In an effort to simplify and streamline the I-94 process, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced a provisional program allowing foreign travelers to apply and pay for their I-94 prior to their arrival. I-94 Forms are admission records for non-immigrant international travelers that serve as proof of their legal visitor status. By entering the info that is usually collected by CBP, including visa, passport, and biological details, entry times are shortened for international visitors.
Up to seven days prior to their arrival to a US land port, foreign nationals can complete their I-94 applications online for a fee of $6.00. Upon arrival at the port of entry, visitors must present their I-94 to CBP. At that time, the I-94 becomes effective. If a traveler fails to present their I-94 within seven days of submitting the application, it expires.
This automated I-94 application process offers several benefits. First, travelers will experience fewer typographical errors, as applicants enter their own information. The provisional program encourages more rigorous use of I-94, which aids the government in tracking the movement of foreign travelers.
Canadian visitors who do not always receive I-94’s can now do so easily, recording their travel history which may affect future immigration benefits. Online I-94 applications are also a step in the “green” direction. The primary benefit for offering an online option for I-94 applications is to speed up the land border entry process.
Some Complications, Limitations May Persist
Though the provisional I-94 program addresses several issues and simplifies the overall process, it does have its limitations. Only visitors entering the US via land ports can utilize the online system. Also, the online system does not allow visitors to request the accurate duration for their stay, based on their visa classification. This part of the process still needs to be completed in person, occasionally leading to incorrect expiration dates.
The benefits of the provisional I-94 program seem to outweigh the challenges. Only time will tell if adding an online application option truly reduces administrative duties and entry processing times.
Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. Know Every Aspect of Immigration Law
The immigration process is complicated and you may feel overwhelmed. Philadelphia Immigration Lawyers at Surin & Griffin, P.C. approach every client’s immigration problem with knowledge and compassion. We work with local and federal immigration agencies to achieve the best outcome for you and your family. Call our Center City Philadelphia office today at 215-925-4435 or complete our online form to discuss your situation.
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