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Important FAQs regarding Registration requirements for visitors to the US

WASHINGTON –(PR)-The Embassy has complied detailed FAQs and their responses covering essential concerns regarding the Registration requirements for visitors and temporary residents in the US.

The Embassy has compiled a set of FAQs and their responses in the proceeding paragraphs. Please read them carefully if you belong to any one of the groups of visitors who are required to register. 

Has special registration of Pakistanis totally ended? 
No. The NSEERS (National Security Entry Exit Registration System) Special Registration is still continuing while entering and exiting the United States. Only the 30 to 40-day re-registration and the annual re-registration have been suspended only for those whose re-registration deadlines fell after December 2, 2003.
 
But there have been a lot of press reports claiming that Special Registration has finished. 
Such press reports are not accurate. As mentioned earlier, the entry and exit part of special registration, which is called Port of Entry and Port of Exit registration is still continuing. Similarly all those Pakistanis whose 30/40 day re-registration or annual re-registration deadlines fell before December 2, 2003, also had to register. 

I was supposed to re-register before December 2, 2003, but did not go in for re-registration because of the press reports. What should I do know? 
Immediately report to your nearest ICE (US Immigration and Customs Enforcement) or CIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) offices and explain to an officer that you were misled by press reports and you have now voluntarily come in for re-registration. If you are told that you do not have to register now, please ask the officer to make an appropriate entry on your passport. Even in case of any reluctance on part of the officer, please politely insist that you need to have an entry for future inspections. A list of all re-registration offices is available on http://uscis.gov/graphics/shared/lawenfor/specialreg/List_Interview.pdf 

Is exit registration still in place? 
Yes, very much so. Please remember that all Pakistani nationals who underwent special registration either upon arrival (Port of Entry) or during the call-in phase (domestic) must re-register with immigration officials while exiting. Please also remember that you can only exit from designated points of exit. THE EMBASSY WOULD LIKE TO EMPHASIZE AND STRESS THAT DEPARTURE REGISTRATION IS MANDATORY WITH NO EXCEPTIONS. Please do not be misled by an airline representative or any other airport officials in believeing that you do not need to register at the time of leaving the US. A list of the designated points of exit is available at http://uscis.gov/graphics/shared/lawenfor/specialreg/BLISTOFP.pdf.

If I reach the airport late and do not have time before the flight to register, is there any relief available.
No. According to the law governing special registration, the responsibility for finding adequate time for departure registration lies with the individual and not with the US government. In the scenario described above, it is better to miss the flight and take the next available one. Failure to register on departure will make you inadmissible into the United States upon return. Already, many Pakistanis have faced immense problems because of carelessness in this regard.

What other precautions should I take?
You must ensure that the officer, who is registering you on exit, stamps your passport or makes an entry confirming that you underwent departure registration. Please politely insist on such an entry in case there is any reluctance on part of the officer.

I am a frequent business traveler to the United States. Is there any waiver relief available for me?
Yes there is. You can seek exemption from the CBP (US Customs and Border Protection) Field Office Director located at the airport from which you intend to exit. There are no forms available for such a request. You will have to write a letter to the CBP Port Director, giving reasons for your request. Such a request should explain the emergent, exigent or unusual circumstances that have warranted such a request on your part. The letter seeking relief should provide a detailed description of the type of relief sought, full name, date of birth, the Fingerprint Identification Number (FIN) which is available on the I-94 form, a 1 x 1 passport size photograph, an Alien No. (if it has been assigned to you. Such a number starts with the alphabet 'A' and has 8 digits.)

The CBP Field Office Director will then make a decision in his discretion whether relief can be granted to you. This official can grant you relief from both port of entry as well as exit registration. Until such a relief is communicated to you in writing, you must undergo each and every special registration procedure.

I made a mistake and did not register while exiting. What options do I have now?
The first option, which is risky and not recommended by this Embassy, is that you try to return to the United States and during your port of entry registration, explain the reasons for your not registering on departure. If you can convince the immigration inspector that your failure to register was inadvertent or due to any acute family emergency, he might condone your infringement and allow you entry. But it is more likely that he will declare you inadmissible and you will be put on the next available flight back to Pakistan. There is no appeal against such a decision.

The other option is much safer but also more time-consuming. You should re-apply for a visa to the United States at the nearest US Embassy and write a detailed letter to the Consular Officer explaining the reasons for your failure to register while exiting. It is then upto the Consular Officer to make a decision whether to grant you a fresh visa overriding your previous infringement or to deny the visa. Please note that this procedure can take three to six months before approval and there is no guarantee of any approval. 

Why is it necessary for me to keep my address and employment information updated in Immigration records?
All persons who underwent special registration and stayed in the United States. for 30 days or more must by law notify DHS of any change of address/residence, employment, or educational institution within 10 days of the change. This rule applies to permanent residents or green card holders too. The notification must be in writing on the form, AR-11, designated for reporting these changes. The form is available at http://uscis.gov/graphics/formsfee/forms/ar-11sr.htm.

Are there other reasons for me to be extra vigilant about informing about my change of address and employment?
Yes there are. The recent change in the special registration law says that the Department of Homeland Security still has the authority to require individuals to re-register at any time after giving a notice of 10 days. This would be done on a case-to-case basis. Now if you were picked up for this individual re-registration, you would be informed by postal mail or email. Thus it is very important for you to have your correct email address and postal address in Immigration records. If for any reason you are not sure whether this information is correct and up-to-date in the records, please go to the nearest ICE or CIS office early in the morning ( only 150 appointments are given each day) and correct the information. Remember if you fail to appear for re-registration after a notice is sent to you, you would be deemed to be in non-compliance with the law, which could lead to your being put in deportation proceedings. SO PLEASE CORRECT YOUR POSTAL ADDRESS AND EMAIL ADDRESS INFORMATION IN YOUR IMMIGRATION RECORDS BY GOING TO THE NEAREST ICE/CIS OFFICE.
 
I have heard that the latest change in the law has given some concessions to students? Is this correct?
Yes this is correct. The new rule provides that students and exchange visitors (F, J or M nonimmigrant visas) who are monitored under the SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) now only have to report their change of address to their SEVIS administrator and not to the Department of Homeland Security. The Embassy would still advise the students to make hundred per cent sure that their information is entered into SEVIS before taking advantage of this relaxation. Any students who are not sure if their educational institution is still fully compliant with the SEVIS system should keep informing changes in addresses and educational institution to the Department of Homeland Security.

Please remember that CHANGES IN EMPLOYMENT ARE NOT COVERED by this rule for students and exchange visitors and they have to inform the Department of Homeland Security about such changes. 

The Embassy would strongly advise Pakistani nationals to err on the side of caution as a few minutes of your time complying with immigration requirements can save you a lot of hassle and discomfort later on. 

Does the Rule Affect Past or Existing Violations of Special Registration?
No. The new announcement specifically states that the new rule does not excuse past failure to comply with the Call-In deadlines or the 30-40 day follow-up interview or annual re-registration deadlines. In addition, the new rule does nothing for the people who were placed in removal proceedings when they appeared for Call-In special registration. The Nation


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