U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) began to implement plans to go paperless with the Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, on April 30, 2013. The implementation was effective at different airports and land border stations on different dates through May 2013, but should now be effective at all U.S. land and air border entry points.
The I-94 Arrival/Departure Record is issued to most foreign nationals entering the U.S. It is used to track their admissions into the U.S. and then their subsequent departures. Formerly, it was a small slip of card stock stapled into the foreign national’s passport, and represented evidence of legal admission. The admitting officer wrote on the card the status of the admission and the expiration date, which was the means by which the foreign national could prove what she or he was allowed to do in the U.S. and for how long. On departure, the card was surrendered resulting in a record of the departure.
Converting the I-94 card to a paperless system confused the process of completing an I-9 form for a foreign national, because both Section 1 and Section 2 of the I-9 form require information from the employee’s I-94 card in certain circumstances. Section 1 requires the I-94 admission number together with foreign passport information where the foreign national received an I-94 from CBP, and the List A document for Section 2 of the I-9 form requires the same information if option 5 is being used to show identity and work authorization.
How to discover the I-94 admission number when there is no longer an I-94 card? CBP has created a location online where foreign nationals can obtain and print a copy of their I-94 admission record. This is www.cbp.gov/I94. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has announced that a print-out from this website together with the foreign passport is the appropriate evidence of admission to satisfy the I-9 requirement for foreign nationals relying on a foreign passport and evidence of lawful admission to show work authorization under List A, option 5.
Despite CBP efforts to inform foreign nationals crossing the border about using this website to download their admission information, many are coming to HR offices without it. Requiring them to access the website, with their employer’s assistance if needed, and to provide this print-out along with their passport information is recommended as the best practice for I-9 completion for these individuals.
If you have questions, please contact Chris Bauer at 303-223-5431 or Sherry Lin at 303-223-5430.