U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that as of April 30, 2013, it started implementing the automated version of Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, at air and sea ports of entry for foreign travelers entering the U.S. The first entry ports affected will include Charlotte Douglas International Airport in North Carolina, Orlando International Airport in Florida, McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Miami International Airport and George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. Full implementation will continue across the nation through May 21 and will extend only to air and sea ports of entry that support international arrivals.
Per the new CBP guidance, foreign travelers entering the United States at air or sea ports of entry will no longer fill out and receive a paper I-94 at entry, but will instead be able to access their electronic Form I-94 by visiting www.cbp.gov/I94. CBP officers at the time of inspection at the point of entry by sea or air will give foreign travelers a tear sheet with instructions on how to look up their electronic Form I-94 on CBP's website from which they can print out their Form I-94 in paper format. Travelers by land will continue to receive paper Form I-94 documents.
Because foreign travelers often need their Form I-94 when requesting certain USCIS benefits, or when applying for public benefits from other government agencies in order to show lawful status in the United States, USCIS has indicated that it will accept the electronic Form I-94 in paper format obtained from CBP's website as the equivalent of the paper versions of Form I-94 issued by CBP and USCIS. USCIS has further announced that it will also accept photocopies of the passport pages that contain the individual's biographical information, visa and admission stamp instead of the electronic I-94 record in paper format.
Please contact the immigration practice group at Parker Poe for further information.