Published:  April 27, 2013

For as long as anyone remembers, Form I-94 has been the white, passport sized card the majority of nonimmigrant foreign nationals have been issued and had stapled to a page in their passport upon entry into the U.S.  Whether entering as a visitor, student or worker, the foreign national, by way of their I-94 card, is provided evidence of their formal inspection into the U.S. and the time they are authorized to remain.  Upon the completion of their stay and departure, nonimmigrants are theoretically required to give their I-94 back to immigration authorities.  Starting this week, however, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection is launching a program to go paperless for those entering the U.S. by way of most major air and sea ports, by transitioning the I-94 card into an electronic record.

The automation process involves the gathering of the nonimmigrant’s information from already provided, electronic travel records as opposed to by way of the nonimmigrant’s completion of paper documents just prior to submitting to inspection, as is the current procedure.  Still though, the foreign national, after entering the U.S., will be issued a stamp on a page of their passport denoting their immigration status and limits of stay.

After entry, nonimmigrants will be able to access and print out their paperless I-94 by visiting and selecting “Get I-94 Number.”

The purpose of this initiative is to streamline the inspection process, enhance security, and reduce government costs.  The tentative schedule for the launch of this program for major ports of entry across the U.S. is as follows:

Week 1 4/30/13 – 5/03/13 Charlotte Douglas International Airport,
Orlando International Airport,
Las Vegas Airport,
Chicago O’Hare,
Miami International Airport and
Houston Bush Intercontinental Airport
Week 2 5/7/13 Major Air and Sea Ports within the following field offices:
New York,
Puerto Rico,
New Orleans and
Week 3 5/14/13 Major Air and Sea ports within the following field offices:
San Francisco (includes Hawaii and Guam),
El Paso,
Portland (includes Alaska),
Los Angeles,
San Diego and
Week 4 5/21/13 All remaining airports and seaports


PUBLISHED April 27, 2013 – “IMMIGRATION LAW FORUM” Copyright © 2013, By Law Offices of Richard Hanus, Chicago, Illinois