The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol is implementing a new Provisional I-94 program to make entering the borders more efficient. The I-94 is an Arrival and Departure record issued to foreign visitors entering the United States. The form includes biographical information as well as passport and visa details. Most importantly, it indicates the date by which the foreign visitor must exit the United States.
The Provisional I-94 program will allow visitors to process their I-94 up to 7 days in advance of their arrival. It will cost $6. The foreign visitor will receive the provisional I-94 after applying and paying the $6 fee. The I-94 becomes valid only after it is presented to a United States border officer. The I-94 will expire, and the fee will be deemed abandoned if the visitor does not present the I-94 to a border officer within seven days of issuance. (A foreign visitor will be required to reapply for a second provisional I-94 should this occur.)
The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol hopes to increase border efficiency and reduce administrative duties for its border officers. Additionally, it hopes to reduce the number of typographical errors on its I-94, an error typically caused by the “human element” of all arrivals and departures.
Perhaps of utmost importance is the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol’s goal to establish create formal records of admissions to the United States. Each time a foreign visitor enters the United States, he or she must enter through a designated port. Each entry into the United States requires a foreign visitor to enter with a valid passport before being issued an I-94. The I-94 helps the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to both monitor overstays and to create a detailed record of a visitor’s arrivals and departures. Typographical errors can impact a visitor’s ability to later obtain immigration benefits or even to be deemed admissible to enter and/or remain in the United States. Additionally, border officers will still determine I-94 expiration dates following their determination of the visitor’s travel documents and visa classification.
Although a foreign visitor may enter the United States by any port– air, land, or sea–the Provisional I-94 program is only permitted for land entries.
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Contact an attorney if you have questions about Provisional I-94, or if you have run into immigration issues or complications caused by an error with your provisional I-94. The knowledgeable immigration attorneys of Maduabum Law Firm, LLC can help. Call and schedule your free consultation today.