the steps involved while it is still being implemented. While these steps can be somewhat challenging, it will be much simpler to understand when compared to completing the old I-94 form.
The former I-94 paper/card form process required each traveler to fill out an I-94 form and include the following information; the name of the traveler, DOB, address where they will be residing, passport number, country of citizenship and other personal information and questions pertaining to the purpose of their visit to the U.S. After completing the I-94 form (usually while on your flight or cruise ship to America), an immigration officer would stamp two sections, the white/green form that they would tear off to keep in their records and another one that is usually stapled in to the foreign traveler’s passport. Finally when the foreign visitor(s) planned to leave the U.S they had to hand in their I-94 card to the agent at the check-in desk of the airline they were flying with.
As of April 30th, 2013 implementation began at five pilot ports of entry and continued to the remaining ports of entry over the course of a four week period. The CPB agency started the travel record automation process in order to access the arrival/departure record information for foreign travelers online.
From May 2013 non-immigrant travelers were no longer required to fill out an I-94 form upon their arrival to the U.S by air or sea. The CPB agency now gathers travelers’ arrival/departure information, as well as their personal information, automatically from their electronic travel records. This new automation process streamlines the entry process for travelers by reducing the amount of time previously required to fill out these forms. It also facilitates security check points and greatly reduces federal costs. It is currently estimated that the agency will save approximately $15.5 million a year by adopting this new automated process for the I-94 form. Another advantage that foreign entrepreneurs and students benefit from is that it assists them in proving their legal visitor status to employers, schools, universities, and government agencies.
Record automation for the I-94 is currently restricted to only air and sea travelers, therefore CPB will continue to issue a paper form I-94 at land based border ports of entry such as Canada. Foreign visitors will continue to receive the paper form I-94 until the automated process arrives at their port of entry. With the new CPB process an immigration officer will stamp the travel document of each arriving non-immigrant traveler. The admission stamp will show the date of admission, class of admission, and the date that the traveler is admitted to stay in the U.S. until.
As always, we are interested to hear your feedback and thoughts on this blog post in the comments section. Please also let us know of anything specific you would like us to write about in the future as it pertains to business and relocating as a foreign entrepreneur to the United States.