A foreign national entering the U.S. is issued a Form I-94 by the US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the port of entry. The Form I-94 is essentially an arrival/departure record that states the date until which the foreign national can lawfully remain in the U.S., after which he or she is required to exit the country.
Foreign nationals arriving to the U.S. via air or sea are no longer issued a paper I-94 Form by the CBP as was previously the practice prior to April 2013. The paper I-94 Form has been replaced with an electronic format for travelers arriving into the country via air or sea (CBP still issues a paper form I-94 at land border ports of entry). Travelers who require their I-94 record can obtain it from CBP’s website at https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home. Foreign nationals who come to the U.S. for various purposes such as employment, education may need to provide proof of their valid stay to their employers or universities.
The CBP puts an admission stamp on the traveler’s travel document that is annotated with date of admission, class (visa type) of admission and admitted until date. The ‘admitted until’ date is the last date until which the traveler can lawfully remain in the country. Upon exiting the U.S. travelers who are issued a paper Form I-94 should surrender it to the commercial carrier of CBP upon departure. The departure will be recorded electronically, with manifest information provided by the carrier or CBP. For travelers whose Form I-94 was created electronically, CBP will record their departure using manifest information obtained from the carrier.
The implementation of an electronic automated version of form I-94 was done with the objective to enable the CBP to streamline the entry process for travelers thereby facilitating security and potentially reducing federal costs.
Resource: U.S. Customs and Border Protection at:
https://www.cbp.gov/travel/international-visitors/i-94-instructions (Accessed on July 21, 2017)
Zeenat Phophalia, Esq., Senior Associate