The I-94 Paper Trail

In 2019, the USCIS determined that “foreign visitors to the U.S. arriving via air or sea no longer need to complete paper Customs and Border Protection Form I-94” in favor of an online system.  This online system has it advantages – it streamlines the customs process, facilitates security and saves the federal government millions of dollars a year.  Customs and Border Patrol now gathers all traveler information from carrier manifests and automatically updates the electronic travel records.

CBP no longer issues paper I-94s and now encourages all travelers to use the CBP One Mobile App or the CBP website to obtain their I-94 record.  However, as Michael Scott once said, “Real business is done on paper.  Write that down.”  Using the app is a great way to save time and streamline the customs process, but all foreign visitors should have access to a paper copy of their I-94.  Phones can die, or get lost, or destroyed.

All travelers can print their own paper I-94 from the official I-94 website

and selecting “Get Most Recent I-94.”  This option is also available from the CBP One Mobile App.

Any foreign visitor or traveler may need to show their I-94 to verify their status or get employment authorization.  It is ALWAYS a good idea to have a paper copy on hand.  Never travel without it!