National security entry-exit regulation

News Release from Jewell & Associates - September 10, 2002 In the wake of the September 11 attacks, the Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS) has mandated new reporting requirements for certain nonimmigrants, aliens who hold temporary visas (i.e. not Legal Permanent Residents or U.S. Citizens), through the National Security Entry-Exit Regulation (NSEER; 8 C.F.R., Parts 214 & 264). These requirements become effective on a limited basis on September 11, 2002 and are effective at all ports of entry on October 1, 2002.

These requirements apply to non-immigrants [1] from INS designated countries, which currently include Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, and Syria; [2] who consular officials or inspection officers have reason to believe are citizens or natives of designated countries; and [3] who require “closer monitoring” to uphold the “national security or law enforcement interests of the United States.” Although the specific criteria used to determine the final ground of eligibility are being kept secret (New York Times, September 9, 2002), INS has indicated that the latter criteria concerns the prevention of criminal activity and the enforcement of national immigration laws, including a determination if the nonimmigrant is at risk for violating the terms of his/her nonimmigrant visa or exceeding the period of authorized stay. A and G visa holders (i.e. ambassadors, public ministers, career diplomats, and representatives of international organizations) are exempt from these requirements.

Upon entry, designated nonimmigrants must be fingerprinted and photographed and provide expanded information on a form which may include name; passport country of issuance and number; identification and description of a second form of identification; date of birth; country of birth; nationality and citizenship; height; weight; color of eyes; address of residence in U.S. and in country of origin; names, addresses and dates of birth for both parents; points of contact in home country; name and address of school or employer in U.S.; name and employer of former school and employer in home country; intended activities in U.S.; and e-mail address. Initial registration is a condition of admission to the U.S.

At certain intervals thereafter, designated aliens are required to submit an additional form of photographic identification; proof of tenancy at the listed residential address; and proof of enrollment in school (enrollment forms) or employment (contracts or pay stubs), if applicable. A designated nonimmigrant who did not already have a residential address at his/her initial entry, may acquire an address and report it to INS at the first reporting interval. All designated nonimmigrants must report to an INS office after thirty, but before forty days in the U.S. to verify information provided at the initial entry. In addition, designated nonimmigrants admitted to the U.S. for a year or longer must re-register on an annual basis on or within 10 days from the anniversary of entry into the U.S. Furthermore, within 10 days of a change of residential address, employment, or educational institution, designated nonimmigrants must report said change(s) to INS.

Upon departure from the U.S., designated nonimmigrants must report to a departure control officer. Because a system for departure reporting requirements is still being developed, INS may restrict ports of departure as “facilities are developed.”

A nonimmigrant may apply for an exemption from these requirements from the INS district director for reasons that include exigent or unusual circumstances that prevent reasonable fulfillment of requirements.

INS regulations provide for civil and criminals penalties for failure to comply with NSEER. Failure to register or making a false statement upon registration is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000.00 or by imprisonment for up to 6 months. Failure to report a change of address or provide other required information is punishable for a fine of up to $200.00; imprisonment for 30 days; and removal, the execution of which does not require criminal prosecution. Failure to comply with registration or to provide full and truthful information is considered a failure to maintain nonimmigrant status and renders the alien removable whether or not the information requested was material. Failure to notify INS of departure is considered a failure to register, an unlawful activity, and therefore a ground of inadmissibility to U.S. This bar may be overcome by making a showing that satisfies INS or the State Department.

© Jewell & Associates 2002