New Notice Requires Nonimmigrant Aliens from ‘State Sponsors of Terrorism’ to Special Registration Requirements

Effective September 11, 2002 certain nonimmigrant aliens from nations considered by the U.S. to be state sponsors of terrorism will be required to partake in special registration requirements at the time they apply for admission to the United States. These new requirements will include fingerprinting and photographing by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), along with periodic registration mandates.

The most recent public notice, dated July 21, 1998, required special registration for certain nonimmigrant aliens from Iran, Iraq, Libya and Sudan. With this new notice, the requirements have expanded and one additional nation, Syria, has been added to the list.

Section 262(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act stated that “all aliens who are age 14 or older and who have not previously been registered and fingerprinted at a consular office abroad … have a duty to apply for registration and to be fingerprinted if they remain in the United States for 30 days or longer.” But, as stated in 8 CFR 264.1(e), general provisions were made to waive this requirement for many immigrants.

The 1998 notice, in response to these general provisions, required that certain nonimmigrants from Iran, Iraq, Libya and Syria be fingerprinted and photographed by the INS at the port-of-entry. This new notice, effective September 11, 2002, extends that list of nations (now including Syria) and also requires that all nonimmigrants from these five nations register in person after 30 days in the U.S., reregister annually, and register one final time when leaving the U.S.

According to the Department of Justice, “the Attorney General has consulted the Secretary of State in designating these countries. In addition, all the countries covered by this Notice have been designated by the Department of State as state sponsors of terrorism.” These provisions will also apply, according to the Department of Justice, to “any nonimmigrant aliens who a consular officer or an inspecting officer has reason to believe are nationals or citizens of one of the five designated countries.”

For more information on this new notice, please contact Dan Brown at Office of the General Counsel, Immigration and Naturalization Service, 425 I Street, NW., Room 6100, Washington, DC 20536.

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