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Posts Tagged ‘security

US-VISIT rule Expands Categories of Non-U.S. Citizens Required to Provide Biometrics

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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began the United States Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology Program (US-VISIT) in 2004 to verify the identities and travel documents of aliens. Aliens subject to US-VISIT may be required to provide finger scans, photographs, or other biometric identification upon arrival at the United States, at sea or air ports of entry, while on a nonimmigrant visa.

The new US-VISIT rule, which became effective only this week on January 18th 2009, expands the categories of non-U.S. citizens required to provide biometrics who will be subject to US-VISIT requirements to nearly all aliens, including lawful permanent residents (LPRs). Exceptions include Canadian citizens seeking short-term admission for business or pleasure under B visas and those especially exempt.

The following additional non-U.S. citizens will now be required to provide biometrics when entering or re-entering the United States:

  • Lawful permanent residents of the United States (LPRs);
  • Persons entering the United States who seek admission on immigrant visas;
  • Persons entering the United States who seek admission as refugees and asylees;
  • Canadian citizens who are currently required to obtain a Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record) upon entry or who require a waiver of inadmissibility to enter the United States (this excludes most Canadian citizens entering the United States for purposes of shopping, visiting friends and family, vacation or short business trips);
  • Persons paroled into the United States; and
  • Persons applying for admission under the Guam VWP.

The US-VISIT program’s aim is to further secure the borders of the United States, prevent aliens from assuming other’s identities, and/or illegally enter the United States. Under the US-VISIT program, the arrival and departure of aliens is documented by fingerprint scans, photo identification, or other biometric identification in order to compare identities of the aliens as well as verify their travel documents so that with this information, ports of entry can cross reference government information to determine suspected terrorists, known criminals, or individuals who have violated immigration laws.

Other practical information with respect to procedures and processing:

  • Canadians applying for admission to the United States under a B-1 or B-2 nonimmigrant classification for business or pleasure, which represents most Canadian travelers to the United States, are exempt and not required to enroll in US-VISIT at this time.
  • Canadian citizens who must now enroll in US-VISIT are those issued a Form I-94 (Arrival Departure Record), including: Canadians applying for admission in the following nonimmigrant classifications: C, D, F, H, I, J, L, M, O, P, Q 1, Q 3, R, S, T, TN; and Canadians who are granted a waiver of inadmissibility to enter the United States.
  • Canadians requiring issuance of Form I-94 are already referred to secondary inspection. Therefore, no additional wait time will be added.
  • H-1B visa holders will follow existing protocols and will be screened through US-VISIT when applying for a new multiple entry Form I-94 or when referred to secondary inspection for other reasons.
  • At seaports, LPRs returning from a closed loop cruise (cruises that begin and end at the same port in the United States) will be exempt from US-VISIT processing. LPRs returning to the United States from an “open” cruise will be subject to US-VISIT processing.
  • Non-U.S. citizens entering or re-entering the United States at a land border port of entry will be processed differently, at the inspecting officer’s discretion:
    1. LPRs will provide biometrics only if they are referred to secondary inspection.
    2. All other non-U.S. citizens included in this final rule—unless specifically exempt—will experience USVISIT procedures during secondary inspection, just as most non-U.S. citizens already subject to USVISIT procedures currently do (e.g., those who require a Form I-94).
  • Non-U.S. citizens who seek admission with Border Crossing Cards and who do not have a Form I-94 will still go through US-VISIT procedures, at the discretion of the inspecting officers.

If you have been subject to the expanded US-VISIT rule (after January 18th 2009) and would like to share your experience with others please feel free to comment.

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First ID cards in 60 years to be issued by UK to Immigrants

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The Home Office recently announced that from 25 November 2008 they would begin to issue identity cards to UK immigrants applying for further leave to remain in the United Kingdom and falling in certain specified categories. The issue of the first identity cards in more than 60 years will replace stickers and other insecure UK immigration status documents which have been subject to fraud and the Home Office believes that the new identity cards will help protect people from identity fraud and theft and tackle the illegal and immigration abuse situation.

The card was has been unveiled today, September 25th 2008, by Jacqui Smith , the Home Office Secretary is to be issued to people outside the European economic area renewing their permission to stay in the UK as students or on the basis of marriage. The front of red and blue card bears the person’s picture, name, date of birth, their status in the UK and whether they have a right to work and the back of the card gives the person’s town and country of birth, gender and whether they have the right to UK state benefits.  The biographic details are the person’s fingerprints.

The home office expects to issue up to one million cards to foreign nationals in Britain over the next years starting November 25, 2008 at offices in Croydon, Glasgow, Sheffield, Liverpool, Birmingham and Cardiff.

Although the identity cards issued will be mandatory to foreign nationals, UK citizens will not have to apply, or carry one, until further legislation is introduced.

Written by MithrasLaw

September 28, 2008 at 7:48 pm

Posted in Immigration

Tagged with , , ,

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