U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced an enhancement to its I-94 website which allows travelers to apply and pay for their I-94 online prior to arriving at a land port of entry. Travelers can speed up their entry into the U.S. by providing their biographic and travel information, and paying the $6 fee for their I-94 application online up to seven days prior to their entry.
Travelers will now receive a provisional I-94 after submitting their application and payment online. The I-94 application will collect information that is otherwise collected in-person at the land port of entry, to include biographic information (name, date of birth, country of citizenship), passport details, visa details (if applicable), and petition/Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVIS) number (if applicable).
In order to finalize the I-94 issuance process, a traveler must present himself or herself at a land port of entry within seven days of their application and submit biometrics, if applicable, and be interviewed by a CBP officer. Travelers should be prepared to show evidence of their residence, employment, and/or travel plans, if requested by the CBP officer
.If the traveler does not complete their I-94 issuance process within seven days of their application, their provisional I-94 will expire and they will have to reapply and the pay the fee again. There are no refunds if the I-94 is not issued within the seven day period or if the traveler is denied entrance to the United States.
The secure website is easy to use, and payment can be made with a credit card, debit card, direct debit, or through PayPal. The benefits of this process include increased efficiencies during processing, decreased paper usage, a streamlined CBP inspection process for the traveling public and reduced operating costs.
Form I-94 provides non-immigrant visitors evidence they have been lawfully admitted to the U.S., which is necessary to verify alien registration, immigration status, and employment authorization. In May 2013, CBP automated the I-94 in the air and sea environment. The automated system allows CBP officers to create an I-94 Arrival Record within primary and secondary inspection processing systems at the time of inspection with passenger manifest information—eliminating the need for paper forms and manual data entry. The automation of the I-94 Arrival/Departure Record has improved the traveler experience while saving the U.S. government an estimated $34.5 million in its first two years.
“The new I-94 offering expedites entry into the U.S. at land ports of entry, while maintaining the highest standard of security,” said R. Gil Kerlikowske, CBP’s commissioner, adding, “This automated functionality increases the efficiency of the entry process and reduces administrative duties for CBP officers—ultimately resulting in shorter waits for travelers requiring an I-94.”