National security entry-exit regulation

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.

State Department notice on visa delays at U.S. Consulates abroad

News Release from Jewell & Associates
The State Department recently posted a notice on its web site, warning applicants for nonimmigrant visas at U.S. consulates abroad to expect delays of six to eight weeks in the processing of their visa applications due to enhanced security procedures being implemented prior to the first anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.  The notice appears to apply to all nonimmigrant travelers; it does not single out particular nationalities or consular posts at which delays are more likely.  We urge anyone planning to apply for a nonimmigrant visa at a U.S. consular post abroad to determine in advance what the likely delay will be, and to factor this into his or her travel plans.

For our readers’ convenience, the full text of the State Department notice, which was posted on August 23, 2001, is reproduced below:

Notice on Current Visa Processing Situation

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the State Department has been engaged with other U.S. government agencies in an extensive and ongoing review of visa issuing practices as they relate to the security of our borders and our nation.

Through the use of supplemental application forms and other measures, visa applications are now subject to a greater degree of scrutiny than in the past. This scrutiny means that visa applications in some instances take longer to process to conclusion than has been customary. We recognize that individual applicants may experience inconvenience and hardship if their application takes longer to process than they expected. We are doing everything possible to meet the legitimate needs of prospective travelers consistent with the priority we must attach to our security and legal responsibilities.

While our consular officers strive to offer visa applicants as expeditious service as possible, their primary responsibility is to carry out U.S. law and to ensure that applicants to whom they issue visas will not pose a threat to the safety and security of the United States and its inhabitants. This is a serious responsibility that must take precedence over other considerations pertaining to a visa application.

We realize that these necessary security measures may affect the travel plans of visa applicants, especially individuals intending to enroll in or continue college and university studies in the United States. We will make every attempt to meet the legitimate needs of prospective travelers to the United States, consistent with the priority of our security and legal responsibilities. We recommend that individuals build in ample time before their planned travel date when seeking to obtain a visa.

Special security screening procedures affect a limited number of prospective travelers. Our goal is to have assured security within a system that is responsive to everyone wishing to visit the United States. However, delays in processing of visas will continue to occur as the Department of State, working with other agencies, brings new information systems on line. Responding to the attacks of September 11, 2001, Congress ordered that security inadequacies be identified and addressed.  By legislative instruction, some of this work was specifically to be accomplished by the first anniversary of the attacks. That work is in course now in accordance with those instructions.

The time needed for adjudication of individual cases will continue to be difficult to predict, as necessary new procedures are refined. Visa applicants affected by these procedures are informed of the need for additional screening at the time of application and should expect substantial delays of six to eight weeks or more before a visa can be issued.

We trust that affected applicants will understand that this waiting period is necessary as we strive to make every effort to ensure the safety and security of the United States for all who are here, including foreign visitors.

© Jewell & Associates 2002

Concurrent filing of I-140s and I-485s now accepted by INS

News Release from Jewell & Associates

In an interim rule published in the Federal Register today (67 FR 49561 7/31/02), the INS announced that it is no longer necessary for the beneficiaries of EB-1, EB-2 and EB-3 immigrant petitions (also called I-140 petitions) to wait for INS approval of the I-140 before filing their I-485 applications to adjust status to permanent residence.   Effective immediately, I-140s and I-485s may be filed concurrently, provided that a visa number is immediately available, i.e., the beneficiary’s “priority date” is current.  I-485s may also be filed based on I-140s that are pending with INS, provided that a visa number is immediately available.

An I-485 application filed pursuant to this new rule may be accompanied by an application for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and an application for an interim travel permit (advance parole, or A/P).  The principal applicant’s spouse and children may also file their I-485s (including EAD and A/P applications) under the new rule.

As a practical matter, the new rule should decrease the time it takes to obtain permanent residence based on employment, and will allow the spouse and children of employment-based permanent residence applicants to work in the U.S. sooner than they could under prior rules.

© Jewell & Associates 2002

Update on requirement that non-citizens notify INS of change of address

News Release from Jewell & Associates

UPDATE: Form AR-11 (Change of Address) can now be found and completed online at

We published a notice on the INS change-of-address requirement earlier this year, containing differing requirements for immigrants and non-immigrants. INS now has changed its position and declared that all aliens in the U.S. should use the same procedure. Following is an up-to-date summary of the change-of address requirements:

Section 265 of the Immigration & Nationality Act requires aliens (i.e., non-U.S. citizens) in the U.S. to notify the INS in writing of a change of address within 10 days of the change. This provision was part of the U.S. immigration law for many years, but was not enforced. However, in the aftermath of the 9/11/01 attacks, INS is enforcing compliance with the change-of-address requirement.

For any alien in the U.S. to notify the INS of his/her address, the required notification must be made on Form AR-11, an INS change-of-address form. Form AR-11 can be downloaded from the INS web site at, and it includes the address to which the form should be sent.  It is advisable to send the form by certified mail, return receipt requested, and to keep a copy of the form.

The obligation to notify the INS in writing of a change of address within 10 days of the change continues until the person becomes a U.S. citizen.

© Jewell & Associates 2002