By Megan S. Turngren
RIS Staff Attorney
Over the last several months, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has begun implementing a radically new electronic I-94 system. While so far only select points of entry have transitioned, CBP plans to fully implement the new system at all points of entry in the immediate future. 
Traditionally, when a foreign national enters the U.S., he or she completes a paper I-94 card, which is then stapled into their passport by a CBP officer. With the new electronic system however, foreign nationals no longer complete paper I-94 cards upon entering the United States.
Under the new system, a foreign national will meet with an immigration officer upon entry. As before, the officer will stamp the foreign national’s passport with the port of entry and date of arrival. The CBP officer will also handwrite the admission symbol (i.e., “R-1”) and the date until which the foreign national is authorized to stay. But then, since there will be no more paper I-94 cards, the officer will not staple anything into the passport. Instead, the foreign national will be required (on their own) to print an electronic I-94 from the CBP website after arriving in the United States.
As soon as a foreign national has access to a computer and printer, he or she should immediately download a copy of the electronic I-94. The foreign national should keep a copy of the I-94 in his or her passport, give a copy to his or her employer, and also provide a copy to their attorney.
It is very important that all foreign nationals and employers treat the electronic I-94 the same as the previously issued white I-94 cards. The electronic I-94 serves the same legal function as its paper predecessor. Therefore, it is very important that all foreign nationals keep a copy of the I-94 on his or her person at all times. It would be best to fold the document and keep it inside your passport. Please remember that the I-94 authorizes your stay inside the United States. It also verifies how long you may lawfully remain in the country.
Special Caution to Frequent Travelers: Please note that the electronic I-94 will not be available after a foreign national exits the United States on a subsequent trip abroad. This can potentially be very problematic for clients who frequently travel abroad for missionary purposes. To avoid any hassles, it’s best to print out the I-94 as soon as possible once in the United States.