ITA - Office of Travel and Tourism Industries
I-94 Arrivals Data: Frequently Asked Questions
  

The National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) has released preliminary international arrivals data for 2015.  These data reflect improvements in the capture of arrival records as a result of the automation of I-94 paper forms at most ports of entry by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).  These data are more accurate, richer, and reliable as a result of this transition. These data can be found at https://travel.trade.gov/view/m-2015-I-001/index.asp

  Why was the release of 2015(p) I-94 arrivals data delayed?

In March 2015, NTTO staff observed an unusually high number of records missing country of residence (COR) data within the I-94 arrivals database. During the first three months of 2015, 1.6 million I-94 arrival records were missing COR information, representing 22.5 percent of all overseas records. By comparison, during the first quarter of 2014, 992,000 arrival records were missing COR information, representing 14.4 percent of all overseas records. In April 2015, the number of arrival records that were missing COR information jumped to 1.2 million records for the month, compared to 364,000 in April 2014. Therefore, to avoid understating 2015(p) I-94 arrivals data, NTTO chose to re-process 2015(p) I-94 arrivals data, implementing a new method to determine the missing COR data. .

  Why did NTTO suspend its release of 2015(p) I-94 arrivals data in April 2016?

In early 2016, CBP discovered it was possible to retrieve missing COR information from systems and sources other than the I-94 Program. In the interim, NTTO suspended its preliminary release of 2015 I-94 arrivals data while CBP re-processed 2015 I-94 arrivals. This allowed for NTTO re-processing, review and verification to ensure that CBP's enhancement produced more accurate, reliable, and richer data than previously. This improvement enabled recapture of an additional 2,375,041 I-94 arrival records in 2015, a 6.2 percent increase in usable overseas traveler records.

  Why did visitor records missing COR information increase in 2015?

CBP's I-94 Automation Program improvements, including Automated Passport Control (APC), Mobile Passport Control, Global Entry, and the use of technology to eliminate paper I-94 forms, resulted in COR fields not being consistently populated. We anticipate that this issue will be resolved in the fall of 2016.

  Which countries were most affected by missing COR information?

For 2015, the largest impacts among the top 20 arrival markets were arrivals from Australia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, France, and the Netherlands. Visitors from these countries used APC kiosks. For each of these countries, between 16 to 20 percent of total arrivals were attributed to replacing missing COR data with country of citizenship (COC) data.

  What is Automated Passport Control (APC)?

APC is a devise used for a CBP program that expedites the entry process for U.S., Canadian, and eligible VWP travelers by providing an automated process through CBP's Primary Inspection area. Rather than use paper forms, eligible travelers use self-service kiosks to submit their arrival information, customs declaration information and biographic information. Travelers using APC kiosks experience shorter wait times, less congestion, and faster processing. APC kiosks are currently operational in airports throughout the United States.

  Was missing COR data an issue for countries that require a visa to enter the United States?

No. Of 29 countries (among the top 50 arrival markets) that require a visa to enter the United States, NTTO found the increase in visitors to be 0.0 percent in 26 of these countries, based on replacing missing COR data with COC data. This is likely due to the fact that APC kiosks are mostly applicable to VWP travelers.

  How should 2015(p) I-94 arrivals data be interpreted, as some arrivals seem unusually high compared to arrivals in 2014?

Any interpretation of these data should take into consideration the fact that the 2015 increases in overseas arrivals reflect both the increase in records counted in 2015 and potential changes in market conditions.

  Is 2015(p) I-94 arrivals data comparable to 2014?

Both 2014 and 2015 data sets are based on the same criteria, including the same visitor visa types and the 'one night or more' definition of a traveler. In addition, the methodology for identifying travelers with respect to COR, and infilling records with missing COR data, is consistent for the two years. The years differ only in that 2015 contained more I-94 records as a result of automating the paper I-94 forms. Therefore, 2014 and 2015 arrivals data are arguably more comprehensive and credible than previous years. These data will be comparable with 2016(p) I-94 arrivals.

  Will 2015(p) I-94 arrivals data be revised, as these data are marked preliminary?

2015(p) I-94 arrivals data are official, but subject to further revision, if warranted. Situations that allow for revision include improved solutions and/or sources discovered by the Departments of Commerce and Homeland Security as they complete the automation and migration of records.

  Acronyms and Definitions

APC Automated Passport Control
CBP U.S. Customs and Border Protection
COC Country of Citizenship
COR Country of Residence
NTTO National Travel and Tourism Office
(p)Preliminary
VWP Visa Waiver Program

VWP Countries:

Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and United Kingdom

Visa Types To account for visitor arrivals to the United States, NTTO only selects 1-94 records bearing these visa types:

B-1 Visa Holders-Business
B-2 Visa Holders-Pleasure
E-1 Visa Holders-Treaty Trader
E-2 Visa Holders-Treaty Investor
F-1 Visa Holders-Students
F-2 Visa Holders-Family Members of Students
GMB Guam Visa Waiver-Business
GMT Guam Visa Waiver-Tourist
I Visa Holders-Foreign Information Media
M-1 Visa Holders-Vocational Students
M-2 Visa Holders-Family Members of Vocational Students
WB Visa Waiver-Business
WT Visa Waiver-Pleasure