April 2015 arrivals data is being released today. May 2015 arrivals data are scheduled for release in early December 2015. A timetable for June data is not yet available. While, the U.S. Department of Homeland security (DHS)/Customs and Border Protection (CBP) continues to report a delay in I-94 arrivals data processing, CBP is diligently working to resolve transitional issues in order to release accurate, sound I-94 data as soon as possible.
With I-94 Automation (April 30, 2013), CBP introduced new business rules governing I-94 creation which are now based on a given traveler’s Country of Citizenship as indicated by the passport’s Country of Issuance. The Country of Residence is another field that is ‘sometimes’ captured in the new system. The increased use of Automated Passport Control (APC) Kiosks (May 2013) through U.S. airports is capturing data in keeping with this new business rule. Only when available does CBP now populate the Country of Residence field in the I-94 data base.
As a result there has been an increase in I-94 records with no residency data (stateless records). In 2014, 519,000 records were processed where the Country of Residence field was blank, (representing only 1.5% of all overseas records). However, during the first four months of 2015, approximately 300,000 records (11% of all overseas records) were missing residency data, affecting mainly international visitors from Visa Waiver Program countries, specifically the United Kingdom. NTTO identified this large spike of stateless records and determined that it was necessary to re-run 2014 and 2015 I-94 data to include a methodology change where the Country of Citizenship is used as a substitute for those I-94 records with missing Country of Residence data.
As CBP completes its modernization activities, NTTO and CBP will continue to work together to provide the most accurate arrivals count for U.S. international visitation. Our cooperative relationship on the I-94 Program has provided the U.S. government and its stakeholders with a consistent, reliable trend line of I-94 historical visitation data since 1960. We believe that once the current data backlog is addressed and business rules are aligned, NTTO will be able to provide more accurate and timely arrivals data than it has in past years. We appreciate your patience during this I-94 data release lag.