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April 5, 2013

HR Fact Friday: Paper Form I-94 Eliminated

Filed under: General HR Buzz — Tags: 6:00 am

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that it’s doing away with the familiar paper Form I-94 for most users. The paper card has greeted most foreign nationals arriving in the United States for the last 50 years.

Stating that the move would ease entry into the U.S. and save millions of dollars in processing costs, the agency formally submitted new rules March 27, 2013, that would automate the form and make it electronic.

Form I-94 provides international visitors with evidence they have been lawfully admitted to the U.S., which is necessary to verify alien registration, immigration status and employment authorization.

The automation means that affected visitors will no longer need to fill out a paper form when arriving to the U.S. by air or sea. Paper Forms I-94 will still be provided to those without a passport, such as refugees and asylees.

The change will become effective on April 26, 2013, and will be implemented at air and sea ports of entry in a phased approach beginning April 30, CBP said. The phased implementation should take about one month, a CBP official told SHRM Online.

Since 2001, CBP has collected information on travelers by air or sea to the United States electronically from carriers in advance of arrival. Thus, for people arriving in the United States by air or sea, CBP obtains almost all of the information contained on the paper Form I-94 electronically and in advance. Therefore, the agency is transitioning to an automated process whereby it will create an electronic Form I-94 based on the information in its databases. The rule makes the necessary changes to the regulations to enable CBP to transition to an automated process.

The automation provides immediate and substantial benefits to the traveling public, to carriers, to CBP and other stakeholders, the agency said. “The automation will eliminate most of the duplicative paper Form I-94 process and reduce wait times at passenger processing, which will facilitate entry of all travelers.”

The automation will also save the time and expense associated with lost Forms I-94, as travelers will simply be able to print out a new copy from the website if needed rather than file an I-102, as currently required, which has a fee of $330.

Additionally, carriers will no longer have to print, store and distribute the forms, and CBP will not have to process them.

Source: SHRM, Roy Maurer 3/27/13

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