Reasons for Eliminating Form I-94
CBP cites two reasons for eliminating Form I-94. Firstly, CBP already has access to the data gathered on Form I-94. Aliens provide the information when submitting an application for a nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. consulate. In addition, information is provided to CBP through the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS). APIS is a web-based system used by commercial carriers and the private aviation community to electronically provide required information to CBP such as, inter alia, notices of arrival and/or departure and traveler manifests (crew and passenger).
Secondly, CBP expects to save time and money through the elimination of Form I-94. CBP has calculated the cost and manpower required to print, store, distribute, gather, and enter data specified on the form. CBP reports that about 30 seconds of officer time per entry relates to the paper form, which results in annualized costs to CBP amounting to approximately $19 million for associated staffing resources. In addition, CBP Office of Field Operations (OFO) pays to mail Forms I-94 collected by the airlines to a contractor, which is paid $17 million per year to enter the departure data.
Given these operational and financial incentives, CBP is accelerating its plans to eliminate Form I-94. Originally, CBP planned to gradually roll out the elimination of the form starting in late summer 2012 with a pilot program at a few smaller airports. However, current plans call for imminent, system-wide elimination of the form.