November 2002


Carrying immigration documents

For decades, every noncitizen age 18 and over has been required to carry at all times his or her certificate of alien registration or alien registration receipt card. Failure to do so carries a fine of up to $100.00, or imprisonment for up to 30 days, or both. This includes nonimmigrants in any visa classification or in visa waiver status, and lawful permanent residents as well. The registration documents include "green cards", INS issued employment authorization cards, and INS Form I-94 (or I-94W), Arrival-Departure Record. INS has formally reminded noncitizens of this requirement in public notices and may begin enforcing it.

Changes of address

Similarly, all noncitizens except those holding "G" or "A" status, who are age 14 and up, and who are in the U.S. for 30 consecutive days or more, have been required to file a written change of address notice with INS on Form AR-11 within 10 days of any change of address. Parents and legal guardians must do so for children under age 14. A separate Form AR-11 must be filed for each family member.

An alien who fails properly to report an address change can be taken into custody and removed unless s/he can show the violation was "reasonably excusable or was not willful." Any alien who fails to give proper notice to INS also may be found guilty of a misdemeanor and fined not more than $200 or imprisoned not more than 30 days, or both. This rule was recently enforced against a long term permanent resident and he was jailed for 30 days. The form is available at: http://www.ins.usdoj.gov/graphics/formsfee/forms/files/ar-11.pdf.

INS special registration requirements

As of September 11, 2002, INS began special registration requirements for nonimmigrant citizens or nationals of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Syria at all U.S. ports of entry. Persons from these countries will be photographed and fingerprinted upon entry to the U.S. and will be advised to report to a INS district office at specified times for further processing. All those subject to INS special registration requirements will be required when departing the U.S. to report to an INS inspector at the port of entry/departure. Individuals subject to these requirements may only arrive and depart from the U.S. at specified airports. The penalty for failing to report on departure can include inadmissibility in the future.

Beginning November 15, 2002, all males who were born on or before November 15, 1986, who are nationals or citizens of Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan and Syria, and who were inspected by the Immigration and Naturalization Service and last admitted to the United States as a nonimmigrant on or before September 10, 2002, and who will remain in the United States at least until December 16, 2002, must register with the INS. Note, the registration requirement applies to any alien who is a national or citizen of a designated country, regardless of dual nationality or citizenship. If you were born in one of the designated countries, you must register.

To register, you must go to a designated INS office on or before December 16, 2002. Registrants will be fingerprinted and photographed by the immigration officer They will be required to answer questions, which will be recorded, under oath and will be required to present the following:

(a) Passport and the Form I-94 issued upon admission, and any other forms of government-issued identification;

(b) Proof of residence, such as title to land or a lease or a rental agreement, proof of enrollment at an educational institution, and proof of employment; and

(c) Other information requested.

Persons registered will be required to return to any of the designated INS offices, within 10 days of each anniversary of the date on which they were initially registered and will undergo the same procedure.

The only exceptions to the registration rules are U.S. permanent residents, persons holding A or G status, or those who have applied for asylum in the U.S. on or before November 6, 2002.

Remember, all registered persons must report to the INS at each and every departure from the U.S., no matter how brief the trip outside the US might be, and can only depart at designated airports.

Department of State requirements

In addition to a range of traditional clearance processes, the Department of State, through its consulates and visa revalidation unit, has implemented numerous new requirements and procedures. Much information on the new requirements is classified, and therefore must be deduced from experience. What is apparent is that more nonimmigrants will be interviewed for visas. This by itself will cause extensive delays at many locations. In ALL cases, expect additional delays obtaining visa appointments and turnaround times. When special or additional processing is required, substantial delays of 6-8 weeks, or far more should be anticipated.

The additional processing begins with an additional form, DS-157 which is available at http://travel.state.gov/visaforms.html. All male visa applicants at least age 16 and under age 46 must complete this form, and as noted below, some women must also do so.

Further, male applicants from a classified list of countries are subject to special processing requirements, and must be cleared by other U.S. agencies before the visa can issue. Experience shows that the countries in question include: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Malaysia, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan and Yemen. All applicants from countries designated as state sponsors of terrorism must be specially cleared by other U.S. agencies before visas of any type can issue. The designated countries are: Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan and Syria. Females between 16 and 46 from these seven countries must complete Form DS-157.


It is advisable to check both the Immigration and Naturalization Service [http://www.ins.usdoj.gov] and Department of State [http://travel.state.gov] websites on a regular basis for revisions to rules and practices regarding noncitizens in the United States.

-Palma R. Yanni, Esquire


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