On April 30, 2013, U.S. Customs and Border Property (CBP) began implementing the automated version of Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, across the U.S. After one year of automated Form I-94s, many are still experiencing their first encounter with the new automated I-94 due to the flexible nature of individual travel schedules.
Once a foreign traveler has entered the U.S. through an air or sea port of entry, they will be able to access their electronic Form I-94 by visiting www.cbp.gov/I94. USCIS has deemed the electronic Form I-94 printed from the CBP website to be equivalent to a paper version of the Form I-94 issued by CBP and/or USCIS. Therefore, both versions of the Form I-94, the paper and the electronic, have been deemed acceptable to USCIS and accordingly, are acceptable for Form I-9 purposes.
The CBP website provides a useful FAQ regarding Form I-94 Automation which can be found here. To date, land ports of entry will continue to provide the paper Form I-94. When foreign travelers depart through an airport or ship, CBP will receive their departure information automatically and will update the online system. After a foreign traveler has departed the U.S., their Form I-94 will no longer be available through the online retrieval system. Therefore, it is important for foreign travelers to go to the CBP website and retrieve their Form I-94. Form I-94s are important for foreign travelers because they may need to provide a copy to employers, state agencies, such as vehicle registration or drivers licensing agencies, the Social Security Administration, universities, schools, and USCIS.
If you are having trouble retrieving your Form I-94 from the CBP website, CBP has some useful tips to use before contacting the nearest CBP deferred inspection site. Upon contacting a CBP deferred inspection site, a CBP officer will be able to assist. Occasionally, a Form I-94 will be filled out incorrectly, contain inaccurate information or have other errors. In those instances, foreign travelers will need to contact their nearest CBP deferred inspection site. A list of CBP deferred inspection sites can be found here.