US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has announced that it has expanded its elimination of the paper Arrival/Departure Record (Form I-94) to include land border crossings. Now, individuals entering the United States at a land border must access Form I-94 on the CBP I-94 website or through the CBP One Mobile app.
This move has been a long time in the making. The CBP has previously eliminated the paper Form I-94 at sea, air entry points, and physical passport admission stamps. However, paper forms have continued to see use at land crossings. With physical I-94s, a CBP officer would traditionally stamp the traveler’s passport and staple the Form I-94 stub into the traveler’s passport. This stamp acted as proof of admission for the individual and showed the approved stay period.
With these processes carried out electronically at border crossing points, individuals can expect little to no physical interaction with CBP officers. According to the CBP, this simple elimination of the small paper form will simplify the entry process. Furthermore, it should reduce delays and save the government $15.5 million annually.
Though this change benefits everyone, it could also make the employment eligibility verification process (Form I-9) more challenging for workers and employers. Form I-94 is often the only proof a foreign national has of their admission to the US. Furthermore, work authorization consequent to status, including H-1B, H-3, L-1(A), L-1(B), E-3, O-1, P-1, P-3, TN, and others consider a Form I-94 as reasonable evidence of employment eligibility.
As a result, a lack of a paper Form I-94 can eliminate a versatile and crucial document for foreign nationals to present. Fortunately, foreign nationals may pull up their information on the CBP website, including a printable Form I-94. Doing this is a crucial step to take immediately upon entry. This step will allow the individual to print out their Form I-94 to present to employers for Form I-9 verification. It also allows individuals to review their records to ensure accuracy and correct mistakes.
Immediately doing this may be possible to correct mistakes without delay and prove faster than using the CBP’s system for correcting errors. Requesting a paper form at a port of entry is also possible. However, this may involve significant delays and receiving one from a deferred inspection office.
As these and many other changes in the employment eligibility verification process have shown, it can be challenging to keep up with the ever-shifting regulatory changes. One of the best ways to ensure compliance and avoid significant penalties is to invest in an electronic I-9 management tool. This tool can guide employers through the verification process. It will also help ensure uniform compliance and convenient storage of forms and documentation.
Automate your employment eligibility verification today with the ensured compliance of I-9 Compliance.