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Holiday Travel Tips for 2013, Including Tips for Navigating the New Electronic I-94 System

December 05, 2013
Ana Maria Echiburu Tyrrell

When planning for your holiday travel, there are several important things to keep in mind this year as a result of the new electronic I-94 system, which was implemented by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) earlier this year. The purpose of the I-94 is to monitor foreign nationals’ arrivals and departures from the U.S. and to provide them with a length of legal admission. In the past, the Form I-94, was a physical piece of paper CBP attached to each foreign national’s passport upon arrival into the U.S. In 2013, however, CBP transitioned to an electronic I-94 system for arrivals at air and sea borders.

For those seasoned travelers accustomed to the traditional paper I-94 card, the switch to an automated system may be daunting. So in addition to our previous travel tips, we would like to provide the following tips related to your I-94 to ensure that you are properly admitted into the U.S. upon your return from holiday travels. Now you can ditch the paper I-94 tradition and focus on your holiday traditions.

  • To ensure that your electronic I-94 is accurate, confirm that all of the information provided to your airline carrier at the time of booking your ticket to the U.S. is accurate, as this is the information CBP uses to populate the data in the I-94 record.
  • Check that your record is accurate before leaving the airport by logging on to https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov on your phone or tablet. If the information on the system is inaccurate, request that CBP correct your record.
  • If you attempt to retrieve your record and receive a response that your I-94 is not found, take the following steps:
    • Ensure that your first and last name is entered as it appears on your passport, without dashes or title.
    • Try using only your first name, only your middle name, or both in the “First (Given) Name” section.
    • Ensure you are entering the passport number that appears on the upper right hand side of your passport.
    • Ensure you are entering the visa classification that appears on your visa in your passport, or if you are traveling under the Visa Waiver Program, enter “WT/WB.”
    • Try providing your most recent entry date or your original date of entry into the U.S.
  • If after trying all the above steps, you still cannot locate your I-94 record, contact your local CBP Deferred Inspection Site and request assistance.
  • If you entered the U.S. by air or sea and will depart by land, be sure to turn in your I-94 to the Canadian Border Services Agency upon entry to Canada or to CBP prior to entering Mexico to ensure your departure is accurately recorded. Additionally, retain proof of your departure through a foreign entry stamp, receipts prior to your departure and after your departure, and/or transportation tickets if you cross the border by bus or train.

If you have any questions regarding your travels during the holiday season or about your I-94 record, please contact an attorney at Minsky, McCormick & Hallagan, P.C. Enjoy your holiday, and we wish you safe travels!

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