It was announced in 2012 that U.S. Customs and Border Patrol would move to eliminate the issuance of I-94 cards to arriving non-immigrants in the near future. In 2012, I-94 cards were no longer issued to individuals arriving under the Visa Waiver Program. However, CBP did not announce when or how it would eliminate I-94 cards for other arriving non-immigrants. This is obviously a significant move for CBP and has ramifications across several branches the Department of Homeland Security and other government agencies, such as the Social Security Administration and many state agencies who issue drivers licenses.
Although there is still no publically available timeline for when changes will happen, these are some of the details of CBP’s plan:
- I-94 cards will at some point in the near future no longer be issued to passengers arriving at air and seaports with Advanced Passenger Information Systems (APIS) in place;
- I-94 cards will continue to be issued at land border crossings and seaports not equipped with APIS;
- In place of the I-94 card, individuals will be given a stamp in their passport that will include a handwritten annotation indicating non-immigrant status and the period of authorized stay in the U.S.; and
- CBP will record admission to the U.S. in an electronic database; there is some question of whether individuals will be given a receipt confirming their information in the database, and CBP has taken this under consideration.
The eventual elimination of the I-94 card will impact employers when it comes to I-9 verification and participation in E-Verify since a valid passport and I-94 card are currently accepted as evidence of valid work authorization.
The attorneys at Graham Adair will continue to monitor and update our clients as these changes go into effect. We will work with our clients to make this government process change seamless for our clients.