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  • Bloggings: I-94 Goes Paperless by Danielle Beach-Oswald

    Bloggings on Immigration Law

    by Danielle Beach-Oswald

    I-94 Goes Paperless

    I-94

    A recent decision by U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at the end
    of October 2012 initiated the process to go paperless for the I-94 Form.  
    The I-94 Form is the card used to indicate the date of admission, status,
    and authorized period of stay in the passport of a foreign national. 
    This I-94 information is critical so that the foreign national may
    attain work authorization, be granted eligibility for a social security
    number, driverís license, and admission to college, among other important
    matters.

    Is it just the global green movement or do specific reasons exist for the
    paperless initiative?  For one, the CBP has already accumulated the
    necessary I-94 information from the foreign nationalís application for a
    non-immigrant visa and entered it into a web-based system.  Once the
    web-based system is fully operational, the paper form will simply not be
    needed, as it will become redundant.  A second reason is the financial
    cost, as the agency will inevitably save money and resources with the
    paperless version. 

    The paper version will be replaced at international airports and seaports
    with this update in traveler arrival and departure records.  

    How quickly will this change be implemented?  A final date for the
    complete transition is yet to be confirmed.  The paper form is set to be
    replaced by a stamp in the travelerís passport, with a handwritten code of
    admission.  But even this measure is not set to be implemented across the
    board, as non-immigrants arriving at land borders or refugees, for example,
    will still be given the paper version of the I-94. 

    This paperless move is not without its critics as federal and state
    agencies which use this form for identification purposes object.  Of course
    this concern is shared by the public as well, as these foreign nationals
    begin to contemplate attaining alternate forms of identification.  Clearly,
    this appears to be a gradual process as an online system free of flaws must
    be established prior to eliminating the paper record entirely.  Yet, at the
    same time it is important to note that this is not the first time a
    governmental form has made the paperless transition.  The I-94W or the Visa
    Waiver Arrival/Departure Record is one such form which has been automated in
    the past.  CBP has confirmed that this change has reduced costs and
    travelersí average wait time. 

    In a globalized world experiencing technological advances each day and
    realizing the importance of the environmental fight, paperless initiatives
    are inevitable.  With the recent presidential election, even casting oneís
    vote via text message or email was a thought for the future.


    About The Author

    Danielle Beach-Oswald is the current President and Managing Partner of Beach-Oswald Immigration Law Associates in Washington, DC. Ms. Beach utilizes her 19 years of experience in immigration law to help individuals immigrate to the United States for humanitarian reasons. Born in Brussels, Belgium, Ms. Beach has lived in England, Belgium, Italy and Ivory Coast and has traveled extensively to many countries. Ms. Beach advocates for clients from around the world who seek freedom from torture in their country, or who are victims of domestic violence and trafficking. She has also represented her clients at U.S. Consulates in Romania, China, Canada, Mexico, and several African countries. With her extensive experience in family-based and employment-based immigration law Ms. Beach not only assists her clients in obtaining a better standard of living in the United States, she also helps employers obtain professional visas, and petitions for family members. She also handles many complex naturalization issues. Ms. Beach has unique expertise representing clients in immigration matters pending before the Federal District Courts, Circuit Courts, Board of Immigration Appeals and Immigration Courts. She has won over 400 humanitarian cases in the United States. Her firm's website is www.boilapc.com.


    The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.
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