U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced in August 2016 that it has made changes to its I-94 website, https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/national-media-release/cbp-makes-online-i-94-application-payment-available-travelers, which allows travelers to apply and pay for their I-94 Arrival/Departure Record online before seeking U.S. admission at a land port of entry. An I-94 form is required for all travelers except U.S. Citizens, returning residents, aliens with immigrant visas, and most Canadian citizens visiting the U.S. Form I-94 provides travelers with evidence that they were lawfully admitted to the U.S. Air and sea travelers will continue to be issued I-94 records during the admission process at the port of entry.
The enhanced process is intended to expedite entry to the U.S. by allowing travelers to utilize a secure website where they can provide their personal and travel information up to 7 days prior to entry, as well as pay the $6 fee utilizing a credit or debit card, check debit, or even PayPal. Once the application and payment is submitted online, a provisional I-94 will be issued which must be printed out. To finalize the issuance process, the traveler must present themselves at a land port of entry within 7 days of their application, submit biometrics (if necessary) and be interviewed by a CPB officer. For U.S. admission under this program, travelers should carry their provisional I-94 and any evidence in support of their application for admission, such as proof of immigration status, evidence of ties to one’s country of origin, and/or temporary travel plans. If the traveler does not complete the process within 7 days of the provisional I-94 application, it will expire and a new I-94 application must be submitted. There will be no refund issued if the I-94 is not issued within the 7 day period or if the traveler is ultimately denied entry to the U.S. CBP expects the enhanced process to lead to more efficient processing at the land ports of entry. Regular processing, whereby one obtains an I-94 record at the land port of entry, will remain available as an option.